PHILIPPINES: Women Human Rights Defenders Break the Silence on Unsafe Abortion

Criminalized under all circumstances, abortion remains a taboo subject in the Philippines, underlining the pressing need for open spaces and discussion on the topic as demonstrated at a recent public forum in Manila.

On Wednesday, January 20th, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights together with other members of the Philippines Safe Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN,, hosted a ground-breaking forum “Why do we need to talk about unsafe abortions in the Philippines?” - a discussion of the harsh realities of unsafe abortions that result in the deaths of over a thousand Filipino women each year.

The Forum, one of the first open public events in recent years, was attended by over 50 participants from local civil society organizations and media outlets, politicians and academics, government employees and officials, including representatives from the Philippines Commission on Women, the Population Commission, the Former DOH Secretary/Chair of the National Implementation Team for the RPRH Law and provincial DOH officers from Quezon City, Davao and Tacloban. There was a unanimous agreement to support the aims of PINSAN, to demystify and de-stigmatize abortion, and encourage public discussion on the realities of unsafe abortion. A number of speakers also supported the demand to decriminalize abortion to prevent women from being arrested and imprisoned.

Join PINSAN in promoting women and girls' health, and ensuring full realization of their sexual and reproductive health and rights, through:
- Talking about the realities women who suffer complications from unsafe abortion face;
- The ability to access accurate and scientific based information about abortion
- Challenging misconceptions
- Gathering updated and accurate data and information about incidence and causes for abortion
- Encouraging and supporting openly discussions about abortion.
- Decriminalizing abortion
- Repealing the penal provisions penalizing women who induce abortion and those assisting them
- Demanding legal accountability for abuses in the context of post-abortion care
- Ensuring women receive humane, compassionate, and timely post-abortion care.

At the end participants held a minute’s silence and lit candles as a memorial to the thousands of women who have needlessly died from unsafe abortion and/or the denial of post-abortion care in the Philippines.

Read more here.
Story from Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights