The Reproductive Health Bill currently being considered by Filipino lawmakers has stirred up significant debate over its potential to promote economic development and improve access to healthcare, particularly reproductive healthcare. But one crucial point has been neglected: the Reproductive Health Bill is essential to remedy egregious violations on Filipino women’s international and national legal rights occurring under restrictive, ideologically driven policies, such as Manila City’s de facto ban on birth control.
The Manila City ban on contraception, also known as Executive Order 003, was passed nine years ago by former Mayor Jose “Lito” Atienza to effectively prohibit Manila City women – especially poor women – from accessing all forms of modern contraceptives, condoms, and information necessary to protect their reproductive health. As a result, women are unable to prevent pregnancy, even when it would jeopardize their lives, health, or ability to feed their families.
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