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Philippines Supreme Court’s Restraining Order On Reproductive Health Law Will Hinder Achievement Of Government’s Demographic, Health, Economic Goals

Inter Press Service: Family Planning in the Philippines: Stalled Again
Barry Mirkin, former chief of the Population Policy Section of the United Nations Population Division

“With the landslide victory of the tough talking … Roberto Duterte to the presidency of the Philippines in May 2016, news reports of the South-East Asian country have been dominated by the president’s often controversial statements and policies … One such notable event, which slipped below the radar, was the granting of a second temporary restraining order in 2016 by the country’s Supreme Court on the distribution of most contraceptives. … The [country’s reproductive health] law would have provided public funding for contraceptives for poor women. The [Catholic] Church continues to promote only withdrawal and abstinence as acceptable methods of family planning in the Philippines. … The most recent court decision took place despite the fact that the newly elected president in his first State of the Union speech stressed the urgency of family planning for alleviating widespread poverty, currently affecting one quarter of the country’s population. Duterte has also declared that the three child family was sufficient. … In the continued absence of effective, safe, free, widespread, and readily available modern contraceptives, it will be extremely difficult to achieve any of the government’s stated demographic, health, and economic objectives. In the case of the Philippines, its destiny now rests on the decision of the Supreme Court and its 15 justices” (12/28).