Wednesday, October 28, 2009
NY Times: Birth Control Bill Has Enemies in Philippines, by Carlos H. Conde:
Abortion is illegal in the Philippines, though birth control and related health services have long been available to those who can afford to pay for them through the private medical system. But 70 percent of the population is too poor and depends on heavily subsidized care through the public health system. In 1991, prime responsibility for delivering public health services shifted from the central government to the local authorities, who have broad discretion over which services are dispensed. Many communities responded by making birth control unavailable.
More recently, however, family planning advocates have been making headway in their campaign to change this. Legislation before the Philippine Congress, called the Reproductive Health and Population Development Act, would require governments down to the local level to provide free or low-cost reproductive health services — from condoms and birth control pills to tubal ligation and vasectomy. It would also mandate sex education in all schools, public and private, from fifth grade through high school.