Friday, April 25, 2008

“Fearfully and wonderfully made”

Laws, facts and statistics on abortions in the Philippines; hope and help for the hurting

In the 1970’s, a college friend confided to me that she feared her boyfriend had gotten her pregnant. She said that if indeed she was pregnant, she would not resort to abortion. She did not want to follow the example of a friend who, caught in the same situation, heeded the advice of one of our college professors to get an abortion. She asked me not to tell her boyfriend about what was happening to her and for help in getting into a halfway house for unwed mothers.

The Bible explicitly upholds the sanctity of life, even of the unborn. Perhaps the Bible’s most eloquent statement on how God regards the unborn is Psalm 139 which goes like this:

1. O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. 5. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10. Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
13. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
14. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
Despite being predominantly Catholic, the Philippines has not been spared from the scourge of abortion. It is quite ironic that Filipinas who cannot afford fees charged by doctors in illicit abortions turn to the Quiapo Church or to one of several other churches around the country near which abortifacients are sold.

Consider the following facts and statistics:

[1] In 2005, there were some 400,000 to 500,000 abortions in the Philippines. The World Health Organization estimate puts the figure at nearly 800,000, one of the highest rates of unsafe abortions in Asia.

[2] Seventy percent of unwanted pregnancies in the Philippines end in abortion, according to the WHO. Pro-Life Philippines, an anti-abortion group, says that one of four pregnancies in the Philippines end in abortion.

[3] According to the Department of Health, nearly 100,000 women who have unsafe abortions every year end up in the hospital.

[4] As many as 17 percent of all unsafe abortions are done on teenage or young mothers, according to the DOH.

[5] The national abortion ratio in 2000 was 18, meaning that 18 of every 100 pregnancies (live births and abortions) ended in abortion; the low estimate is 16 and the high estimate is 21.

[6] Manila has the highest proportion of pregnancies ending in abortion (one in three), compared with about one in five in the rest of Luzon and about one in eight in Visayas and Mindanao.

[7] 36 percent of Filipino women become pregnant before marriage and 45 percent of all pregnancies are either unwanted or ill-timed, according to the World Health Organization.

[8] About 4 in 5 abortions in the Philippines are for economic reasons, according to a survey by the University of the Philippines. In many cases, said Jocelyn Pacete, a spokeswoman for Likhaan, a women's health group based in Manila, "the mother can't afford another child, so ends up choosing her five living children over the fetus in her womb."

[9] Doctors who perform abortions clandestinely in clinics typically charge 2,000 to 5,000 pesos, or $37 to $93, according to one report.

[10] In Quiapo, the best-selling abortifacient is Cytotec, a drug for ulcers. Before it was banned largely through the lobbying efforts of Pro-Life Philippines, Cytotec could be bought over the counter for 20 pesos. Today, it sells on the black market for 50 to 120 pesos per tablet. Most of the Cytotec now circulating is smuggled in from South Korea and Bangkok

These facts and statistics are from Philippines abortion crisis; Religious women turn to illegal procedures, by Carlos H. Conde, International Herald Tribune, Asia-Pacific, May 16, 2005, and from The Incidence of Induced Abortion in the Philippines: Current Level and Recent Trends, by Fatima Juarez, Josefina Cabigon, Susheela Singh and Rubina Hussain; International Family Planning Perspectives, Volume 31, Number 3, September 2005.

Abortion is illegal in the Philippines

The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, specifically, Sec. 12, Art. II, pronounces that “the State shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

Decades before the 1987 Constitution, the New Civil Code of the Philippines contained provisions protecting the unborn. These provisions are:
Art. 40. Birth determines personality; but the conceived child shall be considered born for all purposes that are favorable to it, provided it be born later with the conditions specified in the following article.

Art. 41. For civil purposes, the fetus is considered born if it is alive at the time it is completely delivered from the mother’s womb. However, if the fetus had an intra-uterine life of less than seven months, it is not deemed born if it dies within twenty four hours after its complete delivery from the maternal womb.
The Revised Penal Code has several provisions penalizing abortion. These are:
  • Article 255 Infanticide
  • Article 256 Intentional abortion
  • Article 257 Unintentional abortion
  • Article 258 Abortion practiced by the woman herself or by her parents
  • Article 259 Abortion practiced by a physician or midwife and dispensing of abortives
HB 3227 (The Moses Law): stopping abortion and child abuse

House Bill 3227 or “The Safe Haven Act or The Moses Law” (authored by Rep. Eduardo Zialcita) permits parents to entrust the custody of their babies, who are up to two months old, to any hospital, medical emergency facility, police or fire station and other government agencies.

The “unwanted” babies will then be taken into the custody the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The parents will not be required to give their names to the recipient of the child, and will be protected from arrest. Rep. Zialcita said he filed the bill “to address the moral degeneration of society as a result of the tragedies caused by abortion, child abuse, neglect and other forms of anti-life and anti-child acts.”

Insightful articles and helpful websites on the issue of abortion

I highly recommend to you the following articles and websites on the issue of abortion:
Click here
Click here

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