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Mapping the Path to Philippine Reproductive Rights Legislation: Signs of Progress Amidst Obstacles

Sharmila Parmanand


While the Philippines is a signatory to multiple international conventions that affirm women’s reproductive rights, attempts to enact legislation to promote a comprehensive national framework for modern family planning and evidence-based sex education have been thwarted by Catholic bishops, lay groups, and conservative politicians for over a decade. Partially as a result of this, the Philippines’ reproductive health indicators are dismal relative to its neighbors’. This paper examines the debates around the Reproductive Healthcare law, whose constitutionality is currently being challenged by conservative groups in the Philippine Supreme Court, and the bargaining processes that characterized the passage of the law. Finally, it identifies the threats and opportunities of the existing law and the dangers of a Supreme Court reversal.

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