Prof. Winnie Monsod: Sex Education Needed to Curb Abortions

May 1, 2012 12:19pm

Sex education for women is one urgent solution to the growing number of abortions in the country, Prof. Winnie Monsod argued in the closing remarks of her show “Bawal ang Pasaway kay Mareng Winnie,” which aired last April 11.

Despite 12 percent of maternal mortalities in the country being abortion-related, and over 400,000 Filipino women undergoing abortions in the year 2000 alone, sex education remains unavailable to many Filipino women. Esther, a woman interviewed on the show, did not know until she was 29 years old that there were modern contraceptive methods available to her. Before that, she had two illegal and unsafe abortions for unintended pregnancies.

“We know it’s a sin, and it’s illegal. It’s a crime in the eyes of the law. It’s a crime in the eyes of God. So we have to ask, why do they continue to do it?” asked Prof. Monsod.

According to a paper authored by individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University, 72 percent of women who underwent abortions said that they could not afford to raise another child. Another 57 percent said that their pregnancies occurred too soon after the last one, and 54 percent said they already had enough children. Moreover, 13 percent of women who underwent abortions said that their pregnancies were result of forced sex.

“Here are these people dying,” said Prof. Monsod. “Mothers, children, dying from abortion – a sin and a crime – a yet they are desperate enough to do it. And most of them are poor. Unwanted, cannot afford, et cetera. And the biggest problem is that they have no access to information on family planning, whether natural or artificial.”

Prof. Monsod criticized opponents of sex education for denying vital information about reproductive health to the women who most desperately need it: “Aren’t these women simply asking, ‘Can you please give us information on what we can do to prevent another child?’ Why do you withhold information from them? And then in their desperation, they’re going to have an abortion. Does that make sense to you? It does not make sense to me.”

The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), one of the most vocal opponents of the Reproductive Health Bill, says that any form of artificial contraception is “anti-life” and goes against Catholic doctrine. According to an article on the CBCP website, “These artificial means are fatal to human life, either preventing it from fruition or actually destroying it.”

Proponents of the RH Bill, however, maintain that a Reproductive Health law would provide sex education and maternal health services and contraceptives to poor women who want to plan their families.

“We have to get together,” continued Prof. Monsod, “and at least give our women a chance to say ‘I want to decide how many children I’m going to have. Please help me with the information.’ If that is our perspective, then for sure the number of abortions will decrease. If we do not allow these women to be able to choose the number of children they have, then we are going to be a part of the problem.”

“Bawal ang Pasaway with Mareng Winnie” airs every Wednesday at 8:00 PM, on GMA News TV Channel 11. –FM/PF/HGS, GMA News Online


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