In Philippines, a 14-Year Fight for Birth Control
She eventually heard about the birth control pill from neighbors, but did not know how it worked. Moreover, she said she could not afford it.
“Instead of spending money on those, I use it to buy food,” Lopez said.
Her story is a familiar one in a country where 81% of Filipinos are devout Roman Catholic and 30% live below the poverty line, according to the Philippine National Statistics Office.
While contraception is legal, the majority, like Lopez, do not have access or the means to afford birth control. But that could all change.
After 14 years in limbo, a controversial landmark legislation called the Reproductive Health bill could bring major changes in the country of almost 96 million people. The proposed law requires the government to provide contraceptives, information on modern family planning methods at public health centers and comprehensive reproductive health curriculum in schools.
National surveys show 65-70% of Filipinos support the bill, but it faces fierce opposition by the country’s Roman Catholic Church leaders.