By Kimberly dela Cruz

In the Philippines, reproductive rights remain a controversial topic. A predominantly Catholic country, it took more than a decade for a reproductive health law to be passed that grants access to free contraception and teach sex education in schools.

Even with the Reproductive Health Act, there’s still a lack of understanding of modern birth control methods resulting in many unplanned pregnancies. Fabella Hospital bears witness to that, delivering around 60 babies a day for families from poor communities in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Access to modern contraception is still limited in some areas. Women travel for hours to reach clinics that could provide them pills, condoms, and other birth control devices. Minors need parental consent for this, leading to a large number of teenage pregnancies in the country. Abortion remains illegal and women are forced to gamble their lives in backdoor abortion clinics. Some are left bleeding for days, afraid of seeking medical help.