Advocates for safe spaces called on senators to study and not shun the call for the decriminalization of abortion automatically after remarks made during the Senate plenary debate for the 2024 budget of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
At the debate, senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Jinggoy Ejercito, and Miguel Zubiri took issue with the CHR’s previous position to decriminalize abortion, and moved to defer its budget pending a “strong stand against abortion.”
But safe space advocates, Enough Is Enough Ph (EIE), claim that the senators went on auto mode in shunning the critical issue the moment they heard “abortion” as if it were taboo as they held the CHR budget hostage to forward their anti-progress, anti-women, and anti-poor agenda.
“Our lawmakers are having difficulty understanding the simple reality that abortion and reproductive health are crucial issues within the realm of women’s rights, of women’s lives,” EIE lead convenor, Sophie Reyes, said in a statement.
“The data is overwhelming. Poor women are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to full term or endure unsafe abortion methods. Decriminalizing abortion would at least open up avenues for safer, regulated procedures,” explained Reyes.
The World Health Organization in 2021 says that around 73 million induced abortions take place worldwide each year. Six out of 10 (61%) of all unintended pregnancies, and 3 out of 10 (29%) of all pregnancies, end in induced abortion.
The group asserts that arguments on abortion must take the question of child and maternity care and the role of government as a whole. The group argues that if the government is unable to fulfill its responsibility in raising the child and protecting the mother then it does not have the moral ascendancy to punish those who cannot afford to raise a child.
“The senators’ backward interpretation of the Constitution is sentencing countless women to death. Instead of witch hunting those who seek abortion, the government’s resources must be used for the protection of mothers and future generations.” Reyes said.
The group questioned the sincerity of the senators’ arguments against abortion and claimed that “they may just be protecting themselves against backlash from conservative camps who may have supported their campaigns.”
The group likewise lambasted Cayetano for calling on CHR executive director, Atty. Jacqueline De Guia to “get out of government.”
But Reyes maintained that, “it is these backward senators who should get out of government. Their rightful place is in the ash-heap of history”.