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By 2020, condoms may be the only choice of contraceptive available in the Philippines. We can’t help but ask: Are we back in the ’80s?

Instead of giving more rights and options for women, the government—the Supreme Court to be exact—is doing the exact opposite. Why are they continuously trying to decide for women, our bodies, and what to do with them?

When the RH Bill (which is now Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law) was signed into law in 2012, we thought it was the start of a moving forward, towards better family planning in the country and safe and planned pregnancies for women.

But then the SC issuing a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), preventing the Department of Health from “procurement, selling, distributing, dispensing, administering and promoting” contraceptive implants. We know right? One step forward, two steps back.

This TRO is a result of a petition filed by Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc. (Alfi), BTW. It said that contraceptive implants and drugs can be abortifacients. According to the website of this pro-life organization, “total fertility control” is immoral and “any systematic control of births to limit population size violates human dignity.”

Erm. In case you’ve forgotten: The TRO affects a whopping 13.4 million Filipino women.

The TRO deprives Filipino women of the choice on what to do with their bodies. And for some of the 13.4 million women, it’s even worse. Contraceptives are also used as medication for health conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Thanks to this TRO, they are denied of better health—basically speaking.

Is it really so “immoral” to not want to get pregnant, but to still want to make love with your trusted partner? Is it really so immoral to conclude that you already have enough kids? Is acknowledging that you can’t afford to have more really a violation to human dignity? Contrary to Sushimita Sen popular belief, having kids is not the essence of a woman. Because there are women who don’t want to have kids—are you saying they’re less of a woman?

Contraceptives are helping them make that choice, in the same way it’s liberated women in the ’60s.

It’s so easy to tell people, “Wag mag-anak kung hindi kaya” but are we really giving them that option? Once the total ban on contraceptives happen, doing that will get even harder.

I think it’s time we finally acknowledge this obvious fact: sex is a basic human function. No matter how many times we preach abstinence, it will happen. It will happen to couples, homosexuals, youth–everyone. And family planning and contraceptives prepare us for that.

This TRO on contraceptives will make unplanned parenthood, maternal deaths, and teen pregnancy worsen. And women who suffer from PCOS will have zero access for what they need to get better. If it’s not yet obvious, this is a direct attack and betrayal to all Filipino women. And we must resist it.

Whether you take the pills or not, whether you’re sexually active or not, as long as you identify as a woman, it is your responsibility to fight for the rights of our gender. Our right to have accessible contraceptives.

This is not about religion, or the long standing argument if contraception is abortion (hint: it’s not!). This should only be about women, and keeping their options open. We have to take ownership of our bodies, and be the only ones— not our partners, and definitely not the government, to decide on what to do with it.

Sign the petition here.

Illustrations: Madel Crudo

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