Are we saying goodbye to contraceptives?

If you might not know, the Supreme Court of the Philippines has been implementing a temporary restraining order (TRO) on contraceptives. The effects of this action was firstly felt by the health sector years ago when Implanon was banned. 

Implanon is a contraceptive method which lasts for about three years, and the “implanting” procedure as well as the implant itself have been done and given for free in Rural Health Units. However, the practice was ceased when pro-life advocates filed for a petition against it saying that it could cause abortion. As months went by, contraceptive pill supplies declined. 

Let me share to you a bit of information – contraceptive pills are given for free in the Rural Health Units in the Philippines. Many women have used this for years! If the TRO remains, there’s a possibility that contraceptive methods such as this one may be banned all over the country! 

As a nurse who experienced being with those in the community, in the barangay – the smallest administrative component in the country, I witnessed couples and solo parents struggle because of having too many children. I saw families trying to budget a meal so everyone could eat even in just small amounts just to ease up hunger. I cared for a woman who just let her 3-month old child die because she could not afford bringing him to a prestigious hospital for a heart operation. I cared for a family with a young boy who died because his body could not compensate his excessive lack of nourishment due to absence of financial resources to get food. I witnessed people like the midwives and nurses in the community giving up their own money just so they could provide meals for a starving family. 

As a former public health employee, I know that these women, without the use of contraceptives, could have conceived more children that would totally worsen their situation. The decline of supplies of free contraceptive pills has affected so many families, especially those who could not afford to buy a pack. There are a few who cannot even secure fares in going to a pharmacy, what more for a contraceptive kit. It’s good though, if there will still be available tablets in pharmacies but according to news, if the TRO will not be lifted, there shall be a COMPLETE ban of these resources even in stores. What will stay? Barrier methods and surgical ones such as bilateral tubal ligation and vasectomy.

Honestly and frankly speaking, despite the massive push to use barrier methods, like condoms, to control the cases of sexually transmitted infections, people will still opt to something more “realistic”. In short, (and sarcastically speaking), they’d rather have the infection than not feeling satisfied at all. Meanwhile, surgical procedures don’t have as much fans either. I dare you talk about incisions when you’re conducting health teachings. We will see if you would still have an audience an hour or two later. 

Do I make sense? This is a serious matter. This does not only involve pregnancy. This involves the overall health of women, the Filipino families, and the economy!

You know what? I don’t really like Duterte but I admire him in his support on family planning. 

Family planning is not just about preventing pregnancy, it is all about providing a good life to each of its members. How can you plan accordingly if you’re too many? How can you provide a harmonious life to your family when the parents are fighting over stuffs that could have been prevented if there were enough resources for them to limit their children?

If you care about the right to contraception, and if you care about the health of women, sign this petition for the Supreme Court to lift the TRO.