The World Needs To Listen To The Philippines When It Comes To Women's Sexual Freedoms

When one of the Catholic countries in the world does this, you better sit down and listen

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The government in the Philippines has just pushed women in their country one giant slide forwards into the territory of appropriate female reproductive rights.

And by that, we mean that an act was passed, called the 'The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012'.

The aim of this act is to cement the idea that access to contraception and the relevant information about contraception, is a basic human right that needs to be honoured nation-wide.

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According to CNN, in 2013 the Philippines had, within its population, a group of about 6 million women - of which two million are classed as 'poor' - that did not have access to any modern form of contraception, and therefore were unable to exercise their reproductive rights.

A woman in Manilla, Philippines
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Finally, a ten-step plan has been put in place to distribute and administer modern contraception, as well as promote and implement gender-sensitive, reproductive education.

It had been a battle hard-fought.

The Philippines is a Catholic country and contains a lot of pro-life (anti-abortion) groups and activists who claim modern contraception has 'abortive' qualities.

The Catholic church actually has a relatively 'liberal' Pope at it's head at the moment, in the Vatican in Italy.

Pope Francis has been known to encourage women to breastfeed in public if they need to.

He also has extended the power of forgiving the 'grave sin' of abortion to Priests in a bid to make the church a more merciful institution.

We did say 'relatively' liberal, ok?

Thankfully, government in the Philippines doesn't harbour quite the same thinking as any of the anti-abortion groups, when it comes to contraception and has said:

'[Pro-life groups] keep saying that contraception or family planning or the reproductive health law is abortifacient, it's anti-life. But... we in the government, we think differently... We feel that it is pro-life, pro-women, pro-children, and pro-economic development.'

The President of the country, Rodrigo Duterte, who signed the order which would direct the funds to start the plan, said that he, 'recognised the right of Filipinos to decide freely and responsibly on their desired number and spacing of children.'

Sounds like good news to us.

So, at a time when the US government intends to de-fund charities like Planned Parenthood, or suspicions about a privatised health-care system in the UK, and when Poland's government are threatening to drastically restrict women's access to abortion, there is a thing or two we can learn here about the global approach to women's sexual rights.

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