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It’s 2024. Pinays, are we discussing enough about our sexual and reproductive health and rights?

MANILA, Philippines — The issue of population explosion has been a longstanding concern among Filipino families, which also often leaves irreversible effects to women.

According to the 2022 Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey (PNDHS), the country has seen a discernible decline in family size over the years, with an average of 1.9 children per woman. However, 42% of the surveyed married women and 59% of sexually active unmarried women still don’t use any contraceptive method, which underscores a significant unmet need for family planning services and education within this population.

While there is a noted decrease in teenage pregnancies, the data still reveals a concerning figure of 3,363 cases in 2022, emphasizing a considerable need for targeted interventions.

In essence, the data above proves one point: why it’s crucial for Pinays—from teens to adults—to empower themselves and take a closer examination of their sexual and reproductive health rights. This ensures that as they navigate the area of safety and pleasure, they are equipped with not just information but also the right protection.

Here, we share some for discussion and consideration.

1. We’re luckier than moms a decade ago

Back in 2000, the city of Manila prohibited public health centers from providing essential contraceptives such as condoms, pills, intrauterine devices, surgical sterilization and other forms of “artificial contraceptives.”

This restriction affected economically disadvantaged women, depriving them of the opportunity to control and space the number of children they have.

Fortunately, this ban was lifted in 2008.

2. RH Law needs reform

The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10354) has been in existence for over a decade.

However, critics—including organizations like the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR)—argue that the RH Law lags behind global standards in reproductive health laws.

Concerns include the prohibition on national hospitals purchasing dedicated emergency contraceptives, and the mandatory requirement of parental consent for minors to access contraceptives without any exceptions.

Here’s a link to CRR’s Report on Philippines’ Compliance with its Human Rights Obligations in the Area of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

3. FDA-approved contraceptives

In 2017, the Philippine Food and Drug Administration identified 51 contraceptive products as safe and don’t induce abortion.

This list includes oral contraceptives pills, injectables and IUDs. Awareness of these options is crucial for women seeking suitable contraceptives.

4. We need to know about emergency contraception

Understanding emergency contraception is critical. The World Health Organization highlights that emergency contraception can prevent up to 95% of pregnancies when taken within five days after intercourse.

This method becomes crucial in cases of unprotected intercourse, concerns about contraceptive failure, incorrect use of contraceptives, and instances of sexual assault without contraception coverage.

5. Yuzpe Method as alternative

Also, have you heard of Yuzpe? It involves taking several oral contraceptive pills in two doses, 12 hours apart. However, it is imperative to only explore this method under the supervision of a healthcare professional who can guide you on the appropriate doses.

6. Copper power

Among emergency contraception methods, a copper-bearing intrauterine device (IUD) stands out as the most effective. By releasing copper ions, it effectively eliminates sperm, preventing fertilization.

7. The role of males in family planning

The 2022 PNDHS reported that only 56% of married women decided to use family planning jointly with their husband, and the percentage who make joint decisions decreases with the increasing number of children.

This shows the importance of males in setting the family size.

Aside from condoms, males can opt for vasectomy, or cutting of the vas deferens. It does not involve removal of the testes and will not result in loss of masculinity as the body will continue to produce male hormones.

There are choices

Commercially, a wide range of options are available, thanks to organizations like TRUST Reproductive Health Choices.

Offering contraceptive choices such as condoms, pills, injectables and IUDs, to pleasure-enhancing products like personal lubricants, TRUST RH Choices ensures a diverse array of sexual and reproductive health products at different price points, catering to the needs of a wide variety of Filipino consumers.

There really is truth in the saying, “Knowledge is power.” It’s essential for Filipino women to stay informed, break down barriers and actively participate in conversations that shape reproductive rights.

Editor’s Note: This #BrandSpace story is created with TRUST Reproductive Health Choices. It is produced by the Advertising Content Team that is independent from our Editorial Newsroom.

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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