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Abortion must be decriminalized, NOW (it’s an election issue)

Many Filipinos have always been against the idea of abortion because we have been taught by our religion, that it is a sin. A sin against the unborn who, some argue, are already human and have the same rights as you and me. We in the Organization for Pinoys with Disabilities or PWD Philippines as we are known in social media and other conversations, believe that the focus of such conversations should go beyond the unborn and must also include the mother, who is tasked with the responsibility of childbirth as well caring for the child for the entirety of his/her existence.

Life in the time of COVID-19

Those of us who are in adulthood and can take care of ourselves and our families, know the difficulty of working for a living. In this time of the pandemic, many of us have suffered the loss of livelihood and have experienced hunger and poverty at levels we have never thought possible, because we believed we are gainfully employed. However, the stability of our livelihoods have been challenged and we now realize how helpless we can be in the face of something without a brain and smaller than a bacteria. Our children have stopped going to school and many of us have taken up the oddest of jobs just to maintain what we have known to be “livable circumstances”.

Those of us who have children with disabilities know the cost of putting such a child to school, mounting medical bills to maintain their good health, and ensuring that they are well-cared for in the years when we are no longer able to do so. These tall orders are double the expectations for children without disabilities. And raising one in the best possible circumstances is already difficult without the support of other family members, friends and even to a certain extent, government.

In the UK and the US, abortions are legal but within certain conditions. Some of these conditions include:

– if the health of the mother is endangered

– if the child will be turn out to have serious disabilities

– if the pregnancy becomes a threat to other children in the family

PWD Philippines believes in equal rights for all sexes. No matter how a husband attests that he is part of his wife’s pregnancy, he is not. He does not feel the aches and pains of each day of the nine months a woman nurtures the unborn from conception to birth. It is and never will be an equal distribution of the “workload”. Thus it is only logical that the woman be given a choice in the matter, something that the religious groups and pro-life people seem to have forgotten. The question and the discourse must revolve around the woman and it must be recognized that making a woman bear children against her will is similar to forcing someone to donate a kidney, because he’s got 2 anyway and the one needing it must be given priority.

Abortion is not about killing, it’s about saving lives.

No, it is not inhuman to protect the physical and mental health of a pregnant woman. No, it is not being inhumane to allow abortion for a woman with an intellectual disability who was coerced or forced into the sexual act. No, it is not inhuman to want children to grow up without disabilities, because we in the PWD Philippines know the hardship of disability as we have spent all our years living it, the discrimination, the financial hardship, the physical pain and mental anguish both for us and those who care for us.

We in PWD Philippines support the decriminalization of abortion for selected situations, but we do not support it for those who have no value for human life, who just want to have abortions for abortion’s sake. It is a medical procedure that leaves the patient with a measure of pain even after the procedure. The social stigma is enough to make the patient suffer for far longer than she should have. We do not condone abortion for all its frivolous reasons, but to decriminalize it for those who have valid and compelling reasons. I appeal to all to also consider the rights of the woman in this issue.

Decriminalize abortion now, because it too is a life-saving medical procedure.

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