#PinayTakeAction: Let's talk about reproductive health
MANILA, Philippines – When did you first start thinking about reproductive health (RH)? What was your experience like the first time you bought contraceptives?
On International Women's Health Day, May 28, women from Rappler shared their personal experiences regarding contraception and RH in the Philippines as well as the issues surrounding the temporary restraining order (TRO) on contraceptive implants.
A Supreme Court (SC) decision released last Friday, May 26, did not lift the TRO covering contraceptive implants. The SC pointed out that the ball is in the court of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (READ: TRO on implants to stay, SC blames DOH for delay)
"After compliance with due process and upon promulgation of the decision of the Food and Drug Administration, the Temporary Restraining Order would be deemed lifted if the questioned drugs and devices are found not abortifacient," reads the SC decision.
The SC TRO, issued in 2015, prohibited the DOH from "procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, advertising and promoting the hormonal contraceptive 'Implanon' and 'Implanon NXT.'"
These implants, which can prevent pregnancies up to 3 years, are popular in the communities that Rappler columnist Ana Santos covers.
"When they were given an option for birth control that will give them protection for 3 years, they loved it. That's why it became a preferred contraceptive method. It was a new reproductive technology that's why it was questioned," Santos said.
"We shouldn't be complacent about any kind of restriction placed on the distribution of these implants," she added. (READ: Most contraceptives to run out by 2018 – PopCom)
What does this mean for Filipinas?
"It's 2017. We cannot have a country where birth control is being phased out right under our noses... It's incomprehensible and it's really an infringement on our right to access these medications... I think now we need to include the FDA because the ball has been passed to them. We need to knock on the doors of the FDA," Santos said.
Rappler social media producer Marguerite de Leon echoed this call for action, saying: "There's this clear, solid clamor for reproductive health and you can't get it or it has been taken away from us. We really have to do something, we have to speak up, and talk about it."
So, what can be done?
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler regional correspondent for Southeast Asia, thinks it's time to reach out to those who have misconceptions about the issue.
"We have to rally and talk about this and really understand the [RH law] to be able to argue intelligently with people who are too lazy to read and to be able to explain to them exactly why this [implant] is not an abortifacient, and why this argument does not make any sense," she said.
Aside from talking to your social circles, you can also reach out to the FDA, and join collective actions initiated by women's groups and organizations. – Rappler.com