Baguio school says mandatory pregnancy tests meant to protect students

BAGUIO, Philippines – Pines City Colleges (PCC), one of Baguio’s top schools of nursing and allied courses, is requiring students to take pregnancy tests before they are allowed to enroll.

A letter signed by PCC vice president for administration Maria Regina Prats and school physician Dr Aurelia Navarro last October 25 calls for mandatory pregnancy test for students. It scheduled such testings for November 7 for dentistry students and November 8-9 for pharmacy and nursing students.

The college coordinators are asked to provide the names of the students, while the students are asked to pay P150 for the testing, added into their school fees.

The letter was shared by netizens on Tuesday, November 6, a day before the tests are implemented.

In a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon, PCC stood by its controversial decision.

“Pines City Colleges abides by its policy of pregnancy tests for female students who are enrolling in any subject that would endanger both mother and child,” it said in its Faceook page.

“It is a policy agreed to by our students upon enrollment in this institution. We believe it is a policy protective of our students while they are in our care and are deployed to internship programs in hospitals and to clinical practices,” PCC said.

“This is a clear violation of the Magna Carta of Women, which prohibits all forms of discrimination against women (in this case, vs. pregnant students). This is also a violation of the right to privacy,” said reproductive health advocate Elizabeth Angsioco.

So ano ngayon kung buntis ang student 'nyo? (So what if your students are pregnant?) What does being pregnant have to do with their 'pursuit for education and social responsibility'? Ang social responsibility ba ay nasa balikat lang ng mga female students ninyo (the burden of female students alone)?” asked Scene of Crime Operation-Cordillera Chief Superintendent Rodrigo Leal.

Gabriela Women’s Party List said the PCC’s policy “violates the Magna Carta of Women or Republic Act 9710,” and “perpetuates an old view and stigma that pregnancy is socially unacceptable and against the norm.”

Akbayan Youth said: "The pregnancy test doesn't improve our quality of education. It doesn't increase our school's number of graduates. Why are pregnant students treated like they are the problem of our education system?"

The youth organization also said the requirement "infringes on their right to privacy and other rights that should be protected by schools." – Rappler.com