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RH to help stop rise in abortion cases – DOH

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Alarmed over the increasing number of hospital admissions due to abortion, Health Secretary Enrique Ona yesterday pressed again for the immediate implementation of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law.

In a press briefing, Ona said abortion was one of the top three obstetrics-gynecology cases in nine hospitals of the Department of Health (DOH) in 2012 and 2013.

He said the RH Law could help minimize abortions because it would enable couples to properly plan their family.

“This is one of the laws that we are very interested and the DOH is very ready to completely implement it,” Ona said.

The Supreme Court has deferred its ruling on the temporary restraining order filed by certain groups seeking to stop implementation of the law.

The DOH chief said abortion cases had increased at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City from 1,552 to 1,915 in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

At the East Avenue Medical Center and Quirino Memorial Medical Center, both in Quezon City, admissions for abortion also rose from 1,511 to 1,819 and from 1,247 to 1,272, respectively.

An increase was also observed at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center from and from 383 to 438.

A decline in cases was monitored at the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila from 1,274 to 1,240; Paulino Garcia Memorial Medical Center in Cabanatuan City from 891 to 869; Baguio General Hospital from 825 to 635; Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila from 761 to 624 and Tondo Medical Center from 586 to 508.

Ona, however, clarified that the data contain both induced and spontaneous abortions or miscarriages.

“These are only gross figures but for me it also gives you a picture of the high number of abortions in the country, whether induced or spontaneous. We can assume from these numbers that there are very high number of unplanned pregnancies that end up with induced abortion and this is what we want to avoid,” he said.

Induced abortions are done using instruments or by drinking medicine.

Ona said about 12 to 15 percent “or maybe a little bit higher” pregnancies end in miscarriage.

He expressed confidence that the RH Law could address the high abortion rate.

“It will make sure that our women are aware of the various options that they have in terms of planning for family size and the needed information as to when it’s best for them to get pregnant. They will know the disadvantages of having children every year,” he said.

Ona said the measure could also help could curb rising incidents of teenage pregnancy in the country.

A study of the University of the Philippines Population Institute and Demographic Research Development Foundation Inc. released last month showed that one in every three Filipino youth aged 15 to 24 has engaged in pre-marital sex. The figure is 14 percent higher than 20 years ago.

“Teenage pregnancy is really worrisome. It’s surprising. What kind of life will the women have if she gets pregnant at an early age? The bottom line is that our men and women will have the knowledge of sex education so that they would not engage in practices that could lead to pregnancy,” he said.

Ona added that reproductive health could be discussed “openly” using “age-appropriate” information on sexuality and responsible parenthood.

AT THE EAST AVENUE MEDICAL CENTER AND QUIRINO MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER

BAGUIO GENERAL HOSPITAL

CABANATUAN CITY

CAGAYAN VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER

CEBU CITY

CENTER

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

HEALTH SECRETARY ENRIQUE ONA

JOSE FABELLA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

JOSE REYES MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER

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