Illegal or clandestine abortion has been a neglected issue until the present in spite of the fact that reproductive health rights have been on the agenda since the ICPD conference in 1994 and reaffirmed at the ICPD+5 worldwide conference. Although an estimated 19 million unsafe abortions take place worldwide each year, insufficient information at the country level perpetuates the invisibility of the problem of unsafe abortion and results in governments giving it little priority in policy decisions to improve services for postabortion care and to expand contraceptive services to reduce unplanned pregnancy. In countries like the Philippines where induced abortion is against the law, women nevertheless seek an abortion rather than give birth to children they cannot care for or that would cause them to be disgraced in the eyes of society. Induced abortion, often unsafe, is one method that Filipino women use to meet their reproductive goals. The general secrecy surrounding induced abortion because of its illegality does not mean, however, that it is not possible to study the subject or that there have not been efforts to measure the magnitude of the problem (Singh et al., 1997), or to document the various aspects of the practice of induced abortion (Ramosa-Jalbuena et al., 1978 and 1988; Raymundo et al., 1996 and 2001; Perez et al. 1997). We know from previous studies that Filipino women who decide not to continue a pregnancy are not unique, special or different from the average woman in other countries. Evidence for 1994 indicates that Filipino women of all social classes and backgrounds are having induced abortions (Raymundo et al., 2001). Nationally, the estimated annual abortion rate in the mid-1990s was 25 per 1,000 women of reproductive age, a rate that corresponds to 400,000 induced abortions per year. The rate varies by region, with Metro Manila having the highest prevalence with 41 per 1000 (Singh et al., 1997)....
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