Today the Philippine Inquirer published an article by Jaileen Jimeno (viewable here and here) that really opened my eyes to the reality of family planning in the Philippines. Up until now, I thought the lack of family planning was due to 1) lack of education and 2) lack of resources. It was not until I read this article that I realized the direct interference of the government to purposely block access to birth control.
For anybody, anywhere, to think that natural family planning is a solution is an idiot at best. For a top educated president like Arroyo to claim to believe this is asinine. When my grandma and I were talking about this subject when I visited SF earlier this year she told me, "Do you know what they call people who practice natural family planning? Parents."
Some of the stats in the article stunned me. 6 out of every 10 women have an unplanned pregnancy! That shocked me. I knew it was high but I never imagined it was that high. I can't tell you the number or family members/neighbors in our area that have multiple kids before the age of 25. My biggest issue is the fact that women are having more children than they want. If someone wants to have 15 kids, so be it. I am not part of the don't have kids if you can't afford it camp. My issue stems from women who want two or three and end up with six. The infrastructure cannot keep up with the population. It is all just very, very frustrating.
Nobody it seems is focusing on what happens to the kids once they are born. There is an orphanage in the area that we go by and visit every few weeks. There are usually about 50 kids there, many with disabilities and many siblings. If people want all these kids to be born, why are they not taking care of them.
Coming from a city where condoms were available free in high school and my pediatrician told me to call her immediately if I ever had unprotected sex (I was 13--not even close to having sex) to get an emergency high dose of birth control (old school morning after pill) I am stunned to now live in a place where sex education is not even taught in schools. I really fear for the future of the women here. Something has to change but I don't know if it will be soon enough.