Imposing Misery: The Impact of Manila's Contraception Ban on Women and Families

Likhaan, ReproCen, and the Center for Reproductive Rights have released a report documenting the devastating impact of Manila’s contraception ban on women and their families. In 2000, the mayor of Manila, Jose "Lito" Atienza, issued an Executive Order (EO) "upholding natural family planning" and "discouraging the use of artificial methods of contraception like condoms, pills, intrauterine devices, surgical sterilization, and other [methods]." This sweeping EO, in effect, bans city health centers and hospitals from providing contraception to women in need of this essential reproductive health care service. Poor women are suffering the most under this ban.

The report, Imposing Misery: The Impact of Manila’s Contraception Ban on Women and Families, is based on a series of compelling interviews with women affected by the EO, government and health officials, and nongovernmental organizations. Its conclusions are clear: the EO harms the lives and health of women, as well as their families, by depriving them of the basic human right to make decisions about their own bodies and whether and when to have children. Further, the report establishes that the EO violates national and international law.

This report alerts the Manila City and national government to the violations resulting from the EO and issues recommendations to nullify the policy. Likhaan, ReproCen, and the Center for Reproductive Rights are working to ensure that Manila residents have easy and affordable access to a full range of family planning options, in accordance with the Philippines’ obligations under constitutional, national, and international law. In addition, these three organizations have called on the new mayor, Alfredo S. Lim, who took office this July, to revoke the ban.