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PRELIMINARY CRITIQUE OF DOH ADMIN. ORDER 2012-009 “National Strategy Towards Reducing Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning as a means to Achieving MDGs on Maternal Health.”

PRELIMINARY CRITIQUE OF DOH ADMIN. ORDER 2012-009 “National Strategy Towards Reducing Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning as a means to Achieving MDGs on Maternal Health.”

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Published by: CBCP for Life on Jul 19, 2012
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PRELIMINARY CRITIQUE OF
DOH ADMIN. ORDER 2012-009
National Strategy Towards Reducing Unmet Need for Modern Family Planning as a means to Achieving MDGs on Maternal Health.” 
 
(Released June 27, 2012)
byThe CBCP Legal Office
“UNMET NEED”
In a 1996 Study entitled, “
No Need for Unmet Need” 
, presented at theJohn Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health by Lant Pritchett
1
,
unmet need 
“is flawed; analytically, empirically as a guide to public policy, as apredictor of demographic impact, and even as a guide to family planning policy.”
 
Citing
Pritchett 
’s Paper, another White Paper from
World Youth Alliance 
2
 reports that:The number of unintended pregnancies in the world is high,but the idea of a global unmet need for contraception ismisguided. Although there may be 215 million women who wantto delay or avoid pregnancy and are not using contraception, thatdoes not mean that all of these women want to usecontraception.Social scientists and public policy experts identify womenas having an unmet need for contraception even when thosewomen have not expressed a desire to use contraception.The idea of unmet need for contraception ignores thereasons for unmet need that women express, such as concernabout health and other side effects of artificial contraception,
1
 
 
Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Co-editor ofthe
Journal of Development Economics.
 (http://ksgfaculty.harvard.edu/faculty/cv/LantPritchett.pdf)
 
2
http://www.wya.net/advocacy/research/WYA%20family%20planning%20white%20paper.pdf,Accessed July 18, 2012
 
 
2
incompatibility with religious and ethical beliefs, and the financialcost of contraception.In the Philippines, non-use of a “modern” family planning method amongwomen does not mean they have an “unmet need”. There are myriads ofreasons why women do not use artificial contraceptives. Primarily, a womanfeels she does not need any method at all. Some women refuse to use a methodfor reasons of religious conviction. Others refrain because of aversion to the sideeffects, others for fear of mortal consequences to health from the carcinogenicsubstances. In these cases, there is refusal; hence, there is no “need” to speakof. And yet,
all 
cases of non-use are routinely interpreted as a gaping “need” to justify a massive family planning program such as this.Notably,
if 
as premised by the directive, there are “around six millionFilipino women estimated to have unmet need for modern family planning”, whydoes it direct POPCOM to ensure “increasing demand?”
Intrusive and Insulting to Families
There is a subtle coercion and undue influence in the way the Directivespells out the manner of disseminating its population control agenda.DOH and its allied agencies become instruments to indirectly obstruct,defeat or impair freedom of religious belief and exercise of women and men whorefuse or choose not to contracept or be sterilized.The Directive makes reference to “the right of spouses to determine thenumber of children they want to have”—a fundamental right acknowledged in theConstitution (Article XV, Section 3 (1)). However, in the same breath, thedirective creates “Community Health Teams” who will knock at homes anddoorsteps in all
barangays 
nationwide, there to “preach” and exhort couples andindividuals in the ethos of contraception in a manner that is person-to-person,“client-centered, life-cycle approach on delivering family planning services at anypoint of contact.” This is a highly unethical and unlawful act of “meddling withthe private life or family relations” of spouses and individuals? (Article 26 (2),Civil Code of the Philippines)
Behavior Change
The communication 
program described in the Administrative Orderis clearly patterned after the World Health Organization (WHO) strategy ofneutralizing and overturning the citizens’ traditional religious, cultural and familyvalues. These are considered by WHO as
barriers 
or obstacles to thepopulation control agenda.
 
3
 Unlawful Dispensing of Contraceptives by non-Pharmacists and non-Physicians
In sending out Barangay Health Workers, midwives, nurses, other healthproviders direct to homes and families, armed with supplies of pills, injectibles,condoms (devices), DOH and its agents defy and court the penal sanctions in
R.A. 5921,
An Act Regulating the Practice of Pharmacy and Setting Standards of Pharmaceutical Education in the Philippines”.
This law prohibits dispensingmedicine, pharmaceuticals, drugs and devices except through a prescriptiondrugstore or hospital pharmacy. The law has not been repealed nor amended.In implanting IUD’s and performing sterilization procedures, they also riskliability for physical injuries and mutilation.
Betrayal of Public Mandate
In promoting and distributing drugs and devices confirmed by medicalstudies to be carcinogenic, injurious, dangerous and unsafe to its users,particularly women, DOH betrays its mandate to safeguard public health. DOHmocks its public trust of protecting consumers against hazardous substances(Article XVI, Section 9, and Constitution).Furthermore, the question arises: if the pernicious side effects ofcontraception eventually descend on the women who imbibed pills, implantedwith IUD’s, injected with Depo-Provera by authority of this Directive, doesgovernment have provisions for their expensive medication? Will DOH also makeavailable the medicines against cancer? In several far flung areas, like inMindanao, Barangay Health Centres even refuse to remove IUD’s they implantedon mothers who have asked for the removal because of severe pelvic infections.
Betraying the Poor
The incessant targeting by DOH of poor families for contraception andsterilization abuses and exploits the moral dependence, indigence, and otherweakness of the poor. This is an open violation of human rights of the poor.If the poor and indigent families have an unmet need, these are for foodon their table, medicine for common ailments, nutrition for mothers, infants andchildren, clean drinking water, electricity, sanitation, education, and means oflivelihood.

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