The Philippines has one of the most restrictive abortion policies in the world – abortion is criminalized with no exceptions. This law, coupled with the stigma associated with abortion, has heavily contributed to a high incidence of unsafe abortions in the Philippines.1
Abortion is illegal in the Philippines with no exceptions, including when needed to save the life, or protect the health, of a pregnant woman.2 Abortion was made illegal under the Spanish colonial rule through the Penal Code of 1870, and the criminal provisions were incorporated into the Revised Penal Code passed in 19303 under U.S. occupation of the Philippines, which has continued to be applied up until today.
In 2016, the Department of Health issued an Administrative Order (AO) on the Prevention and Management of Abortion Complications (DOH AO No. 2016-0041). The objective of the policy is to provide and improve the quality of safe post-abortion services in both private and public health facilities. This AO was signed into law on November 25, 2016. Aside from the AO, other laws that require safe post-abortion care are: the Republic Act (RA) 9710, the RA 10354, the RA 8344, and the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Under the Department of Health Administrative Order on the Prevention and Management of Abortion Complications (DOH AO No. 2016-0041)4, the following post-abortion care services are allowed in the Philippines:
The AO highly encourages MVA because it is less intrusive and painful, and there is less chance of complications.
Under the DOH AO No. 2016-0041, the following professionals are allowed to perform post-abortion care services:
These health care providers are allowed to conduct these services as long as they are trained and certified by government-approved institutions.
Although abortion services are not easily available in the Philippines, Filipino women have the option of visiting any of these neighboring countries for safe abortions:
Moreover, any woman who seeks post-abortion care may access help from public or private hospitals and health facilities in these countries.
Manual vacuum aspiration(MVA) and dilation and curettage (D&C procedures cost 11,000 Philippine pesos or around 211.53 US dollars. The service providers’ professional fees are 4,400 Philippine pesos, and the hospital charge is 6,600 Philippine pesos.
These services are covered and reimbursed by PhilHealth. For more information click here.
Misoprostol is registered in the Philippines for treatment of a range of medical conditions, but it is not easily available and where available for other indications, you need a prescription to access it.
Cytotec is a brand of abortion pills that contains Misoprostol only and can be used on its own for a medical abortion. For more comprehensive instructions on how to use the abortion pill, visit https://howtouseabortionpill.org/howto/.
Abortion pills are not sold legally in the Philippines. There are various reports of unapproved medical abortion pills on the market, which are being sold without a prescription. Please note that these unauthorized sellers do not always provide proper instructions on eligibility, dosage, and usage for medical abortion pills. Improper usage of abortion pills may contribute to an unsafe abortion and may endanger your health and life.
We recommend that anyone exploring the options of buying abortion pills online should visit trusted websites such as Women on Web and Women Help Women.
Please refer to the following page on our website for comprehensive instructions on how to use abortion pills: https://howtouseabortionpill.org/howto/
Although abortion pills are not available in the Philippines, this is what different brands of abortion pills available in neighboring countries look like:
A. This is how Cytotec, available in Vietnam looks like:
B. This is how Misoprostol abortion pills, available in China look like:
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