The Philippines Abortion Law

Abortion is defined as any act or practice, whether done intentionally or unintentionally, that causes the premature exit of the products of conception (e.g., the fetus, fetal membrane, and placenta) from the uterus of a woman. Meanwhile, abortive acts refer to abortion practiced by the woman herself or by her parents; abortion practiced by a physician or midwife dispensing abortives; or any pharmacist who, without the proper prescription from a physician, dispenses abortives, as it is illegal in the Philippines and is penalized as a crime under the Revised Penal Code (Articles 256–259).  The majority of the citizens in the Philippines are Catholics, and the Catholic religion is firmly against abortion, whatever the circumstances.  Doing, participating in, or selling, dispensing, manufacturing, importing, or exporting any medication, instrument, or anything that would cause abortion is considered illegal. In other countries, abortion is legal, and in some countries, abortion is considered legal if it has a valid indication as stated in their respective countries.

In the Philippines, the unintended pregnancy rate declined by 33% between 1990–1994 and 2015–2019. During the same period, the abortion rate increased to 51%. The share of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion rose from 22% to 51%. Due to this, a revision of Articles 256, 257, 268, and 259 is being deliberated. According to House Bill 567, penalties against abortion should be modified and increased. The issue of penalties given is being deliberated because of the increase in abortion, and countless unborn babies have been or continue to be denied their precious lives through abortion. 

House Bill 567 aligns with Article II, Section 12

House Bill 567 aligns with Article II, Section 12, of the 1987 Constitution, which states that, as a matter of principle and state policy, the state "xxx shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception xxx." House Bill 567 is said to propose a statute that seeks to give life to the constitutional right of the unborn to protection, to recognize the unborn child's basic right to life, to the protection of his or her welfare, and against acts that place the unborn child in danger of being harmed, injured, or killed, bearing in mind that the unborn child is incapable of protecting itself. It also seeks to amend the Revised Penal Code by adding provisions or a clear and workable definition of abortion and abortifacients and classifying certain medicinal formulations of abortifacients as dangerous drugs, thus declaring them illegal and prohibiting their use, possession, manufacture, importation, trade, promotion, dispensing, and prescription of the same.

Section 4 of HB 567 provides:

"The corresponding penalties for the crimes of intentional and . unintentional abortion, abortion practiced by the woman herself or by her parents, abortion practiced by a physician or midwife, and dispensing abortions are hereby increased. For this purpose, Articles 256, 257, 258, and 259 of the Revised Penal Code are hereby amended to read as follows:" 
Article 256. Intentional abortion: Any person who intentionally causes an abortion shall suffer:

1. The penalty of (reclusion temporal) RECLUSION PERPETUA, if he shall use any violence upon the person of the pregnant woman;2. The penalty of (prison mayor) RECLUSION TEMPORAL is that,  without using violence, he shall act without the consent of the woman;3. The penalty of prison (correctional in its medium and maximum periods) MAYOR, if the woman shall have consented.

Article 257 states that penalties for an unintentional abortion must be a penalty of imprisonment (correccional) that, in its minimum and medium periods, shall be imposed upon any person who shall cause an abortion by violence but unintentionally.