This morning, I was reading a daily and I came across a UNICEF report warning the Philippine government that maternal deaths continue to rise with some 230 women dying here for every 100,000 live births, as compared with 110 in Thailand, 62 in Malaysia and 14 in Singapore.

The news story has it that UNICEF representative Vanessa Tobin is reportedly puzzled why despite the health services available, many women still choose to deliver without the presence of an experienced health worker. I think the Ms. Tobin misses the point. Most Filipino mothers never have a choice. If she had looked outside Manila, she will understand.

Here in Mindanao, where most of poorest provinces are found, women do not have access to quality health services, especially to reproductive services including family planning. A family planning survey shows that particularly in Mindanao, only 24% of births are supervised.

Not only mothers are dying every day because the government does not prioritize the provision of health and reproductive services. Mothers are dying because the Catholic Church continues to bully the government and its Catholic members into taking a stand against passing the reproductive health bill. That is why the reproductive health bill is still languishing from inaction because no politician would dare touch it with a 10-foot pole. No, not when election is just around the corner.

Not only is the bullying taking place at the policy level. It is happening at the ground level as well.

While I was working in a women’s health program, several years ago, we came across a news about a Catholic priest in a small town near our city, who insisted that all Catholic women under his parish should have their IUD removed or else they will not received any holy communion. Mothers frightened by such threat reportedly agreed resulting in more babies born in that place sometime afterward.

A few months ago, our city mayor made news when he threatened to throw to the river all the pills and other contraceptives because he will only allow natural family planning method. It angered me to think of his presumptuous action to decide what family planning method should be made available to us women!

I wonder how ordinary women feel about their power to choose is being taken away from them by these men in the pulpit and men in power? My helper is a young widow who had her 4th child as a result of her relationship with a man who disappeared right after he got her pregnant.Now she is saddled with an additional child while trying to make both ends meet as a single parent. I wonder if she ever dream that is possible to enjoy a relationship with a man without having to worry about getting pregnant?

When will the women stand up and take what is primarily ours to decide? When will the state listen to our voice as women and for once respect our choice?

Meanwhile, Filipino mothers continue to die.

Comment on this Post


I feel it is extremely wrong for any church to deny someone what is equivalent to God's Grace unless they do what they say. That, to me, is just plain wrong.

Our only hope is for Christian woman to put pressure on the Churches to stop this spreading of fear and suppression! I mean, even if a woman believes her place is working as a slave in the home that is her choice and valid for her only and should not be forced onto every other Christian woman. But freedom of choice leads to a woman believing that she is an actual person and the Church seems very against that idea in general. It seems that unless she is willing to give up her will and become a mindless sheep then she is not truly a Christian woman.

I was raised as a Russian Orthodox Christian so do know the beauty of it, I am not against God/Jesus at all. It is very sad that this will continue to happen until Christian men and woman speak up and say it is wrong. I can speak about it but they will not listen to me at all so it must come from the Christian woman and their men too. How much suffering will you allow to continue in the world before you act as Jesus would want you to!

Woman, purely as woman, also need to find their voices so I am so glad that we are all discovering ours here on Pulsewire and it is growing continually too. I love seeing new people joining each week/month. Where it is not against any group but just plain 'badness' that we want to change into goodness and no matter the religion or personal beliefs since we are all people together in this world. It is a beautiful feeling!

Thank you ma.chona lasaca for posting this, awareness of what is happening in the world is the first step to changing things.

hugs and prayers for the Philippine woman,


Thank you for this post. How frustrating it is to read of these priests imposing measures on women's health and reproductive rights. To me, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with God, and all about the political power that they wish to exert on others. This, to me, has nothing to do with my faith, or the faith of the women affected. The God that I love is all about the church showing these women love and getting a bill passed that will lower the maternal mortality rate, not perpetuate it. He is for justice, righteousness, love and giving of ourselves in love to others. I have a background working with women that are pregnant and supporting mothers in the postpartum period, so a piece of my heart lies so deeply with these women. After having my own children, I realized how many mothers are not advocated for and how many, even in the developed world, have so little rights, knowledge and power as they prepare for the birth of their children. I am not Catholic, but Maria, as you were commenting on the Christian women standing up against what these priests are doing- is that possible? from what I know of Catholicism, it just seems so out of the realm of what they are about sometimes for them to stop doing something as the women speak up. I know that it is not all like that (my in-laws are Catholic, but it doesn't mean I get it any better....) and that anything can possible as voices arise, and as you said the women stand up. Is there anything being done to combat the maternal mortality rate? Why don't the women seek medical help? Are there no midwives, or maybe not enough?? my prayers are with your country, and the women of your country that they may find their voice and arise. Darcey

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." — John Lennon

From what little I do know of it, I believe it is the woman who are the most devout with a powerful faith in God. Encouraging them to talk about this and develop a separation from God and a Church, any church is the first step I believe. They were probably raised with the idea that it was a sin to have any sort of thoughts against what the church is doing and once they realize how the church uses them as the base of their political power they can learn to wield the power for themselves.

I agree that more woman need to become interested in midwifery since it used to be the norm and we can make it so again. We are not just fighting an idea but powerful companies who make millions off of the industry and will fight against this idea becoming popular once again. There are several woman on here now who know about it and I think you are one of them so I really encourage you to write about it often! It is an idea we need to embrace and encourage and support.



I love the name PulseWire Lounge! Its connected to the World Pulse and the Lounge suggests a place where we can drop our guard and become ourselves--empowered women articulating our passions and advocacies and giving voices to issues that mainstream media does not take up.

Ma. Chona