Fewer Women Use Contraceptives

Posted: December 21, 2007 in All and Sundry, commentary, feminisms, Musings
Tags: , , ,

MindaNews reports:

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/17 Dec) ā€“ Fewer married couples in Southwestern Mindanao (Region 12) have been using traditional and modern methods of contraceptives as a family planning strategy, a report from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) showed. The NSCB report, which was released Dec. 12, said the region’s contraceptive prevalence rate or the proportion of currently married women in the reproductive ages of 15-49 years reporting current use of any contraceptive method dropped to 50.3 percent in 2006 from the 51.9 percent recorded in 2005.read more

I wonder why between married heterosexual couples, it is always assumed that the woman should be using contraception. Most of the time, the burden is placed on her to practice a contraceptive method. Even reports commit such “gendering” (if there’s such a word). I agree that women and men alike should protect themselves from STDs and HIV through modern methods of contraception or through what some people call “artificial forms” like the condom, which is considered as the safest and most reliable. This does not exempt teenage couples. We all know how sexually active our teenagers are here in the Philippines and there’s no point in denying that claim because a lot of studies over the years still yield the same results.

However, I think that women and contraception are not mutually exclusive. Agencies should also look into men and their practice of contraception. By focusing on women all this time, we have unwittingly placed them in that limited space or assumption.

In Mindanao, contraception is a highly contested issue even when a few years back (2004?) the Moro community here declared a fatwa for Reproductive Health Rights . As far as I can recall, when I interviewed one of the religious leaders, he said that they are very open to educating their community about population control, contraceptive methods among other reproductive issues. I was impressed.

On the other hand, when I talked with one journalist/anthropoligist, he was very vehemently against reproductive rights and health education saying that it is used as a front to foster/teach population control among marginalized communities–an insidious attempt at exercising disciplining power over the powerless (as in Focault). Even as I argued that it is not just about population control, it is teaching women and men to have rights over their bodies, ie, reproductive health, he was still insistent on his point and was joined by (surprisingly) other activists and advocates like him.

What an irony indeed. Sometimes, those who are advocates often have a strong sense of propriety over those they are supposedly trying to “save.” I am amazed.

Don’t know if I sound logical here. But that’s my two cents worth of commentary.

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