In recent years, reproductive health services have improved considerably. Although influential catholic bishops were against it, the reproductive health law was approved in 2012. This law, backed by President Rodrigo Duterte, aims to improve health services for women, decrease maternal deaths and grant social advantages to vulnerable families and communities.
With a population growth of 1.6% a year, it is one of the fastest growing of the continent. The unmet need for contraception and the number of unplanned pregnancies is very high. In 2015, 18% of married women who wanted to avoid getting pregnant, did not have access to contraception. The country still faces a high maternal mortality and child death rate, mostly in impoverished communities.
During the study trip, the parliamentarians gained insights on how to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, despite opposition of catholic clerics. They spoke to policy makers, UN-organisations and visited urban and rural health centres. The EPF study trips envisage a broad parliamentary consensus on the importance of sexual and reproductive rights globally