Pro-life vs. pro-choice Filipinos react to abortion laws and ongoing debate

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — As more than a dozen states are restricting abortion, there are several states expanding abortion access such as Maine, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Nevada, and Illinois.

Last month, Democratic Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that protects a woman’s “fundamental right” to abortion. The Reproductive Rights act would require all private health insurance plans to cover elective abortions. It would eliminate abortion reporting requirements, as well as regulations requiring the investigation of maternal deaths due to abortion.

“As a lifelong advocate for women’s right to choose, when I became governor, I promised that Illinois would become a national leader in protecting women’s rights. And with the signing of the Reproductive Health Act, I’m keeping that promise!”

Despite Illinois being one of the most Democratic-leaning states in the nation, the Filipino community continues to be divided in the abortion debate.

Fil-Am Angelita Yusi, who was born and raised Catholic, advocates for the practice of abstinence.

“You can never know if your control pills are working. Just to be sure, stay away, wait until you’re in the right age.”

Cesar Conde, on the other hand, feels that women should have full control over their reproductive health.

“A woman’s body is her decision. It is not a man’s decision, it should not be legislated, and the power lies within her. We need to exercise that power and her rights.”

Earlier this month, Maine’s Democratic Governor Janet Mills signed into law a bill that expands abortion access by allowing, not only doctors, but nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform the procedure as well.

Last week, New York City officials made an announcement that there is a $250,000 budget for low-income patients to get an abortion.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey shows that the abortion rate moved to a historic low between 2006 and 2015. There were 200,000 fewer abortions in 2015 than in 2006, a 24% decrease between those years.

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