RH research findings distorted

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In his letter “Breathtaking infatuation for the RH Bill,” (Inquirer, 6/9/11), Raul Nidoy argues against the proposed law, falsely claiming that scientific evidence—including research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute—supports his position. What he actually does is distort the evidence to support his personal views.

First, the Guttmacher Institute, a highly regarded independent research organization, has found that the abortion rate in the Philippines would be reduced by 83 percent if all women who wanted to avoid pregnancy were able to access modern contraceptive methods and use them correctly and consistently.

Second, the birth control pill only serves to prevent a pregnancy; it does not terminate a pregnancy. It is blatantly false and against all scientific evidence to claim that the pill is an abortifacient.

Third, Nidoy misrepresents the findings of the Guttmacher study “Relationships Between Contraception and Abortion: A Review of the Evidence” by failing to mention that the study found that in cases where abortion and contraception rose simultaneously in a given country, it was because fertility desires were falling and contraceptive use was not increasing fast enough to meet the desire for smaller families. The study also found that once fertility rates stabilized, abortion rates fell as contraceptive use continued to increase.

Lastly, Nidoy ignores the wealth of evidence demonstrating that access to family planning services dramatically reduces unplanned pregnancy and, thereby, dramatically reduces abortion. Around the world, unplanned pregnancy and abortion rates tend to be low where effective contraceptive use is high, and vice versa. A recent Guttmacher Institute analysis, for example, shows that the two-thirds of US women who use contraception consistently and correctly account for only 5 percent of unintended pregnancies.

If the RH bill should be debated based on the facts, as Nidoy suggests, the evidence clearly points to the benefits of its passage. While Nidoy has a right to his views, distorting that evidence so as to deny Filipino women access to reproductive healthcare is not acceptable.

—SHARON CAMP,

president and CEO,

The Guttmacher Institute;

JESSICA MALTER,

senior communications associate,

Guttmacher Institute

125 Maiden Lane,

7/F New York, NY 10038

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