DOI: 10.1027/2157-3891/a000099 ISSN: 2157-3883

“We Feel Sad for the Baby Because the Mother Is Bad” – A Positioning Analysis of Filipino Ob-Gyns on Women Who Have Undergone Abortion

Mara Teresina D. Lee, Raphael F. Canalita, Janelle Angelica A. Tong, Ma. Elizabeth J. Macapagal
  • Applied Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Abstract: The criminalization of abortion has limited the access of women who seek to undergo abortion, resulting in women seeking unsafe means to acquire abortions. As experts on women’s reproductive health, obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) have the ability to influence the trajectory of abortion in the Philippines. Our research aimed to discover how Filipino ob-gyns position women who have undergone abortion, how they position themselves in relation to these women, and the rights and duties they ascribe to both themselves and these women. We conducted one-on-one in-depth, semistructured interviews with seven ob-gyns who are currently practicing across different institutions in Metro Manila. The analysis revealed reflexive and interactive positions, along with respective rights and duties of ob-gyns on women who have undergone abortion. The ob-gyns viewed themselves as protectors of religion, informed, moral enforcers, and sympathetic, while women who have undergone abortion were seen as religious transgressors, misinformed, having loose consciences, and selfish. These results imply that, should abortion be decriminalized, ob-gyns in the Philippines may still conscientiously object to performing the procedure for moral and religious reasons.

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