Vice President Leni Robredo said she was in favor of same-sex unions as someone who's "very open about freedom of choice". However, she also said she was against the decriminalization of abortion, prompting calls from supporters for her to reconsider her stand on a key women's rights issue.
Robredo, a leading voice of women empowerment under the Duterte government, was responding to a set of crowdsourced questions that concern key issues especially popular among the youth.
“I have always been very open about freedom of choice – ‘yung pagbigay ng kalayaan para sa lahat na i-pursue ‘yung gusto nila basta hindi ito makakasama sa kapwa niya,” Robredo told Rappler on Friday, expressing her support for same-sex civil unions.
But for another choice-related matter, abortion, Robredo said she had always been against it. Local health services must be strengthened instead so women won't resort to such "extreme situations", she said.
“I have always been against abortion. Pero ‘yung sa akin, para hindi tayo humantong sa extreme situations, kailangan natin na i-strengthen ‘yung local health [services].”
Like same-sex unions and divorce, the right to terminate pregnancy does not exist in predominantly Catholic Philippines. It is even punishable by law under the 1930 Revised Penal Code.
Champions of reproductive health, especially women, all over the world believe abortion is basic healthcare, one that grants women the right to deal with their own bodies, such as in cases of high-risk pregnancies or simply unplanned ones that include rape-related pregnancies.
Robredo is being urged to reconsider her stance, with many arguing that decriminalizing abortion is in itself, a way of strengthening local health services.