“Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha” star Kim Seon-ho was recently embroiled in a scandal when an ex girlfriend anonymously claimed that he gaslit her during the relationship and even forced her to get an abortion. Though the claims did not mention him by name, he was quickly linked to the allegations. He made a public apology yesterday, stating that “I hurt her due to my carelessness and inconsiderate actions.”
These are very serious allegations, and unfortunately hit too close to home for many. Far too many people have experienced somebody trying to dictate what to do with their pregnant bodies, whether on an individual level (a boyfriend forcing them to get an aborton) or on a more macro level (politicians criminalizing abortions). It should be your choice—and only yours.
It’s an even more fraught situation here. With abortions being illegal, many people, poor and underprivileged women especially, resort to shady, backdoor abortifacents, abortion services, or induce it themselves. And if complications arise from that, they still have an uphill battle to climb.
“Filipino women who seek treatment for complications from unsafe abortion have repeatedly reported that the stigma around abortion means that healthcare workers are unwilling to provide care or only treat women after ‘punishing’ those who have undergone abortions by threatening to report them to the police, harassing women verbally and physically, or delaying care,” notes the Center for Reproductive Rights.
A New York Times article also states, “Some hospitals refuse to treat women for abortion-related illnesses like profuse bleeding because, as one health official put it, ‘they look at these women as sinners.’ In a few instances, according to women’s groups, doctors have performed postabortion dilation and curettage without anesthesia as a punishment for these women.”
About 1,000 Filipinas die each year due to abortion-related complications, according to Guttmacher Institute.
And even with all that, that doesn’t stop people from forcing their partners into getting one. Other times, while their partners don’t necessarily force them to get an abortion, their partners are unsupportive or threaten to leave them.
Of course, the opposite is also true—many women are also forced by their partners into keeping their pregnancy no matter what they want.
At all turns, women are forced into a corner.
And it’s already a situation that’s frightening to be in. When I was a student, I’ve had to hold friends shaking in fear in a public bathroom stall while taking pregnancy tests. I’ve also done the same.
Abortion is a human right, the youth-led initiative Amarela told us last year. We should have autonomy over our own bodies, and have the right to choose—or not choose—to get one.