Readers React: 1.8 million abandoned children: A cautionary tale from the Philippines on contraception access

Children play on a makeshift structure in the Manila North Cemetery in the Philippines.
(Jonathan Kaiman / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Kudos to The Times for covering the horror of the Philippines’ 1.8 million abandoned children, many of whom live in squalid and unsafe conditions, hoping one day to have the families they deserve. (“The Philippines has 1.8 million abandoned children. Here’s what keeps many from adoption,” May 28)

The article is right to focus on the country’s dismal adoption policies and a system that locks children away from the families that want them. But to find the cause of this crisis and not just wonder at the symptoms, we have to look further back, at the Philippines’ notorious failure to provide access to contraceptives and reproductive health services. How many women were forced to have children who did not want them?

Preventing abandoned children starts with providing access to family-planning services.

Carter Dillard, San Francisco


The writer is founder and president of the board directors of the population-control advocacy group Having Kids.


To the editor: The Roman Catholic Church and its opposition to birth control is a primary reason many children are abandoned in the severely overpopulated Philippines.

It was not until 2015 that a law was enacted by the Philippine government allowing public health facilities to offer free contraception to the poor. The Catholic Church strongly opposes this law.

In urging its poorest parishioners to avoid the birth control the law provides, the Philippines and its dominant Catholic institutions will continue to produce orphans.

Irene Oppenheim, West Hollywood

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