Filipina Women Rank High in Danish Abortion Statistics

The desire to marry a Danish man can have dramatic consequences for Filipina au pairs in Denmark. These women are overrepresented in the statistics of late abortions in Denmark.

A lot of au pairs dream of permanent residency in Denmark and one of the ways to obtain this is by marrying a Danish man. A new study by Avisen.dk and Ugebrevet A4 shows this.

However, some Filipina au pairs wrongly believe that sleeping with a Danish man means that he wants to marry her.

“They come from a culture where the norm is that if they sleep with someone, they have found a husband who wants to provide for them,” says Hans Henrik Lund, who is the leader of the Churches’ Integration Services (KIT).

Feel forced to abort
The organization has contact with most of the Filipina au pairs in Denmark – including many who want to know where they can get an abortion.

If they get pregnant when they are still unmarried, they feel that they have no other choice than to get an abortion. If not, they can be deported and risk a life without any stability in the Philippines.

”The women cannot understand the idea that the man doesn’t want anything to do with them – or the baby,” Hans Henrik Lund says.

Three late abortions in June
The Filipina women often have late abortions – that is when the fetus is aborted after the 12th week of pregnancy, which is normally the limit in Denmark.

The latest numbers from the Abortion Council in the area around Copenhagen show that one out of 20 women who had a late abortion was from the Philippines.

In June alone, the Abortion Council approved of three late abortions for Filipina women. This is approximately 10 percent of the 30 approvals that were given that month.

Deported to insecurity
Social worker Mette Lise Petersen from the Abortion Council in Copenhagen is the one who talks to the women who apply for late abortions.

”There is a group of young Filipina women who have very little knowledge of birth control. They hide their pregnancies from their host families because they know that if they have a baby, their contacts will be cancelled, and then their visa will be withdrawn, which then leads to deportation and returning to an unstable existence,” she says.

She says that it is difficult for the women to hide their pregnancies and when they have the appointment to have the abortion done, it is also hard to explain why they are unable to work for those 24 hours that they are in hospital.

Ashamed
”They are often shy and religious women, who are very unhappy and afraid of being sent home where the surroundings won’t look at them as decent girls anymore. They are embarrassed about their pregnancies,” Mette Lise Petersen says.

The pregnant Filipina women she has spoken to have very poor social conditions. They have a poor financial situation, a small social network, and they do not have their own place to live – if they give birth, they will be deported. That is why they are approved to get late abortions.

”The family in the home country can’t know about the pregnancy either. Sexuality is a tabu for them and it is difficult for them to talk about it. Often they have been too afraid to tell anyone else about their situation,” Mette Lise Petersen explains.

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