The Philippines Might Get Access to Free Birth Control

Birth control pills (Salon)

Birth control pills (Salon)

Women in the Philippines might soon get access to free birth control.

The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order for women of the country to receive free birth control, as well as access to further reproductive health services.

The order implements the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Act of 2012, which promotes family planning with the support of the state. It was signed into law that year. The order took 13 years to be signed into law (so it was introduced in 1999…yikes).

It’s estimated that there are currently 6M women without birth control within the country, with 2M women classified as poor. There are 24 live births per every 1K people, giving the country the 66th highest birth rate in the world. Considering that abortion is illegal, the need for some form of birth control is high:

More than half of all pregnancies in the Philippines are unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and more than 90 percent of unintended pregnancies occurred in the absence of modern contraceptive methods.

Duterte’s goal is to completely eradicate any “unmet family planning needs” by 2018.

Geraldine Roman is the Philippines’ First Transgender Congresswoman

Filipina Congresswoman Geraldine Roman (CNN)

Filipina Congresswoman Geraldine Roman (CNN)

The Philippines made history earlier this month when the country’s congress elected its first transgender member.

Geraldine Roman won her seat with 62% of the vote, judging by reporting from 99% of districts, and she’ll represent the northern Bataan province’s first district.

Roman’s platform included banning any anti-LGBT discrimination and making gender changes legal.

This is a giant progressive step for a country in which divorce, abortion, and same-sex marriage are illegal. It’s also illegal for a transperson to change their name and sex. There have also not been any gay or lesbian politicians serving at the national level.

Google Trends: “Sex” vs. “Gay Sex”

Internet searches can reveal so much. I’m interested in finding what light they can shed on the world’s sexual mores and appetites.

I used Google Trends to compare “sex” and “gay sex” search terms against each other, using 2004-present as my timeframe. The long-term results are below, with “sex” in blue and “gay sex” in red:

Google Trends - Sex vs. Gay Sex

Google Trends – Sex vs. Gay Sex

As we can see, there are any more searches for “sex” than “gay sex.” As a function of the world’s LGBT population (estimated to be as high as 20%), this seems very low. One explanation is that the “sex” search encompasses the “gay sex” hits, whereas the “gay sex” results logically only contain the one specific category.

Now to break it down by region and city:

“Sex:” Region:

Google Trends terms countries as regions, and shows the top 10 countries. South Asia makes a strong showing, with Sri Lanka (100%) and India (85%) grabbing the top two spots. Southeast Asian countries Vietnam (67%) and Cambodia (64%) also appeared as well.

'Sex' Regional Breakout

‘Sex’ Regional Breakout

“Sex:” City:

India dominates this category, taking 9 spots in the top 10. The only non-Indian cities are Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, which clocks in at #6.

The strong showing in India speaks to its population, now estimated to be around 1.27 billion. So it makes sense that it’s overwhelming the data set due to sheer quantity.

'Sex' City Breakout

‘Sex’ City Breakout


“Gay Sex:” Region:

Cambodia takes the top spot here, paving the way for other Southeast Asian countries: Laos (92%, #3) and Vietnam (77%, #4).

'Gay Sex' Regional Breakout

‘Gay Sex’ Regional Breakout

“Gay Sex:” City:

Ho Chi Minh City, capital of Vietnam, took the top spot here. Hanoi placed fourth with 43%.

The Philippines grabbed the second and third spots with Manila (69%) and Makati (58%).

Indian cities comprised #5-#9 of the top 10 spots, with Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur taking the last spot at 35%.

'Gay Sex' City Breakout

‘Gay Sex’ City Breakout


South and Southeast Asian countries are robustly represented with these searches. This could point to large populations leading to larger quantities of searches. There’s also the fact that many of these countries have culturally conservative sexual mores, so any interest piqued gets some play online.


Stay tuned for more! Any specific trends you’d like to see? Let me know!