CHR probes mandatory pregnancy tests in Baguio college, school stands by its policy

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

The CHR said students should not be denied of their rights simply because they are pregnant. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, Nobvember 7) — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it is currently investigating Pines City Colleges in Baguio City after reports of its policy requiring students to undergo mandatory pregnancy tests surfaced on social media. 

"As Gender Ombud, the Commission through its CAR office is investigating the case motu propio, according to the institution due process and verifying the existence of the policy," its statement on Tuesday said. 

The CHR said it is "alarmed" by the policy and cited the Magna Carta on Women, which states that expulsion and non-readmission of women faculty and students on the basis of pregnancy out of marriage is against the law.

"Women and girls should not be denied exercise and full enjoyment of basic rights, they should not suffer negative consequences in educational and work spaces, simply because they are pregnant," the CHR said. 

The policy also prohibits students from taking certain classes such as clinical and hospital dentistry, endodontics and other subjects that would "endanger both mother and child."

Twyla Rubin from the CHR Center for Gender Equality and Women's Rights added that they are currently in the process of reaching out to Pines City College to confirm and clarify the details of the policy in question due to conflicting reports. 

"Ito ay kailangang linawin muna kung una kung talagang nag-eexist 'tong pulisiyang ito, kanino nag-aapply 'yung polisiyang ito at ano ang basehan nila sa pag-iimpose sa polisiyang ito. Medical ba? at ito ba ay ginagawa sa lahat ng mga medical colleges as well? Kasi wala tayong nababalitaang ganitong mga practice na 'to," Rubin told CNN Philippines' Balitaan. 

[Translation: We need to clarify firstly why this policy exists and who does it apply to , and what is their basis to impose this policy. Is it medical? And does this policy apply to other colleges? Because we haven't received reports of other institutions implementing the same policy] 

 

The Philippine Commission on Women welcomed the CHR's move to investigate the case, adding that they will coordinate with the agency to address the situation. 

"We question the true intent of the school requirement in the context of the Magna Carta of Women," its statement said. 

However, Pines City Colleges stands by its policy despite the backlash. They maintained that their rule ensures the safety of their students. 

"Pines City Colleges abides by its policy of pregnancy tests for female students who are enrolling in any subject that would endanger both mother and child. It is a policy agreed to by our students upon their enrollment in this institution. We believe it is a policy protective of our students while they are in our care and are deployed to internship programs in hospitals and to clinical practice," its statement said. 

The school did not address criticisms of the policy supposedly requiring students to pay for their own tests. 

Women rights group Gabriela earlier slammed the policy, calling it discriminatory, violative of the law, and "[perpetuating] an old view and stigma that pregnancy is socially unacceptable and against the norm."

Netizens also decried the rule as sexist, urging for male students who impregnated their classmates to also be subjected to the policy.   

READ: Gabriela slams Baguio college for mandatory pregnancy test