Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Julye Bidmead

Second Advisor

Dr. Gordon A. Babst

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynn Horton


This dissertation centers the Philippines as a case study in which quantitative and qualitative data from empirical studies, science journal articles, social science texts, and interviews are cross-examined to ascertain two main areas of interest. The first incentive is to identify and analyze the Catholic Church’s resources in perpetuating moral male-dominant rhetoric that have delayed efforts supporting reproductive health intended to aid low-income women concerning their sexual and reproductive health. The second incentive is to detect how low-income women’s thoughts and behaviors in making reproductive decisions are resonant or not of the Church’s moral rectitude over SRH through their demonstrations of internalizing, subverting, or opening contesting its influence.

This thesis contends that while the Catholic Church has played a powerful role in influencing legislation that has limited access to SRH services intended for low-income women, low-income women’s demonstrations of varying levels of agency by internalizing, subverting, or challenging such restrictions suggests the waning importance of emulating Catholic ideals in reproductive decision-making. Analysis of results confirm that, for the most part, low-income women make reproductive-decisions with minimal regard for Catholic ideals or of legislative barriers through actions and attitudes demonstrating subversion and challenging of such ideals; however, the topic of abortion does reveal instances of internalization, especially in cases of multiple failed abortion attempts. Further analysis of male perceptions regarding reproductive decision-making largely reflect patriarchal values of Catholic Church, underscoring nationalist discourse of gender roles in relation to gender and class power dynamics.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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