Filipino artists, songwriters, storytellers, and safe abortion advocates came together to produce Pasya, a music album of original songs campaigning for the decriminalization of abortion in the Philippines, which was uploaded to the album’s website (https://pasya.decriminalizeabortion.ph/) on April 30.
The album showcases 12 original songs of various genres from local artists ranging from bluesy ballads, experimental soundscapes, to hip hop and pop.
Artists featured are band front-woman Bea Fabros of La Loba Negra, Tao of Sleep Kitchen, femcees Shnti and Muroami, and electronic sound artists BP Valenzuela and Teenage Granny.
Calix, rapper and producer of the 2019 controversial Kolateral album, takes on the role of musical director for Pasya.
The album also features a bonus track from Ymi Castel, a singer-songwriter and guitarist of The Flying Ipis.
The music album is the result of a unique arts-for-advocacy collaborative process between the storytellers (people with abortion experiences and who are willing to come forward with their stories) and songwriters. The process involved a workshop series on sharing stories, mental health, counseling, and solidarity building with educational discussions on the journey of decriminalizing abortion in the Philippines.
Lifting from abortion realities in the country with more than 600,000 abortions happening every year, and around three women dying every day due to complications from unsafe abortion, PINSAN publicly launched the proposed Decriminalization of Abortion bill last September 28, 2020. It was then submitted to Congress and various government agencies. The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) expressed aid in the legislative process once the Legislative Branch provides resolution to the proposal. The Department of Health (DOH) also expressed eagerness for further discussions regarding the proposed bill.
The campaign to decriminalize abortion is aimed at saving the lives of thousands of women, especially in the midst of the pandemic when women and girls face a disproportionate risk of violence and oppression. The campaign objects to the restrictive abortion law in the Philippines which violates women’s fundamental human rights, including the rights to life, health, nondiscrimination, privacy, and freedom from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
With Pasya, it is hoped to provide a strong signal and safe space to other storytellers who are suffering and silenced by stigma through song representation. It also celebrates the strength of people standing up to challenges against their rights to bodily autonomy.
Pasya is made possible through Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) in collaboration with Filipino Freethinkers (FF) and the Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN), and with support from Safe Abortion Action Fund (SAAF), and Abortion Conversation Projects (ACP).
The album builds on PINSAN’s ongoing Telling Truer Stories art anthology, an initiative that collects stories of abortion in the Philippines in various formats (visual art, poetry, essays, music, video narratives), that began in 2018. PINSAN has been championing for women’s reproductive rights and bodily autonomy since 2015.
The journey towards freedom of choice is long and hard, and the makers of Pasya are ready to provide this movement on the rise with an equally powerful soundtrack. Ultimately, this album aims to move the topic of abortion out of the stigmatized horror genre it’s been caged in for decades, and rather, showcases the different aspects of the abortion journey, from fear to triumph, through music that’s targeted for today’s youth.
Songs included in the Pasya album can be streamed for free on https://pasya.decriminalizeabortion.ph/ and soon on WGNRR’s Youtube Channel with lyrics available on Genius.com starting April 30.
For more updates, follow Pasya Music Album’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pasyamusicph. Stay informed and take part by visiting https://decriminalizeabortion.ph/ and http://change.org/decriminalizeabortionph.