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    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during his fourth State of the Nation Address at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines July 22, 2019

    ‘I Hope You Freeze in Time’: Philippines’ Duterte Slams Iceland in Furious Rant on Abortion Policies

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    Iceland’s government is not known to have criticised Duterte’s abortion policies, but it has recently championed an international initiative calling for an investigation into his three-year-old war on drugs.

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lampooned Iceland's abortion laws in yet another one of his rants against the small Nordic nation after it pushed for a United Nations probe into alleged human rights violations in the Philippines.

    Discussing family planning at an event with local farmers on Tuesday, Duterte said he supported contraception but not abortion. "Abortion is out. I will not allow it," he told agrarians, as quoted by Rapler.

    He then turned his anger on Iceland, which allowed abortion within the first 16 weeks of pregnancy in 1975.

    "Iceland allows the slaughter of the fetus inside the womb of the mother up to 6 months. Putang ina nila (Son of a b**ch)," Duterte said.

    He added: "Iceland doesn't eat anything except for ice. The whites really have no shame, and yet they teach me what to do."

    "I'm so sorry for you that you are in the ice forever. I hope you freeze in time."

    Why is the Abortion Issue on the Agenda?

    The Pacific nation of 108 million is facing a high population growth rate of around 1.6 per cent, according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

    Much of this growth is due to an alarming teenage pregnancy rate, which stood at 8.7 per cent in 2017 – one of the highest in the region. Nine per cent of females between 15 and 19 gave birth that year, and the trend is most common among poor and uneducated women.

    A government report said last month that about 500 teenage girls become mothers every day while just under 200,000 girls get pregnant every year.

    Last week, Ernesto Pernia asked Duterte to issue an executive order declaring a "national social emergency" over the teenage pregnancies.

    The government has launched a national programme on population and family planning this year, which includes social protection programmes for teenage mothers, promotion of contraceptives, and raising awareness of sexual and reproductive health.

    What's Behind the Iceland-Philippines Row?

    Duterte began lambasting Iceland's government last month after it spearheaded a United Nations resolution calling for a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in the Philippines and an investigation into the drug war-related killings.

    The Human Rights Council adopted Iceland's resolution, prompting a fierce rebuke from Philippine authorities.

    A spokesman for Duterte said the resolution was meant to "embarrass" Manila and a Philippine senator stated that Reykjavik has "no moral grounds to lecture" them, while the president said he was considering cutting diplomatic ties with Iceland.

    After becoming president in 2016, Duterte delivered on his pledge to launch a crackdown on drug trafficking and drug dealers. The official death count in his drug war has exceeded 6,600, with the president admitting in June that he has no control over the drug problem.

    The drug war has drawn international criticism; human rights campaigners claim there have been some 27,000 drug-related killings (an estimate the government rejects) and accuse Philippine police of carrying out extrajudicial executions.

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