Framing in Legislation: The Case of Population Policy in the Philippines

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This paper investigates the political framing of population in policy discourse through an analysis of legislative documents. Semantic network analysis was conducted and results were interpreted through discourse analysis of the typical arguments identified. Policy texts were classified into three sets: population management, reproductive health and family planning, and anti-abortion and anti-FP. While the “population management” frame focuses on social and economic consequences of population growth, the “reproductive health” frame defines the problem from a health perspective. Both policies propose aggressive FP programs but each frame uses distinct political rhetoric and semantic approach in its arguments. The “anti-abortion and anti-FP” frame identifies two problems: rise in incidence of abortion and existing policy that prohibit health professionals from refusing patients information on contraception. By invoking a moral argument and anchoring on rights, these policies challenge the problem and solutions identified by the first two frames.