Intersectional discourses of reproductive agency in the Philippines: A mixed methods analysis of classed constructions of pregnancy resolution

Joshua Uyheng
Juleini Vivien Nicdao, Ateneo de Manila University
Caroline Leanne Carmona
Nico A. Canoy, Ateneo de Manila University


Women negotiate gendered discourses of reproductive agency in resolving unplanned pregnancies. Invoking an intersectional lens, this paper examines how these discursive dynamics differentiate across social class in the Global South context of the Philippines. Utilizing a novel mixed methods strategy, we triangulate quantitative findings from a Q sort task and qualitative accounts of pregnancy resolution to identify classed discourses of reproductive agency as (a) reclaiming maternal virtue and (b) asserting autonomous choice. Statistical analysis reveals significant discursive divergence across class, wherein working-class women primarily adopt maternal virtue discourses while middle-class women disproportionately subscribe to autonomous choice. Interpretative analysis of women’s accounts complicates this bifurcated characterization by surfacing the diverse ways by which women negotiate both discourses in narratives of abortion and carrying to term. We discuss our contributions to the literature in terms of multilevel theoretical engagement with classed complexity in gendered issues like reproductive agency as well as innovating mixed methods in intersectional research. We conclude with reflections on advancing reproductive justice, especially in Global South societies like the Philippines.