“Doesn’t every woman deserve the right to have a safe pregnancy and a baby that’s born healthy? I believe this is a very basic human right.”
RH advocates at the House of Representatives with Congressman Edcel Lagman. In the photo are Carlos Celdran, Red Tani, Beth Angsioco, Joy Virata, Adrienne Vergara, my daughter and other RH advocates. Photo by Adrienne Vergara.
Lauren and I participated in wednesday’s pro-RH rally. Both my daughters are RH advocates too. We were at the rally to make sure there were no delays at the Committee on Appropriations before it went into Plenary where debates, pros and cons are heard, before coming to a vote.
The good news was that the RH Bill passed the committee and will soon be debated in the plenary. A lot of hurdles still face the bill. Your congressman may conveniently be absent and thus, make a quorum impossible. But for now, baby steps until it becomes a law. In the photo you can see our happy faces, full of hope that the RH Bill will become a law.
1. I believe Filipina women or their spouses should have the freedom to choose what is best for them and the family. (help couples/parents achieve their desired fertility size in the context of responsible parenthood;)
2. I believe that sustained information campaign be imparted on reproductive health rights, care, services and facilities coupled with universal access to all methods of family planning ranging from the natural to the modern which are medically safe and legally permissible.
With many of the RH Bill’s provisions sparking controversy and debate, only certain elements of reproductive health are emphasized by critics, such as the moral issue on contraceptives, while the rest are largely ignored. Some of these misconceptions are:
1. The RH Bill is anti-life Ã¢â‚¬â€œ It is, in fact, pro-quality life, because it will ensure that all births are planned and wanted by their parents. The bill is not against the birth of children and does not advocate that couples stop having children. Rather, it only aims to help them achieve their fertility goals Ã¢â‚¬â€œ to have the number and proper spacing of children that they desire.
2. The RH Bill is biased for modern methods Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Since it makes available all possible family planning methods Ã¢â‚¬â€œ including the natural family planning method preferred by the Catholic Church Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it actually ““democratizes” family planning.
3, The RH Bill legalizes abortion Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Abortion is illegal, criminal and punishable by law. There is absolutely no provision in the RH Bill about the legalization of abortion.
4. The RH Bill endorses abortifacients Ã¢â‚¬â€œ All contraceptive pills and intrauterine conceptive devices (IUDs) are not abortifacients and will not induce abortions. These are meant to suppress ovulation, which stops fertilization and the formation of a fetus.
5. Contraceptives kill – Medical risks connected with contraceptives are infinitely lower than the risks of an actual pregnancy. The risk of dying from maternal causes is 1 in 100. The risk of dying from IUDs is 1 in 10 million; vasectomy, 1 in 1 million; birth-control pills, 1 in 200,000; condoms, absolutely zero.
6. Sexuality Education will promote promiscuity Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Sex education promotes the correct sexual values. Studies on countries where sex education is part of the curriculum have found it beneficial in that it actually delays sexual relations and encourages abstinence before marriage. Multiple sex partners are also avoided, therefore the preventing the spreading of sexually-transmitted diseases.
7. The RH Bill will promote a contraceptive mentality Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Contraceptives will prevent unplanned pregnancies, but couples who want children will not stop just because contraceptives are widely available.
8. The RH Bill claims to be panacea to poverty Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Bill simply recognizes the correlation between a large population and poverty. Family planning and reproductive health will help reduce poverty.
9. The Bill will lead to a demographic winter Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Research has shown that a demographic winter is not possible in at least another 100 years.
10. The RH Bill is unconstitutional Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Bill has been accused of violating Art. II, Sec. 12 of the Philippine Constitution, when it fact it actually supports it. As required by that specific provision, the Bill offers resources that may help parents, particularly to the majority who regard discussing sex at home as taboo, educate their children about sexuality and reproductive health.
The CBCP pastoral letter is misrepresenting the Reproductive Health bill as promotive of abortion and of adolescent promiscuity. Risa Hontiveros in a letter to the CBCP says that “they have not only been intellectually dishonest and ignored the good faith of RH advocates, but also failed to proclaim the life-saving and values-formation character of this public health measure, which many of us in your own flock, in conscience, desire to be passed into law. ” When the the bill becomes a law, it brings many benefits.
- The passage of the RH Bill will mean a ““national, rights-based, comprehensive and integrated approach to reproductive health” for the Filipino nations.
- The RH Bill will help curb maternal mortality and morbidity.
- The RH Bill will give greater access to reproductive health information and services
- The RH Bill will ensure an adequate number of skilled health providers to assist births in every local government unit.
- Early pregnancies can be prevented through mandatory and age-appropriate reproductive health education from Grade 5-4th Year High School.
Indeed, the RH Bill is pro-life, pro-poor, pro-women, pro-youth, pro-informed choices. That’s the reason, my two daughters and I support the Reproductive Health Bill and participate in direct lobbying; monitoring developments in the Congress; holding or joining mobilizations; and writing about it like in this blog.