Today the government officials especially in senate are having different opinion and ideas about REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL. Some of them are in favor because they think it’s the best solution in controlling the population, and some of them are not in favor because they think it’s just a waste of time and fund.
Government official who pursuing the RH Bill are having arguments and debates in favor and against implementing RH Bill.
WHAT IS REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL?
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL
The Reproductive Health Bill, informally known as the RH bill, are proposed laws in the Republic of the Philippines aiming to guarantee universal access to methods of contraception, abortion, fertility control, sexual education and maternal care.
There are presently two bills with the same intended goals:
* House bill #4244-An act providing a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and development and for other purposes. * Senate bill #2378- An act providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Population and Development.
While there is general agreement about its provisions on maternal and child health, there is great debate on its key proposal that the Philippine government and the private sectors will fund and undertake widespread distribution of family planning devices such as condoms, birth control pills (BCPs) and IUDs, as the government continues to disseminate information on their use through all health care centers.
The bill is highly divisive, with experts, academics, religious institutions and major political figures supporting and opposing it, often criticizing the government and each other in the process. Debates and rallies proposing and opposing the bills, with tens of thousands of opposition particularly those endorsed by the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church and various other conservative groups, have been happening nationwide.
On the main concerns of the bill, according to the Explanatory Note, is that the population of the Philippines makes it “the 12th most populous nation in the world today”, that the Filipino women’s fertility rate is that at the upper bracket of 206 countries. It states that studies and surveys “show that the Filipinos are responsive to having smaller-sized families thought free choices of family planning methods. It also refers to studies which “show that rapid population grow exacerbates poverty while poverty spawns rapid population growth.” And it so aims for improved quality of life through a “consistent and coherent national population policy.”
RH BILL HISTORY
According to the Senate Policy Brief titled Promoting Reproductive Health, the history of Reproductive health in the Philippines dates back to 1967 when leaders of 12 countries including the Philippine’s Ferdinand Marcos signed the declaration on Population. The Philippines agreed that the population problem be considered as the principal element for long-term economic development. Thus, the Population Commission was created to push for a lower family size norm and provide information and services to lower fertility rates. Starting 1967, the USAID started shouldering 80% of the total family planning commodities (contraceptives) of the country, which amounted to US$ 3 Million annually. In 1975, the United States adopted as its policy the National Security Study Memorandum 200.Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200).
The policy gives “paramount importance” to population control measures and the promotion of contraception among 1 populous country, including the Philippines to control rapid population growth which they deem to be inimical to the socio-political and economic growth of these countries and to the national interests of the United States, since the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad”, and these countries can produce destabilizing opposition forces against the United States. It recommends the US leadership to “influence national leaders” and that “improved world-wide support for population related efforts should be sought through increased emphasis on mass media and other population education and motivation programs by the U.N, USIA, and USAID.
Different presidents had different points of emphasis. President Marcos pushes for a systematic distribution of contraceptives all over the country, a policy that was called “coercive”, by its leading administrator. The Cory Aquino administration focused on giving couples the right to have the number of children they prefer, while the Ramos presidency shifted from population control to population management. Estrada used mixed methods of reducing fertility rates, while Arroyo focused on mainstreaming natural family planning while stating that contraceptives are openly sold in the country.
In 1989, the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) was established, “dedicated to the formulation of viable public policies requiring legislation on population management and socio-economic development.
In 2000, the Philippines signed the Millennium Declaration and committed to attain the MDG goals by 2015, including promoting gender and health. In 2003, USAID started its phase out of 33 yr. old program by which free contraceptives were given to the country. Aid recipients such as the Philippines faced the challenge to fund its own contraception program. In 2004, the Department of Health introduced the Philippines Contraceptive Self-Reliance Strategy, arranging for the replacement of these donations with domestically provided contraceptives.
In August 2010, the government announced a collaborative work with the USAID in implementing comprehensive marketing and communications strategy in favor of family called “May Plano Ako”.
PRO’S AND CONs to RH BILL
ANTI RH BILL
Manila, Philippines- Advocates against the passage of controversial Reproductive Health Bill are determined to fight the law in case the measure gets passed in Congress, the president of Pro-Life Philippines said Saturday at the Catholic’s Church prayer rally at the EDSA shrine.
“We fight the law in case it gets passed,” Eric Manalang, president of Pro-Life Philippines told philstar.com.
Despite rains, the rally by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines was attended by about 25,000 people including clerics, students and other anti-RH Bill advocates, Manalang said.
He added that participants in the prayer rally came from as far as Davao city, in a show of might against the measure which has been a subject of heated debates from opposing sides.
Manalang said clerics and the lay people in general have sustained interest in following the bill’s development in Congress.
The House of Representatives will vote on Tuesday whether the members will continue to debate on the proposed bill or proceed with amendments.
“We will not stop in our protests and in our prayers until the Reproductive Health Bill is junked,” he said.
Quoting Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Manalang said the RH Bill is not the answer to the government’s problem on lack of education, poverty and maternal deaths, among others.
“The government is paying attention to the wrong things, the bill is against our rights,” he said, adding that they are willing to take the issue to various avenues, including the courts, to stop the enhancement of the bill.
THE POSITIVE EFFECT OF RH BILL
* They provide couples and parents with an effective choice of being responsible parents by not having too many kids. * The RH Bill not only gives us a choice of which contraception is best for us. It prevents couples from having too many children whom they can’t feed well, too many children whom they will leave to die in malnutrition, too many children who will not have a proper education. * Using contraception is not a sin, but having too many children, let’s say 10 children and not being able to feed them and take care of them is more than a sin, it’s a violation of human rights and children rights. * This bill aims to protect the health and lives of mothers. * Respond to the majority who want smaller families.
* RH indicators show severe inequities between the rich and poor. For example, 94% of women in the richest quintile have a skilled attendant at birth compared to only 26% in the poorest. The richest have 3 times higher tubal ligation rates compared to the poorest. This equity gap in tubal ligation partly explains why the wealthy hardly exceed their planned number of children, while the poorest get an extra 2. Infant deaths among the poorest are almost 3 times compared to the richest, who partly explains why the poor plan for more children. An RH law will promote equity in health through stronger public health services accessible to poor families. * Prevent induced abortions.
* Reduce cancer deaths.
THE DISADVANTAGES OF RH BILL
(1) It is in favor of birth control measures, which are opposed by some groups on religious or ethical grounds.
(2) It mandates sex education, which some parents would prefer to keep out of grade schools.
(3) It requires education on contraception as a prerequisite to marriage, opposed by some religious groups. For instance, a Certificate of Compliance must be obtained by all marital couples. No marriage license shall be issued by the Local Civil Registrar unless the applicants present a Certificate of Compliance issued for free by the local Family Planning Office. The document should certify that they had duly received adequate instructions and information on family planning, responsible parenthood, breast feeding and infant nutrition.
(4) It mandates population control, or zero population growth, as a national policy or strategy of indoctrination. For example: “The State shall encourage two children as the Ideal Family Size.” However, this view is neither mandatory nor compulsory, and no punitive action may be imposed on couples having more than two children.
(5) It mandates that employers subsidize onerous reproductive health programs. To illustrate, “Employers shall provide free reproductive health services and commodities to workers, whether unionized or unorganized.”
PRO RH BILL
ARTICLE FROM ADMU, their views about RH BILL.
CATHOLICS CAN SUPPORT THE RH BILL IN GOOD CONSCIENCE
(Position paper on the Reproductive Health Bill by individual faculty* of the Ateneo de Manila University) (Note: The opinions expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of other faculty. Neither do they represent the official position of the Ateneo de Manila University nor the Society of Jesus.) We, individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University, call for the immediate passage of House Bill 5043 on “Reproductive Health and Population Development” (hereafter RH Bill) in Congress. After examining it in the light of Philippine social realities, and informed by our Christian faith, we have reached the conclusion that our country urgently needs a comprehensive and integrated policy on reproductive health and population development, as provided by the RH Bill. We also believe that the provisions of the bill adhere to core principles of Catholic social teaching: the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the human person, the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable, integral human development, human rights, and the primacy of conscience. A CALL OF CONSCIENCE: CATHOLICS IN SUPPORT OF THE RH BILL
After studying the provisions of House Bill 5043 in the light of the realities of Filipino women, poor families, and our youth, we, individual faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University, speaking for ourselves and not for the University, have come to conclude that the Philippines urgently needs a national policy on reproductive health and population development. We therefore strongly support the RH Bill’s immediate passage in Congress. We further believe that it is possible for Catholics like ourselves to support HB 5043 in good conscience, even as we recognize, with some anguish, that our view contradicts the position held by some of our fellow Catholics, including our bishops. We are aware that they have denounced it as “pro-abortion,” “anti-life,” “anti-women,” “anti-poor,” and “immoral.” However, our reason, informed by our faith, has led us to believe and say otherwise.
We assert that RH Bill is pro-life, pro-women, pro-poor, pro-youth, and pro-informed choice. By giving couples, and especially women, information on and access to “medically-safe, legal, affordable and quality” family planning methods (whether modern natural or modern artificial), the RH Bill seeks to avert unwanted, unplanned, and mistimed pregnancies, which are the root cause of induced abortions. In that sense, the bill is not only pro-life but also pro-women, because it helps them to plan the number and spacing of their children, so as not to experience frequent and closely-spaced pregnancies that take a toll on their health and wellbeing. Moreover, the RH Bill seeks to improve maternal and infant health by enjoining cities and municipalities to provide an adequate number of skilled birth attendants as well as hospitals rendering comprehensive emergency obstetric care.
HB 5043 is pro-poor because it makes contraceptives (including those requiring hospital services) more accessible and cheaper for Filipinos, especially for the poorest 20 percent, who have the highest unmet need for family planning (26.7%), and 2.5 children more than they desire and are able to feed, clothe, and send to school. The bill is also pro-youth; because it seeks to provide our young people the information and values they would need in taking care of their reproductive health, and in making responsible decisions regarding their sexuality, sexual behavior, and future family life. Furthermore, the RH Bill is pro-informed choice. In seeking to promote both modern natural and modern artificial methods of family planning (with “no bias for either”), HB 5043 recognizes that couples, especially women, have the right to choose the family planning method that they consider to be the safest and most effective for them, provided that these are legally permissible.
Although natural family planning (NFP), which the Catholic Church promotes, offers many benefits, it is important to realize that pursuing an NFP-only population policy will be a disservice, if not a grave injustice, to women and couples for whom NFP simply cannot work. We are thinking of women who find it impossible to predict their infertile periods; or couples who see each other on an irregular basis; or women who are trapped in abusive relationships with men who demand sex anytime they want it. Why is it morally wrong for such women and couples and even others not encompassed by the above situations to use a modern artificial family planning method that has been pronounced safe and non-abortifacient by health authorities, if their discernment of their particular situation has led them to conclude that such a method will enable them to fulfill the demands of marital love and responsible parenthood?
At his trial, Thomas More stressed the sacredness of conscience when he said: “[I]n things touching conscience, every true and good subject is more bound to have respect to his said conscience and to his soul than to any other thing in all the world besides.” Catholic social teachings similarly recognize the primacy of the well-formed conscience over wooden compliance to directives from political and religious authorities. Gaudium ET Spes (1965) tells us: “In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love well and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged” (no. 16).
We respect the consciences of our bishops when they promote natural family planning as the only moral means of contraception, in adherence to Humane Vitae (1968), which teaches that married couples who want to control and space births should “take advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system and engage in marital intercourse only during those times that are infertile” (no. 16). In turn, we ask our bishops to respect the one in three (35.6%) married Filipino women who, in their “most secret core and sanctuary” or conscience, have decided that their and their family’s interests would best be served by using a modern artificial means of contraception. Is it not possible that these women and their spouses were obeying their well-informed and well-formed consciences when they opted to use an artificial contraceptive? We therefore ask our bishops and fellow Catholics not to block the passage of HB 5043, which promotes women’s and couples’ access to the full range of safe, legal, and effective modern natural and modern artificial family planning methods, from which they can choose the one most suitable to their needs and personal and religious convictions.
To campaign against the bill is to deny our people, especially our women, many other benefits, such as maternal and child health and nutrition; promotion of breastfeeding; adolescent and youth health; reproductive health education; prevention and management of gynecological conditions; and provision of information and services addressing the reproductive health needs of marginalized sectors, among others. In pursuit of the common good, or the “sum total of social conditions which allow people… to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily” (Gaudium et Spes 1965, no. 26), we call on the Catholic Church to let the RH Bill pass in Congress, and to consider forging a principled collaboration with the government in the promotion of natural family planning which Humanae Vitae deems morally acceptable, and in the formation of consciences with emphasis on the value of responsible sex and parenthood.
To our fellow Catholics who, in good conscience, have come to conclude, as we have, that we need a reproductive health law: we ask you to declare your support for HB 5043. Finally, we call on our legislators in Congress and in the Senate to pass the RH Bill. Doing so upholds the constitutional right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions; honors our commitments to international covenants; and promotes the reproductive health and reproductive rights of Filipinos, especially of those who are most marginalized on this issue our women, poor families, and youth.
Out of our 100 respondents, 70% of them are in favor of the implementation of the said bill, 20% are not and the remaining 10% said that are government should just focus their attention on the major problems of the country instead of wasting money in this proposed bill.
Base in our research and understandings, our group support the implementation of Reproductive Health bill in our country, because we believe that it is the only way to control the over population that causes many crisis in our country. It can lessen the numbers of unwanted pregnancy that leads to abortion or killing of baby while still inside the mother’s womb. And it can prevent passing up HIV from one person to another because we all know that many teenagers nowadays do Pre-Marital sex. We believe that implementing the RH Bill will help the growth of our economy and lessen the major problem of unwanted pregnancy.
I am in favor of the Reproductive Health Bill/RH Bill, not because I don’t believe in God or I disobey His rules but let’s open our eyes on our countries status. As of now our country is growing and continues to grow. We are in number 65 out of 144 economies in the world. But, as you can see, we are still behind when regards to economic growth. I don’t believe those who say that over population is not a problem. Because, I do believe that overpopulation is a big, big problem. The Philippines is having a large population. And this large population is admittedly one of the main causes of our poverty since the government had difficulty in addressing the needs of its people. The population of the Philippines makes it “the 12th most populous nation in the world today”. RH Bill assures the availability and access to a full range of methods, techniques, supplies and services that contribute to reproductive and sexual health and well-being. With these, our number will become manageable and eventually, our country will be in progress. RH bill doesn’t promote abortion but it rather prevents abortion. The RH bill protects the life of the both the mother and the baby in her womb. Supporting the bill is more PRO-LIFE. Life begins at fertilization. Therefore, if there’s no fertilization, there’s no life. The use of artificial contraception is not taking away life because life has not yet started. I am PRO RH Bill simply because it disturbs me to see people in my age carrying babies. And what’s more disturbing is their situation. They don’t have the capacity to support these babies. I am also PRO RH Bill because it could prevent maternal deaths. RH Bill also provides quality life for a family. And there would also be a population management. The RH Bill promotes awareness and education, which are the initial steps in creating a well-founded society. One of the key components of this bill is the advocacy of family-planning for couples. This way, they can decide on the proper timing, spacing and number of their children, according to what their family can support. Managing population growth is not the sole solution to poverty but is a part of solution.
I’m PRO RH BILL because it is PRO-LIFE, it is PRO-DEVELOPMENT, and it is PRO-POOR.