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Reproductive Health Package

The Reproductive Health (RH) bill is controversial in the Philippines due to the strong objection from the Roman Catholic Church.  In a recent survey by Pulse Asia, it showed that 69% of Filipinos are in favour of it.  The claimed awareness regarding the bill was 80%.  With the amount of publicity it is getting, it is believable that many are aware of this intriguing bill.  As to the depth of awareness, is another question.  Hence, to a certain extent, I must say that the result demonstrate the reality- most Filipinos tend to favour the bill based on how much they are aware of. This is obvious because the bill had been described to provide better healthcare for women and manage population growth.  Generally, no one would disagree with these ideas.

So what’s the fuzz about?

More than just a law, reproductive health is a euphemism used globally to refer to a package of healthcare bill related to reproduction. It was officially defined in the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) in 1994 as: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and…not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and its functions and processes. Reproductive health therefore implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability
to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this last condition are the right of men and women to be informed [about] and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of birth control which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health-care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.” It also emphasized that this does not include the promotion of abortion as a method of family planning.  While this was perhaps emphasized due to pressure from pro-life lobbyists, an article in vidahumana.org observed that “all that has happened since then was the progressive interpretation of reproductive health’ so as to include abortion in it via old and safe abortion argument.” Hillary Clinton, one popular advocate was quoted defining this: “…if we’re talking about maternal health, you cannot have maternal health without reproductive health.  And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.” (http://reproductiverights.org/en/feature/clinton-to-canada-abortion-access-must-be-included-in-g8-initiative)

The RH Bill is intended to provide access through government funding as well as those from agencies such as International Planned Parenthood Federation, a pro-choice organization advocating access to contraception and safe abortion services.

Deny it or not, reproductive health is a package.  No matter how clear in Philippine constitution the protection of the unborn is- the proponents of reproductive health clearly has its own agenda- to promote contraception and then abortion. If not in practice, at least in principle for now.

Currently, even attempts to change the bill name is on the way if only to change this connotation. It may sound like a matter of semantics to define RH than understand the spirit of the program.  But this is exactly the point.  The “spirit” from which the program was built was to promote the reproductive health agenda. No, this bill will not lead to legalization of abortion for now. It is bound to create the reproductive health culture.   This may even be worse.

With this premise to begin with, I oppose the RH bill.

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Categories: Advocacies
  1. Rey
    March 20, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Just want to let you know that I haven’t done any research on this and what I’m just commenting on is what is in this article. It seems that the objectives of the program is unclear. Initially, I thought that this would serve as a means for a family to ensure adequate health from the start of pregnancy to the birth and even through the early years of a child through, not only advisory means but financial options as well. Then, I noticed a similarity to family planning programs elsewhere. Whatever the real goal of the program is, it should be stated in black and white, it should be laid out, socialized, discussed, so that it could be understood by the public clearly.

  2. March 20, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Thanks for the comment. Well, the objectives of the law seems clear enough but the means to achieve it is not. I think this link can help you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reproductive_Health_Bill_(Philippines)

    “Reproductive health” is a standard term so it is similar elsewhere adhering to the same principles.

  3. April 9, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I am a catholic but I’m in favor of the RH Bill because I think that’s the only way the government can address the growing problem in poverty.

  4. January 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Many thanks for sharing to us, I would love this blog, and bookmark now.

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