YES to RH Bill

I am pro- RH Bill.

This bill has been in the Philippines’ House of Representatives for more than a decade. And yet, it remain what it was years ago – a bill. Still subject for the legislator’s endless,redundant and often times just senseless arguments, questions and queries that has been repeatedly answered. Sometimes, I wonder how can this legislators just let this bill stay “dormant” when lives of their constituents are being at risk.

1. Reproductive Health Bill and Abortion

Many of those who are against the proposed legislation says it promotes abortion. I always find it ironic when people say this. It seems like many of them (including our legislators)have disregarded the Revised Penal Code wherein it is clearly stated that abortion is illegal in the Philippines. (see Articles 256, 258 and 259 of the Revised Penal Code) More so, Article II, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution clearly states that ” The State recognizes the sanctity of life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

It is clear on the above mentioned legal mandate that the state will have to fulfill its duties in protecting both the mother and the unborn child.

First, the Revised Penal Code clause on abortion. Yes, abortion is illegal in this country and it will remain that way even if there is Reproductive Health Care policy. What RH Bill seeks to address it to ensure that women suffering from post abortion complication is treated in health care facilities without bias and judgement. Many women have died from post abortion complications because health care facilities and providers are either not ready or/and not willing to help them. The Penal Code requires the imprisonment of the woman and those who help her in the abortion process, not those who treat post-abortion complications.

Secondly, Article II, Section 12 of the 1989 Philippine Constitution. It clearly states that the state shall EQUALLY PROTECT the life of the mother and the unborn child. Many of those who opposed the bill focuses only on the premise of the unborn child, disregarding the welfare of the mother. Often times, when a single pregnant woman avails of the pre-natal services in health facilities, she is meet by prejudice and biases of the healthcare providers. In far flung communities, they are not even able to avail of the services. For those couples seeking family planning services, many can’t avail due to the cost. This is what RH Bill seeks to address. It aims to provide capacity building investments to healthcare providers on how to treat their clients without prejudice and judgement and to ensure that health care services and facilities are accessible, affordable and discrimination free.

2. Reproductive Health Bill and Population Control

Many also opposed the bill, thinking that it would mean controlling the number of children a couple should have. This is entirely WRONG and MISLEADING. What the legislation does are the following – ensure that every couple can plan and decide when to have and how many children. It never imposes on the number of children and nor there will be sanctions. The legislation also wants to ensure that there is equality and equity in the distribution of available resources. We can never control the population. What we can do is properly manage our resources to ensure that everyone gets a fair share of it.

More posts about the Reproductive Health coming up. For now, this is it. Watch out for my post about RH Bill and Faith.


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