RH Bill would be a beneficial law to the country. It will further implement the population control of our country, strengthen the health of the people, specifically, the women, and educate the citizens, especially the teenagers, regarding sexuality, responsible family planning, maternal care and such.
Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, commonly known as Reproductive Health Bill, provides access to responsible family planning methods such as contraceptives, birth control pills, IUDs and other related family planning devices. It also strengthens the over-all health of the countrymen, especially women, with the widespread distribution of the said devices. Furthermore, it provides education concerning sexuality, population limitation and responsible parenthood. With the third and final reading of this bill, it had been recently passed into law last December 17, 2012. Thirteen senators and one-hundred thirty three congressmen voted in accordance to the said bill.
This law had always been a controversial issue in our county. Endless debates, divided into pros and antis, were disseminated among the region. Pros argued that nonstop births due to lack of education concerning sexual and reproductive health and family planning causes people to put their health and future at stake. In addition, they have deficient income which causes the family not to receive their basic needs which are education, food, shelter and full support for their futures. This overpopulation will in turn be a hindrance to the country’s progression. On the other side, continuous opposition of the antis, led by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, regarding immorality of the alleged law contradicts their religious beliefs. According to them, this law allows pre-marital sex before marriage with the prevention of pregnancy. This corrupts the morality of the soul of each individual, based on the Church’s teachings. However, the real issue does not reside in our personal interests and beliefs.
The future of our country and the next generation is being risked if we will put first into account our religious principles. We need action. Our country has already suffered and engulfed enough from poverty. This poverty can only be resolved with the control in population, education and assurance of the health of the citizens. Reproductive Health Bill will definitely be the answer to our country’s dilemma for years. Reproductive Health Law will be a practical solution for the country’s drawbacks to economic progress. How? First, population limitation will be instigated throughout the country. Currently, Philippines is ranked 12th as the most populated country in the world. Actually, our country is fortunate because it is surrounded with abundant water and land resources, just sufficient for our needs. However, with exponentially increasing population every year, the supply of these resources will keep on diminishing. If this continues, we will experience the never-ending cycle of poverty.
As I research, I found out that Thailand, one of our neighboring countries, had a population of 65.5 million while our country had 92.3 million. We had an estimated GDP per capita of $4,214, while Thailand’s GDP per capita is twofold of ours, $9,396. It may be concluded that population is also one of the factors that will affect the economic development of our country. The more the population is, the lesser the chances to prosper. Given that the highest population growth rate is among the poor because of lack of education about family spacing and insufficient income, it will be expected that the other children will not be provided with right education and other appropriate needs. With these, they will not contribute well in the labor force of our country. And if ever they were able to work, their mere involvement is not enough to acquire their needs. This law aims to achieve their desired fertility goals depending on their needs, principles and beliefs. With the right family size, parents can feed and support their children.
Also, with the use of the legally and medically safe contraceptives, birth control will be a tool to terminate overpopulation, which will eventually help our country to advance economically. In addition, by means of this law, proper maintenance of the over-all health of the citizens will also be upheld by the government. Government will support and promote reproductive health services, maternal care, particularly, for the women, and of course, responsible parenthood for the parents. Problems regarding reproductive health services were cited by Sen. Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate committees on health and demography and youth, women and children. Many poor mothers were having difficulty to avail contraceptives because local government units have passed laws forbidding the use of contraceptives. As stated by her, these were one of the reasons why these mothers are forced to send the child to relatives, giving up their children to a rich neighbor and leaving their child in a basket in front of the door of the church. This bill would be a great help especially to the poor because it provides access to “medically-safe, legal, affordable and quality” natural and modern family planning methods (sec. 2).
In addition, studies show that contraceptives lower the rates of abortion, infertility, complications during childbirth, unwanted pregnancy and prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases. Due to these, people will be productive and be a great contribution to the country’s economic progress. Lastly, education concerning sexuality, responsible family planning and other reproductive health issues will be included in the process. Before, the Philippine Catholic Bishops disagree to have sex education in schools. They said that it is the responsibility of the parents to educate their children about it. However, do parents really understand the concept of sex? Will it be effective to teach their children about it if sex is a taboo because of our conservative culture? If the parents were not knowledgeable enough about sex, it will lead to confusion and curiosity of the children. Naturally, parents will teach their children not to have sex before marriage, but due to our modern society, the children will be tempted to do it.
So, why not educate them beforehand in an effective way? This law, as stated in Sec. 12, will provide Reproductive Health Education in an age-appropriate manner taught by adequately trained teachers starting from Grade 5 up to Fourth Year High school. It will benefit the youth to have this education because the period of adolescence usually starts at the age of a 5th grader. Empirical studies conducted by the United Nations and other countries show that there are numerous benefits to the youth when Reproductive Health education would be part in their school curriculum. Proper sexual values would instill in the minds of the young which will lead to discipline and abstinence in having sexual intercourse. Several sexual partners will be avoided and eventually will prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Likewise, they will also be knowledgeable enough how to prevent early pregnancy. With the right learning and values, they will in turn be an asset for the welfare of the country.
“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,” Katya Matanovic said. Indeed, Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 will be an advantage to our country. It encourages population control, supports proper reproductive health care of the residents and provides education to the citizens, especially the youth, who will soon be the strength of our country someday. With the passing of this law, people should maximize the benefits given by this law. The problems involving serious population growth, deaths due to childbirth and pregnancy complications and deficit education regarding the true concept of sex will soon be solved by this law.
Courtney from Study Moose
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