There are 6 bills pertaining to reproductive health and/or population management that have been filed for deliberation in both the House of Representatives and the Senate for the 15th Congress.
The most controversial of these bills is House Bill No. 96 authored by Rep. Edcel Lagman. House Bill No. 96, also known as the proposed “Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2010,” will cover the following areas:
* midwives of skilled attendance
* emergency obstetric care
* access to family planning
* maternal death review
* family planning supplies as essential medicines
* benefits for serious and life-threatening reproductive health conditions
* mobile health care service
* mandatory age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education
* responsibility of local family planning office and certificate of compliance
* capability building of barangay health workers
* ideal family size
* employers’ responsibilities
* multi-media campaign
* implementing mechanisms
* reporting requirements
* prohibited acts
The bill is controversial, as it is being opposed by concerned citizens, especially the pro-life, pro-family and pro-God groups, regardless of creed or religion. The Roman Catholic Church expresses its opposition against the bill on many counts, most especially the procurement and distribution of family planning supplies for the whole country, when the available evidence from peer reviewed medical journals supports the hypothesis that when ovulation and fertilization occur in women taking oral contraceptives (OCs) or using intrauterine devices (IUD), post-fertilization effects are operative on occasion to prevent clinically recognized pregnancy. Hormonal contraceptives and/or IUDs directly affect the endometrium. These effects have been presumed to render the endometrium relatively inhospitable to implantation or to the maintenance of the preembryo or embryo prior to clinically recognized pregnancy. These make pills and IUDS abortifacient.
Pro-life groups, and many professionals in the medical and nursing fields, believe that physicians and policy makers should understand and respect the beliefs of patients who consider human life to be present and valuable from the moment of fertilization. Patients should be made fully aware of this information so that they can consent to or refuse the use of artificial contraceptives.
However, the position of the Catholic Church and the pro-life groups does not mean that they espouse the attitude of “natalism” at all costs, as if the “number” of children, in itself, were the unmistakable sign of authentic christian matrimonial life.
The sexual act, properly exercised within marriage only, is ordained primarily to the propagation of life. If there are reasonable motives for spacing births, such as serious medical conditions in the mother, or extreme poverty, then the Catholic Church teaches that married couples may take advantage of the natural cycles of the reproductive system and use their marriage precisely those times that are infertile (natural family planning).
Other aspects of the bill being contested by concerned citizens include the classification of family planning supplies as essential medicines when their safety/toxicity profile and legal permissibility are questionable. At the same time, more importance should be given to the prevalent diseases, the top ten leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the Philippines, namely, infections such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. Financial resources allotted by foreign donors to assist the Philippine government programs could actually be better spent towards pursuing health programs targeting communicable diseases than purchasing artificial contraceptives.
Very pertinent to the debate about reproduction rights is the right to life. The Philippine Constitution says that the State “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. If artificial contraceptives are medically proven to induce abortion as one of their mechanisms of action, then procurement and distribution of such family planning supplies are unconstitutional and illegal.
The international aid environment has undergone considerable change in recent years. Internationally, principles of development cooperation. In some countries, civil society has achieved success in navigating the aid architecture and advocating effectively on behalf of sexual and reproductive health (SRH). In other countries, interacting and participating in key development processes has been more challenging due tolack of sufficient data or evidence to make a strong advocacy case, and weak understanding of terminology and processes, making access and influence difficult.
For the past two years, WHO has supported the AHEAD project (completed in January 2011) implemented through the German Foundation for World Population (DSW). DSW had provided financial and technical support to civil society organisations (CSO) for developing and implementing locally devised advocacy action plans to raise levels of government funding for SRH in three countries. The countries are Bangladesh, the Philippines and Uganda.
This report is a case study from the AHEAD project in Philippines. The case study begins by describing the socio political context in which the AHEAD project was implemented. The context covers three themes – an account of civil society movements, situation analysis of sexual and reproductive health and rights and background to the policy environment in the Philippines. The subsequent sections highlight findings from evaluation of the project including achievements from the implementation of the advocacy action plan, the challenges faced by AHEAD and finally the lessons learned.
The Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill) has drawn opposing opinions from different sectors of the society. There are people who propose and support the RH Bill and there are those who strongly oppose it. Some find themselves in a crossroads wherein they agree on certain components of the RH Bill but remain doubtful about the other parts. Moral, economic and political conflicts continue to rise between opposing sectors. The debate goes on and on. The primary goal of the RH Bill is to guarantee universal access to methods and information on birth control and maternal care. There are six bills sharing common goals. There seems to be a general agreement when it comes to maternal and child health care but conflicts have risen concerning the proposal that the private sector and Filipino taxpayers fund the nationwide distribution of family planning devices to help control the country’s population. Meanwhile, the government shall continue giving out information on their uses through health care centers. Issues and arguments
The Philippines has the fastest growing population in Southeast Asia. Studies have shown that most pregnancies in the Philippines, especially among the poor, are unplanned. Supporters of the RH bill claim that the increasing population of the country is something that cannot be ignored anymore. RH bill principal author Edcel Lagman said, “The Philippine population is growing at a much faster rate than can be sustained by the government or the country’s resources.”Lagman said that the Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia that does not have a national reproductive health bill. Based on studies made by the University of the Philippines (one example here), the country tops the fertility rate in Southeast Asia at 3.3 percent. Following are Malaysia at 2.5 percent and Vietnam at 2.1 percent.
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Topic: Rh Bill Case Study
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