Anti Abortion Law [RA 1035] - PH Trending

PH Trending

Latest Philippine news, trending stories about people, politics, sports, viral videos, technologies & more...

Breaking

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Anti Abortion Law [RA 1035]

WHETHER OR NOT, THE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10354 “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH”    VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS ON THE RIGHT TO THE LIFE OF THE UNBORN.

I. SUBJECT OF INQUIRY

            1. WHETHER OR NOT, THE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10354 “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH”             VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS ON THE RIGHT TO THE LIFE OF THE UNBORN.
The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10354), informally known as the Reproductive Health Law or RH Bill, is a law in the Philippines, which guarantees universal access to methods on contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care.
While there is general agreement about its provisions on maternal and child health, there is great debate on its mandate that the Philippine government and the private sector will fund and undertake widespread distribution of family planning devices such as condomsbirth control pills, and IUDs, as the government continues to disseminate information on their use through all health care centers.

SECTION 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as “The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012″.

SEC.2. Declaration of Policy. – The State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons including their right to equality and nondiscrimination of these rights, the right to sustainable human development, the right to health which includes reproductive health, the right to education and information, and the right to choose and make decisions for themselves in accordance with their religious convictions, ethics, cultural beliefs, and the demands of responsible parenthood.
Pursuant to the declaration of State policies under Section 12, Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it is the duty of the State to protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution and equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of women especially mothers in particular and of the people in general and instill health consciousness among them. The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society. The State shall likewise protect and advance the right of families in particular and the people in general to a balanced and healthful environment in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. The State also recognizes and guarantees the promotion and equal protection of the welfare and rights of children, the youth, and the unborn.
Moreover, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of gender equality, gender equity, women empowerment and dignity as a health and human rights concern and as a social responsibility. The advancement and protection of women’s human rights shall be central to the efforts of the State to address reproductive health care.
The State recognizes marriage as an inviolable social institution and the foundation of the family which in turn is the foundation of the nation. Pursuant thereto, the State shall defend:
(a) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood;
(b) The right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development;
(c) The right of the family to a family living wage and income; and
(d) The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs
The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically-safe, non-abortifacient, effective, legal, affordable, and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies which do not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and relevant information and education thereon according to the priority needs of women, children and other underprivileged sectors, giving preferential access to those identified through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) and other government measures of identifying marginalization, who shall be voluntary beneficiaries of reproductive health care, services and supplies for free.
The State shall eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights.
The State shall also promote openness to life; Provided, That parents bring forth to the world only those children whom they can raise in a truly humane way.
SEC. 3. Guiding Principles for Implementation. – This Act declares the following as guiding principles:
(a) The right to make free and informed decisions, which is central to the exercise of any right, shall not be subjected to any form of coercion and must be fully guaranteed by the State, like the right itself;
(b) Respect for protection and fulfillment of reproductive health and rights which seek to promote the rights and welfare of every person particularly couples, adult individuals, women and adolescents;
(c) Since human resource is among the principal assets of the country, effective and quality reproductive health care services must be given primacy to ensure maternal and child health, the health of the unborn, safe delivery and birth of healthy children, and sound replacement rate, in line with the State’s duty to promote the right to health, responsible parenthood, social justice and full human development;
(d) The provision of ethical and medically safe, legal, accessible, affordable, non-abortifacient, effective and quality reproductive health care services and supplies is essential in the promotion of people’s right to health, especially those of women, the poor, and the marginalized, and shall be incorporated as a component of basic health care;
(e) The State shall promote and provide information and access, without bias, to all methods of family planning, including effective natural and modern methods which have been proven medically safe, legal, non-abortifacient, and effective in accordance with scientific and evidence-based medical research standards such as those registered and approved by the FDA for the poor and marginalized as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization: Provided, That the State shall also provide funding support to promote modern natural methods of family planning, especially the Billings Ovulation Method, consistent with the needs of acceptors and their religious convictions;
(f) The State shall promote programs that: (1) enable individuals and couples to have the number of children they desire with due consideration to the health, particularly of women, and the resources available and affordable to them and in accordance with existing laws, public morals and their religious convictions: Provided, That no one shall be deprived, for economic reasons, of the rights to have children;
(2) achieve equitable allocation and utilization of resources; (3) ensure effective partnership among national government, local government units (LGUs) and the private sector in the design, implementation, coordination, integration, monitoring and evaluation of people-centered programs to enhance the quality of life and environmental protection; (4) conduct studies to analyze demographic trends including demographic dividends from sound population policies towards sustainable human development in keeping with the principles of gender equality, protection of mothers and children, born and unborn and the promotion and protection of women’s reproductive rights and health; and (5) conduct scientific studies to determine the safety and efficacy of alternative medicines and methods for reproductive health care development;
(g) The provision of reproductive health care, information and supplies giving priority to poor beneficiaries as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization must be the primary responsibility of the national government consistent with its obligation to respect, protect and promote the right to health and the right to life;
(h) The State shall respect individuals’ preferences and choice of family planning methods that are in accordance with their religious convictions and cultural beliefs, taking into consideration the State’s obligations under various human rights instruments;
(i) Active participation by nongovernment organizations (NGOs), women’s and people’s organizations, civil society, faith-based organizations, the religious sector and communities is crucial to ensure that reproductive health and population and development policies, plans, and programs will address the priority needs of women, the poor, and the marginalized;
(j) While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortive complications and all other complications arising from pregnancy, labor and delivery and related issues shall be treated and counseled in a humane, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner in accordance with law and medical ethics;
(k) Each family shall have the right to determine its ideal family size: Provided, however, That the State shall equip each parent with the necessary information on all aspects of family life, including reproductive health and responsible parenthood, in order to make that determination;
(l) There shall be no demographic or population targets and the mitigation, promotion and/or stabilization of the population growth rate is incidental to the advancement of reproductive health;
(m) Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population and development;
(n) The resources of the country must be made to serve the entire population, especially the poor, and allocations thereof must be adequate and effective: Provided, That the life of the unborn is protected;
(o) Development is a multi-faceted process that calls for the harmonization and integration of policies, plans, programs and projects that seek to uplift the quality of life of the people, more particularly the poor, the needy and the marginalized; and
(p) That a comprehensive reproductive health program addresses the needs of people throughout their life cycle.
SEC. 4. Definition of Terms. – For the purpose of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:
(a) Abortifacient refers to any drug or device that induces abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother’s womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother’s womb upon determination of the FDA.
(b) Adolescent refers to young people between the ages of ten (10) to nineteen (19) years who are in transition from childhood to adulthood.
(c) Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEMONC) refers to lifesaving services for emergency maternal and newborn conditions/complications being provided by a health facility or professional to include the following services: administration of parenteral oxytocic drugs, administration of dose of parenteral anticonvulsants, administration of parenteral antibiotics, administration of maternal steroids for preterm labor, performance of assisted vaginal deliveries, removal of retained placental products, and manual removal of retained placenta. It also includes neonatal interventions which include at the minimum: newborn resuscitation, provision of warmth, and referral, blood transfusion where possible.
(d) Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEMONC) refers to lifesaving services for emergency maternal and newborn conditions/complications as in Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care plus the provision of surgical delivery (caesarian section) and blood bank services, and other highly specialized obstetric interventions. It also includes emergency neonatal care which includes at the minimum: newborn resuscitation, treatment of neonatal sepsis infection, oxygen support, and antenatal administration of (maternal) steroids for threatened premature delivery.
(e) Family planning refers to a program which enables couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and to have access to a full range of safe, affordable, effective, non-abortifacient modem natural and artificial methods of planning pregnancy.
(f) Fetal and infant death review refers to a qualitative and in-depth study of the causes of fetal and infant death with the primary purpose of preventing future deaths through changes or additions to programs, plans and policies.
(g) Gender equality refers to the principle of equality between women and men and equal rights to enjoy conditions in realizing their full human potentials to contribute to, and benefit from, the results of development, with the State recognizing that all human beings are free and equal in dignity and rights. It entails equality in opportunities, in the allocation of resources or benefits, or in access to services in furtherance of the rights to health and sustainable human development among others, without discrimination.
(h) Gender equity refers to the policies, instruments, programs and actions that address the disadvantaged position of women in society by providing preferential treatment and affirmative action. It entails fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men, and often requires women-specific projects and programs to end existing inequalities. This concept recognizes that while reproductive health involves women and men, it is more critical for women’s health.
(i) Male responsibility refers to the involvement, commitment, accountability and responsibility of males in all areas of sexual health and reproductive health, as well as the care of reproductive health concerns specific to men.
(j) Maternal death review refers to a qualitative and in-depth study of the causes of maternal death with the primary purpose of preventing future deaths through changes or additions to programs, plans and policies.
(k) Maternal health refers to the health of a woman of reproductive age including, but not limited to, during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.
(l) Modern methods of family planning refers to safe, effective, non-abortifacient and legal methods, whether natural or artificial, that are registered with the FDA, to plan pregnancy.
(m) Natural family planning refers to a variety of methods used to plan or prevent pregnancy based on identifying the woman’s fertile days.
(n) Public health care service provider refers to: (1) public health care institution, which is duly licensed and accredited and devoted primarily to the maintenance and operation of facilities for health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease, injury, disability or deformity, or in need of obstetrical or other medical and nursing care; (2) public health care professional, who is a doctor of medicine, a nurse or a midwife; (3) public health worker engaged in the delivery of health care services; or (4) barangay health worker who has undergone training programs under any accredited government and NGO and who voluntarily renders primarily health care services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guideline’s promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH).
(o) Poor refers to members of households identified as poor through the NHTS-PR by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or any subsequent system used by the national government in identifying the poor.
(p) Reproductive Health (RH) refers to the 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 to its functions and processes. This implies that people are able to have a responsible, safe, consensual and satisfying sex life, that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. This further implies that women and men attain equal relationships in matters related to sexual relations and reproduction.
(q) Reproductive health care refers to the access to a full range of methods, facilities, services and supplies that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by addressing reproductive health-related problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive health care include the following:
(1) Family planning information and services which shall include as a first priority making women of reproductive age fully aware of their respective cycles to make them aware of when fertilization is highly probable, as well as highly improbable;
(2) Maternal, infant and child health and nutrition, including breastfeeding;
(3) Proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications;
(4) Adolescent and youth reproductive health guidance and counseling;
(5) Prevention, treatment and management of reproductive tract infections (RTIs), HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STIs);
(6) Elimination of violence against women and children and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence;
(7) Education and counseling on sexuality and reproductive health;
(8) Treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions and disorders;
(9) Male responsibility and involvement and men’s reproductive health;
(10) Prevention, treatment and management of infertility and sexual dysfunction;
(11) Reproductive health education for the adolescents; and
(12) Mental health aspect of reproductive health care.
(r) Reproductive health care program refers to the systematic and integrated provision of reproductive health care to all citizens prioritizing women, the poor, marginalized and those invulnerable or crisis situations.
(s) Reproductive health rights refers to the rights of individuals and couples, to decide freely and responsibly whether or not to have children; the number, spacing and timing of their children; to make other decisions concerning reproduction, free of discrimination, coercion and violence; to have the information and means to do so; and to attain the highest standard of sexual health and reproductive health: Provided, however, That reproductive health rights do not include abortion, and access to abortifacients.
(t) Reproductive health and sexuality education refers to a lifelong learning process of providing and acquiring complete, accurate and relevant age- and development-appropriate information and education on reproductive health and sexuality through life skills education and other approaches.
(u) Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) refers to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and other types of infections affecting the reproductive system.
(v) Responsible parenthood refers to the will and ability of a parent to respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children. It is likewise a shared responsibility between parents to determine and achieve the desired number of children, spacing and timing of their children according to their own family life aspirations, taking into account psychological preparedness, health status, sociocultural and economic concerns consistent with their religious convictions.
(w) Sexual health refers to a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free from coercion, discrimination and violence.
(x) Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) refers to any infection that may be acquired or passed on through sexual contact, use of IV, intravenous drug needles, childbirth and breastfeeding.
(y) Skilled birth attendance refers to childbirth managed by a skilled health professional including the enabling conditions of necessary equipment and support of a functioning health system, including transport and referral faculties for emergency obstetric care.
(z) Skilled health professional refers to a midwife, doctor or nurse, who has been educated and trained in the skills needed to manage normal and complicated pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complications in women and newborns.
(aa) Sustainable human development refers to bringing people, particularly the poor and vulnerable, to the center of development process, the central purpose of which is the creation of an enabling environment in which all can enjoy long, healthy and productive lives, done in the manner that promotes their rights and protects the life opportunities of future generations and the natural ecosystem on which all life depends.

SEC. 5. Hiring of Skilled Health Professionals for Maternal Health Care and Skilled Birth Attendance.– The LGUs shall endeavor to hire an adequate number of nurses, midwives and other skilled health professionals for maternal health care and skilled birth attendance to achieve an ideal skilled health professional-to-patient ratio taking into consideration DOH targets: Provided, That people in geographically isolated or highly populated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access to health care: Provided, further, That the national government shall provide additional and necessary funding and other necessary assistance for the effective implementation of this provision.
For the purposes of this Act, midwives and nurses shall be allowed to administer lifesaving drugs such as, but not limited to, oxytocin and magnesium sulfate, in accordance with the guidelines set by the DOH, under emergency conditions and when there are no physicians available:Provided, That they are properly trained and certified to administer these lifesaving drugs.

SEC. 6. Health Care Facilities. – Each LGU, upon its determination of the necessity based on well-supported data provided by its local health office shall endeavor to establish or upgrade hospitals and facilities with adequate and qualified personnel, equipment and supplies to be able to provide emergency obstetric and newborn care: Provided, That people in geographically isolated or highly populated and depressed areas shall have the same level of access and shall not be neglected by providing other means such as home visits or mobile health care clinics as needed:Provided, further, That the national government shall provide additional and necessary funding and other necessary assistance for the effective implementation of this provision.

SEC. 7. Access to Family Planning. – All accredited public health facilities shall provide a full range of modern family planning methods, which shall also include medical consultations, supplies and necessary and reasonable procedures for poor and marginalized couples having infertility issues who desire to have children: Provided, That family planning services shall likewise be extended by private health facilities to paying patients with the option to grant free care and services to indigents, except in the case of non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals owned and operated by a religious group, but they have the option to provide such full range of modern family planning methods: Provided, further, That these hospitals shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health facility which is conveniently accessible:Provided, finally, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in Republic Act No. 8344.
No person shall be denied information and access to family planning services, whether natural or artificial: Provided, That minors will not be allowed access to modern methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or guardian/s except when the minor is already a parent or has had a miscarriage.

SEC. 8. Maternal Death Review and Fetal and Infant Death Review. – All LGUs, national and local government hospitals, and other public health units shall conduct an annual Maternal Death Review and Fetal and Infant Death Review in accordance with the guidelines set by the DOH. Such review should result in an evidence-based programming and budgeting process that would contribute to the development of more responsive reproductive health services to promote women’s health and safe motherhood.

SEC. 9. The Philippine National Drug Formulary System and Family Planning Supplies. – The National Drug Formulary shall include hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies. The Philippine National Drug Formulary System (PNDFS) shall be observed in selecting drugs including family planning supplies that will be included or removed from the Essential Drugs List (EDL) in accordance with existing practice and in consultation with reputable medical associations in the Philippines. For the purpose of this Act, any product or supply included or to be included in the EDL must have a certification from the FDA that said product and supply is made available on the condition that it is not to be used as an abortifacient.
These products and supplies shall also be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national hospitals:Provided, further, That the foregoing offices shall not purchase or acquire by any means emergency contraceptive pills, postcoital pills, abortifacients that will be used for such purpose and their other forms or equivalent.

SEC. 10. Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies. – The DOH shall procure, distribute to LGUs and monitor the usage of family planning supplies for the whole country. The DOH shall coordinate with all appropriate local government bodies to plan and implement this procurement and distribution program. The supply and budget allotments shall be based on, among others, the current levels and projections of the following:
(a) Number of women of reproductive age and couples who want to space or limit their children;
(b) Contraceptive prevalence rate, by type of method used; and
(c) Cost of family planning supplies.
Provided, That LGUs may implement its own procurement, distribution and monitoring program consistent with the overall provisions of this Act and the guidelines of the DOH.

SEC. 11. Integration of Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Component in Anti-Poverty Programs. – A multidimensional approach shall be adopted in the implementation of policies and programs to fight poverty. Towards this end, the DOH shall implement programs prioritizing full access of poor and marginalized women as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization to reproductive health care, services, products and programs. The DOH shall provide such programs, technical support, including capacity building and monitoring.

SEC. 12. PhilHealth Benefits for Serious .and Life-Threatening Reproductive Health Conditions. – All serious and life-threatening reproductive health conditions such as HIV and AIDS, breast and reproductive tract cancers, and obstetric complications, and menopausal and post-menopausal-related conditions shall be given the maximum benefits, including the provision of Anti-Retroviral Medicines (ARVs), as provided in the guidelines set by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC).

SEC. 13. Mobile Health Care Service. – The national or the local government may provide each provincial, city, municipal and district hospital with a Mobile Health Care Service (MHCS) in the form of a van or other means of transportation appropriate to its terrain, taking into consideration the health care needs of each LGU. The MHCS shall deliver health care goods and services to its constituents, more particularly to the poor and needy, as well as disseminate knowledge and information on reproductive health. The MHCS shall be operated by skilled health providers and adequately equipped with a wide range of health care materials and information dissemination devices and equipment, the latter including, but not limited to, a television set for audio-visual presentations. All MHCS shall be operated by LGUs of provinces and highly urbanized cities.

SEC. 14. Age- and Development-Appropriate Reproductive Health Education. – The State shall provide age- and development-appropriate reproductive health education to adolescents which shall be taught by adequately trained teachers informal and nonformal educational system and integrated in relevant subjects such as, but not limited to, values formation; knowledge and skills in self-protection against discrimination; sexual abuse and violence against women and children and other forms of gender based violence and teen pregnancy; physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents; women’s rights and children’s rights; responsible teenage behavior; gender and development; and responsible parenthood: Provided, That flexibility in the formulation and adoption of appropriate course content, scope and methodology in each educational level or group shall be allowed only after consultations with parents-teachers-community associations, school officials and other interest groups. The Department of Education (DepED) shall formulate a curriculum which shall be used by public schools and may be adopted by private schools.

SEC. 15. Certificate of Compliance. – 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 certifying that they had duly received adequate instructions and information on responsible parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding and infant nutrition.

SEC. 16. Capacity Building of Barangay Health Workers (BHWs). – The DOH shall be responsible for disseminating information and providing training programs to the LGUs. The LGUs, with the technical assistance of the DOH, shall be responsible for the training of BHWs and other barangay volunteers on the promotion of reproductive health. The DOH shall provide the LGUs with medical supplies and equipment needed by BHWs to carry out their functions effectively: Provided, further, That the national government shall provide additional and necessary funding and other necessary assistance for the effective implementation of this provision including the possible provision of additional honoraria for BHWs.

SEC. 17. Pro Bono Services for Indigent Women. – Private and nongovernment reproductive healthcare service providers including, but not limited to, gynecologists and obstetricians, are encouraged to provide at least forty-eight (48) hours annually of reproductive health services, ranging from providing information and education to rendering medical services, free of charge to indigent and low-income patients as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization, especially to pregnant adolescents. The forty-eight (48) hours annual pro bono services shall be included as a prerequisite in the accreditation under the PhilHealth.

SEC. 18. Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). – The cities and municipalities shall endeavor that barriers to reproductive health services for PWDs are obliterated by the following:
(a) Providing physical access, and resolving transportation and proximity issues to clinics, hospitals and places where public health education is provided, contraceptives are sold or distributed or other places where reproductive health services are provided;
(b) Adapting examination tables and other laboratory procedures to the needs and conditions of PWDs;
(c) Increasing access to information and communication materials on sexual and reproductive health in braille, large print, simple language, sign language and pictures;
(d) Providing continuing education and inclusion of rights of PWDs among health care providers; and
(e) Undertaking activities to raise awareness and address misconceptions among the general public on the stigma and their lack of knowledge on the sexual and reproductive health needs and rights of PWDs.

SEC. 19. Duties and Responsibilities. – (a) Pursuant to the herein declared policy, the DOH shall serve as the lead agency for the implementation of this Act and shall integrate in their regular operations the following functions:
(1) Fully and efficiently implement the reproductive health care program;
(2) Ensure people’s access to medically safe, non-abortifacient, legal, quality and affordable reproductive health goods and services; and
(3) Perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes of this Act.
(b) The DOH, in coordination with the PHIC, as may be applicable, shall:
(1) Strengthen the capacities of health regulatory agencies to ensure safe, high quality, accessible and affordable reproductive health services and commodities with the concurrent strengthening and enforcement of regulatory mandates and mechanisms;
(2) Facilitate the involvement and participation of NGOs and the private sector in reproductive health care service delivery and in the production, distribution and delivery of quality reproductive health and family planning supplies and commodities to make them accessible and affordable to ordinary citizens;
(3) Engage the services, skills and proficiencies of experts in natural family planning who shall provide the necessary training for all BHWs;
(4) Supervise and provide assistance to LGUs in the delivery of reproductive health care services and in the purchase of family planning goods and supplies; and
(5) Furnish LGUs, through their respective local health offices, appropriate information and resources to keep the latter updated on current studies and researches relating to family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition.
(c) The FDA shall issue strict guidelines with respect to the use of contraceptives, taking into consideration the side effects or other harmful effects of their use.
(d) Corporate citizens shall exercise prudence in advertising its products or services through all forms of media, especially on matters relating to sexuality, further taking into consideration its influence on children and the youth.
SEC. 20. Public Awareness. – The DOH and the LGUs shall initiate and sustain a heightened nationwide multimedia-campaign to raise the level of public awareness on the protection and promotion of reproductive health and rights including, but not limited to, maternal health and nutrition, family planning and responsible parenthood information and services, adolescent and youth reproductive health, guidance and counseling and other elements of reproductive health care under Section 4(q).
Education and information materials to be developed and disseminated for this purpose shall be reviewed regularly to ensure their effectiveness and relevance.

SEC. 21. Reporting Requirements. – Before the end of April each year, the DOH shall submit to the President of the Philippines and Congress an annual consolidated report, which shall provide a definitive and comprehensive assessment of the implementation of its programs and those of other government agencies and instrumentalities and recommend priorities for executive and legislative actions. The report shall be printed and distributed to all national agencies, the LGUs, NGOs and private sector organizations involved in said programs.
The annual report shall evaluate the content, implementation, and impact of all policies related to reproductive health and family planning to ensure that such policies promote, protect and fulfill women’s reproductive health and rights.

SEC. 22. Congressional Oversight Committee on Reproductive Health Act. – There is hereby created a Congressional Oversight Committee (COC) composed of five (5) members each from the Senate and the House of Representatives. The members from the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker, respectively, with at least one (1) member representing the Minority.
The COC shall be headed by the respective Chairs of the Committee on Health and Demography of the Senate and the Committee on Population and Family Relations of the House of Representatives. The Secretariat of the COC shall come from the existing Secretariat personnel of the Senate and the House of Representatives committees concerned.
The COC shall monitor and ensure the effective implementation of this Act, recommend the necessary remedial legislation or administrative measures, and shall conduct a review of this Act every five (5) years from its effectivity. The COC shall perform such other duties and functions as may be necessary to attain the objectives of tins Act.

SEC. 23. Prohibited Acts. – The following acts are prohibited:
(a) Any health care service provider, whether public or private, who shall:
(1) Knowingly withhold information or restrict the dissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe, non-abortifacient and effective family planning methods;
(2) Refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of consent or authorization of the following persons in the following instances:
(i) Spousal consent in case of married persons: Provided, That in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail; and
(ii) Parental consent or that of the person exercising parental authority in the case of abused minors, where the parent or the person exercising parental authority is the respondent, accused or convicted perpetrator as certified by the proper prosecutorial office of the court. In the case of minors, the written consent of parents or legal guardian or, in their absence, persons exercising parental authority or next-of-kin shall be required only in elective surgical procedures and in no case shall consent be required in emergency or serious cases as defined in Republic Act No. 8344; and
(3) Refuse to extend quality health care services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, age, religious convictions, personal circumstances, or nature of work: Provided, That the conscientious objection of a health care service provider based on his/her ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected; however, the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible: Provided, further, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in Republic Act No. 8344, which penalizes the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency and serious cases;
(b) Any public officer, elected or appointed, specifically charged with the duty to implement the provisions hereof, who, personally or through a subordinate, prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning; or forces, coerces or induces any person to use such services; or refuses to allocate, approve or release any budget for reproductive health care services, or to support reproductive health programs; or shall do any act that hinders the full implementation of a reproductive health program as mandated by this Act;
(c) Any employer who shall suggest, require, unduly influence or cause any applicant for employment or an employee to submit himself/herself to sterilization, use any modern methods of family planning, or not use such methods as a condition for employment, continued employment, promotion or the provision of employment benefits. Further, pregnancy or the number of children shall not be a ground for non-hiring or termination from employment;
(d) Any person who shall falsify a Certificate of Compliance as required in Section 15 of this Act; and
(e) Any pharmaceutical company, whether domestic or multinational, or its agents or distributors, which directly or indirectly colludes with government officials, whether appointed or elected, in the distribution, procurement and/or sale by the national government and LGUs of modern family planning supplies, products and devices.

SEC. 24. Penalties. – Any violation of this Act or commission of the foregoing prohibited acts shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) to One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00), or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the competent court: Provided, That, if the offender is a public officer, elected or appointed, he/she shall also suffer the penalty of suspension not exceeding one (1) year or removal and forfeiture of retirement benefits depending on the gravity of the offense after due notice and hearing by the appropriate body or agency.
If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration. If the offender is a pharmaceutical company, its agent and/or distributor, their license or permit to operate or conduct business in the Philippines shall be perpetually revoked, and a fine triple the amount involved in the violation shall be imposed.

SEC. 25. Appropriations. – The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) for reproductive health and natural and artificial family planning and responsible parenthood under the DOH and other concerned agencies shall be allocated and utilized for the implementation of this Act. Such additional sums necessary to provide for the upgrading of faculties necessary to meet BEMONC and CEMONC standards; the training and deployment of skilled health providers; natural and artificial family planning commodity requirements as outlined in Section 10, and for other reproductive health and responsible parenthood services, shall be included in the subsequent years’ general appropriations. The Gender and Development (GAD) funds of LGUs and national agencies may be a source of funding for the implementation of this Act.

SEC. 26. Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). – Within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act, the DOH Secretary or his/her designated representative as Chairperson, the authorized representative/s of DepED, DSWD, Philippine Commission on Women, PHIC, Department of the Interior and Local Government, National Economic and Development Authority, League of Provinces, League of Cities, and League of Municipalities, together with NGOs, faith-based organizations, people’s, women’s and young people’s organizations, shall jointly promulgate the rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act. At least four (4) members of the IRR drafting committee, to be selected by the DOH Secretary, shall come from NGOs.

SEC. 27. Interpretation Clause. – This Act shall be liberally construed to ensure the provision, delivery and access to reproductive health care services, and to promote, protect and fulfill women’s reproductive health and rights.

SEC. 28. Separability Clause. – If any part or provision of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, the other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in force and effect.

SEC. 29. Repealing Clause. – Except for prevailing laws against abortion, any law, presidential decree or issuance, executive order, letter of instruction, administrative order, rule or regulation contrary to or is inconsistent with the provisions of this Act including Republic Act No. 7392, otherwise known as the Midwifery Act, is hereby repealed, modified or amended accordingly.

SEC 30. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

II. Historical Background

 1914 – American nurse Margaret Sanger invents the term “birth control”.

1927 - Margaret Sanger organizes first World Population Conference in Geneva, including professors, doctors and scientists to establish credibility and rally people to her cause.

1942 - Planned Parenthood Federation of America is established to unite the efforts of eugenicists, population controllers and birth controllers.

1939-1948 - Increase in individual efforts in the Philippines by Presbyterian, Congregational, and other Protestant ministers to spread information about birth control.

1948 - Planned Parenthood awards a grant to Gregory Pincus, a research biologist who undertook a series of tests leading to the development of the birth control pill.

1952 - Population Council is founded by John D. Rockefeller III.

1957 The National Council of Churches establishes the Family Relations Center, a counseling clinic.

1960 - The US FDA approves the sale of oral pills for contraception.

1964 – The University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) is formally established as a unit of the University of the Philippines, with an initial grant from the Ford Foundation. Its goal is to undertake population studies and train graduates in demography.

1967 – Seventeen heads of state including Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos sign the United Nations Declaration on Population which stresses that the “population problem” must be recognized as the principal element in long-term economic development. The Institute of Maternal and Child Health sets up the National Training Center for Maternal Health Service in accordance with an agreement between the National Economic Council, the Institute for Maternal and Child Health, and the US Agency for International Development.

1968 - The government starts to participate in population and family planning efforts by creating the Project Office for Maternal and Child Health in the Department of Health to coordinate family planning activities. Paul Ehrlich publishes the book Population Bomb, falsely foretelling a grim future of overpopulation and mass starvation in the 70’s and 80’s as a direct result of the dangerous links between population, resource depletion, and the environment. Reproductive rights develops as a subset of human rights at the United Nation's 1968 International Conference on Human Rights.

1969 – Philippine Population Program is officially launched through Executive Order No. 233, creating a study group known as the Population Commission (POPCOM).

1970 - First Earth Day. Peaceful demonstrations reflect environmental concerns, promotion of the idea that "population pollutes."

Early 1970's - Planned Parenthood International comes to the Philippines, working with local partner organizations to increase the provision of comprehensive reproductive health care services.

1971 – Republic Act 6365 aka Population Act of the Philippines is enacted into law by Congress. It establishes the national population policy and creates the national agency in charge of population, the Commission on Population (POPCOM).

1972 – President Ferdinand Marcos declares martial law. The Population Center Foundation is set up to forge a stronger partnership between the government and the private sector. Presidential Decree No. 79 revises Republic Act 6365, authorizing nurses and midwives, in addition to physicians, to provide, dispense, and administer all acceptable methods of contraception to those who desire to avail themselves of such services as long as these health workers have been trained and properly authorized by the POPCOM board.

1973 – Philippine Constitution expresses government commitment to deal with the "problem" of rapid population growth.

1974 – National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200 - Kissinger Report is released in April in the US. In 1975, the United States adopts NSSM200 as its policy to give “paramount importance” to population control measures and the promotion of contraception among 13 populous countries, 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.

1975 - The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) is established as “the Philippines’ premier gender and development portal providing access to resources and data on women in the Philippines.

1976 - Executive Order No. 123 attaches the Population Commission to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the population planning and coordinating agency. Presidential Decree No. 965 requires applicants for marriage licenses to receive instruction on family planning and responsible parenthood.

1977 - The National Population and Family Planning Outreach Project begins implementation. Between 1977 and 1979, 30,000 volunteers are recruited to provide contraceptive supplies and referrals. Presidential Decree No. 1204 amends certain sections of PD 79. This amendment further strengthens the powers of the Commission on Population in order for it to implement its functions more effectively.

1978 - Letter of Instruction No. 661 creates the Special Committee to Review the Philippine Population Program in the context of the overall development goals of the country and to recommend policy and program directions for the future.

1979 - CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Philippines is established, to “promote women's rights everywhere, by aligning laws with international obligations and treaties, to realize the goal of women's human rights.”

1986 – Pres. Cory Aquino issues Executive Order No. 123, attaching POPCOM to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the planning and coordinating agency for a 5-year plan to improve health, nutrition and family planning, with particular focus on maternal and child health, not on fertility reduction. During Aquino's administration, the Philippines still posts steady declines in population growth rates.

1987 - Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) is founded as a socialist feminist organization involving “women’s right advocate” Elizabeth Angsioco, RHAN, et al.

1989 - The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) is established in Congress, “dedicated to the formulation of viable public policies requiring legislation on population management and socio-economic development.”

1990 - Executive Order No. 408 is issued, placing POPCOM under the control and supervision of the Office of the President in order to "facilitate coordination of policies and programs relative to population."

1991 - Executive Order No. 467 (476?) is issued, making POPCOM an attached agency of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). PCF is renamed as Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD) on February 15, now with a wider scope beyond common concerns on population.

1992 - Fidel Ramos’ presidency shifts from population control to population management. Earth Summit on Sustainable Development is held in Rio de Janeiro, with several influential documents produced, including "Agenda 21" and "The Rio Declaration."

1993 - The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW) is formally established in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (see ASAP study 2008-2009) as a sort of a middleman between funders and fundees. CRR’s partner, Reproductive Health, Rights, and Ethics Center for Studies and Training (ReproCen) is established as a joint project of the College of Law and the College of Medicine of the University of the Philippines System with support of the Ford Foundation. The Philippine Population Management Program and the Population, Resources and Environment Framework are adopted by the Ramos Administration.
1994 - "Ethical and Pastoral Dimensions of Population Trends” is published by the Pontifical Council for the Family.
1995 - The Likhaan Center for Women's Health (Philippines) is established, “a collective of grassroots women and men, health advocates and professionals dedicated to promoting and pushing for the health and rights of disadvantaged women and their communities,” with Dr. Junice Melgar as Executive Director.
1996 – Maguindanao, the largest of the five provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in terms of population and number of municipalities and barangays, is assisted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) since the 4th Country Programme. Official UN terminology on contraceptive use is noted to have evolved from one euphemism (doublespeak) to another: from "safe motherhood" to "family planning" to "sexual health" and "reproductive health" to "fertility regulation" (which involves abortion).
1998 - Pres. Joseph Estrada uses mixed methods of reducing fertility rates. The first reproductive health measure is introduced in Congress, but is stalled on the committee level long before reaching the floor. Similar bills have been introduced almost every year since. Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) is established. (See their Yahoogroup started in 2007.) IPPF presents its Youth Manifesto (Christopher Penales is a participant). Kiko de la Tonga becomes Youth Program Coordinator of Likhaan.
1999 - Felipe Medalla, Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and chair of the Board of POPCOM, unveils the idea of Philippine contraceptive self-reliance to the world at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in July.
2000 – In board meeting of January 31, POPCOM Board of Directors pass a resolution that launches the Contraceptive Independence Initiative and creates the multisectoral Technical Working Group.
2001 - Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration focuses on mainstreaming natural family planning, while stating that contraceptives are openly sold in the country.
2002 - WomenLEAD co-sponsors on December 9 a conference on the Women's Reproductive Rights as Human Rights sponsored by the Institute of Human Rights, University of the Philippines Law Center at Malcolm Hall, UP College of Law.
2003 - Clara Rita Padilla founds Engende Rights, which seeks to “raise awareness and access to emergency contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies, post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS, and safe and legal abortion.”
2004 - The Department of Health introduces the Philippines Contraceptive Self-Reliance Strategy, arranging for the replacement of these donations with domestically provided contraception. The Waray-Waray Youth Advocates (WARAYA)is established as youth arm of Youth Innovation Fund of Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP). Forum for Family Planning and Development Inc (FFPD) starts its operations with the belief that prominent steps need to be taken to raise concerns on family planning and development.
2005 - UNFPA works “to ensure the improvement of reproductive health of the people of Masbate.” The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) Report is released. UNFPA Mountain Province is established. RHAN YOUTH is established. Lanao del Sur is included in UNFPA’s 6th Country Programme of Assistance in 2005, as it belongs to the 10 poorest provinces in the Philippines. In a Statement of Support, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo joins “the community of nations in expressing support for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).”
2006 – Ifugao becomes the first among the UNFPA provinces to pass a Reproductive Health Ordinance at the provincial level in July 2006. It is followed by the passage of the Gender and Development Code the following year. “Contraceptive use in Sultan Kudarat [is] 48.9% in 2005, almost equal to the 49% national average. This is still a long way to the 60 per cent contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) target by 2012.” On October 10, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issues guidelines and directive for the DOH, POPCOM, and local government units to take full charge of the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Program.
2007 – Olongapo becomes the first city to pass a Reproductive Health Code, providing a P3 million annual budget to cover procurement of contraceptives, among others. The UNFPA Youth is established. The UN-initiated Youth Association of the Philippines starts its formal operation in October. The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education Framework is released. Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WNGRR) transfers its Coordinating Office to the Philippines from Amsterdam. Dr. Sylvia “Guy” Claudio Estrada of the Philippines serves as the Board Chair of WNGRR. (2007 Details)
2008 - Contraceptive use goes down mainly due to non-availability of free contraceptives. Sulu becomes the first province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the entire Mindanao to have its own Provincial Reproductive Health Ordinance. 37 participants from 13 countries meet in Kuala Lumpur in March and form the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP), facilitated by the International Consortium for Medical Abortion.

2009 - The International Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders (AYNLA) is established, to “advocate for the UN MDGs and nurses' rights that started in the Philippines.” The United Nations Youth Association of the Philippines Cagayan de Oro Chapter is established.

2010 – Dr. Esperanza Cabral is appointed by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Secretary of Department of Health. Sen. Benigno Aquino III and Sen. Mar Roxas run in the national elections, with the RH Bill in their platform; Aquino wins as president. Cabral expresses support for the RH Bill. Pres. Aquino replaces Cabral with Sec. Enrique Ona as Department of Health Secretary. Pres. Aquino vows to sign the Bill into law. Reproductive Health Practitioners Network of the Philippines (RHPN) is established, involving nurse Prof. Alvin Cloyd Dakis, founder and national president of the AYNLA and representative of RHAN Youth. IPPF Report calls for youth sex rights and reveals new UN funding. The Intercollegiate Asian Parliamentary Debate Tournament is held, to stir youth action on MDGs. WARAYA receives funding from IPPF (Planned Parenthood). The Summit on the Millennium Development Goals is held. LGBT Philippines is on Facebook. The Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WNGRR) publishes "Recommitting to the Struggle for Safe, Legal Abortion" for its members and partners, which includes Likhaan. (2010 Details) Dr. Elard Koch's studies show that legalizing abortion isn't necessary to reduce maternal and infant deaths.10

2011 - The Young People for the Passage of RH Bill is founded. Other women NGOs are established. In the 15th Congress, five similar bills are introduced to the House and consolidated in January 2011 by the House Committee on Population and Family Relations. The consolidated bill is scheduled for plenary session in mid-February.
(http://ethicsinrhbill.blogspot.com/2011/06/brief-history-about-reproductive-health.html)
            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 Philippines' Ferdinand Marcos signed the Declaration on Population. The Philippines agreed that the population problem should 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 began shouldering 80% of the total family planning commodities (contraceptives) of the country, which amounted to $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 13 populous countries, including the Philippines to control rapid population growth which they deem to be inimical to the sociopolitical and economic growth of these countries and to the national interests of the United States, since the "U.S. 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 U.S. 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 UN, USIA, and USAID.

Different presidents had different points of emphasis. President Ferdinand Marcos pushed for a systematic distribution of contraceptives all over the country, a policy that was called "coercive", by its leading administrator.The Corazon Aquino administration focused on giving couples the right to have the number of children they prefer, while Fidel V. Ramos shifted from population control to population management. Joseph Estrada used mixed methods of reducing fertility rates, while Gloria Macapagal-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 MDGs by 2015, including promoting gender equality and health. In 2003 USAID started its phase out of a 33-year-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 a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy in favor of family planning called May Plano Sila.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsible_Parenthood_and_Reproductive_Health_Act_of_2012#History )
            The first time the Reproductive Health Bill was proposed was in 1998. During the present 15th Congress, the RH Bills filed are those authored by House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman of Albay, HB 96; Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, HB 101, Akbayan Representatives Kaka Bag-ao & Walden Bello; HB 513, Muntinlupa Representative Rodolfo Biazon, HB 1160, Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco, HB 1520, Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan. In the Senate, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed her own version of the RH bill which, she says, will be part of the country’s commitment to international covenants. On January 31, 2011, the House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations voted to consolidate all House versions of the bill, which is entitled An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development and for Other Purposes.

One of the main concerns of the bill, according to the Explanatory Note, is that population of the Philippines makes it “the 12th most populous nation in the world today”, that the Filipino women’s fertility rate is “at the upper bracket of 206 countries.” It states that studies and surveys “show that the Filipinos are responsive to having smaller-sized families through free choice of family planning methods.” It also refers to studies which “show that rapid population growth exacerbates poverty while poverty spawns rapid population growth.” And so it aims for improved quality of life through a “consistent and coherent national population policy.”
     
(http://www.studymode.com/essays/Rh-Bill-622742.html)

III. ISSUES

RA 10354 violates an individual’s basic Right to Life
a. In violation of Section 12, Article II of the Constitution which states that the State “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception,” Section 9 of RA 10354 “actually destroy instead of protect life.”

b. Section 4 of RA 10354 defines abortifacient in the law as “any drug or device that induces abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother’s womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother’s womb upon determination of the FDA.”

c. Section 9 of RA 10354, which provides a list of allowable drugs and devices for the public to use as part of “family planning,” states that “The National Drug Formulary shall include hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables, and other safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies.” However, the list does not conform to the constitutional provision since not all the drugs that were listed in the law are non-abortifacients.
(http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/microsite/rhlaw/205478.php)

IV. ARGUMENTS/DISCUSSION

            a. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 Lagman also rebutted the claims of 15 petitioners that the RH law violates the fundamental right to life and freedom of choice. He pointed out that Congress in fact intended to protect the right to life since the law prevents legalization of abortion. Such constitutional right does not intend to prevent contraception. “Since RH is against abortion, abhors coercion and respects freedom of choice, it is indubitably constitutional,” he argued.
            RH law advocates contend that life begins when a fertilized ovum is implanted in a woman’s womb while those against the law argue that life begins during fertilization.
            In his presentation, Lagman said the RH law protects the life of the unborn, is against abortion, and equally protects the life of the mother.

            MANILA, Aug. 14 (PNA) -- The main author of the Reproductive Health Law was grilled Tuesday during the oral arguments at the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the RH Law.
            In his presentation before the justices of the SC, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said contrary to the arguments of those who are against the law, the RH Law even protects the life of the child yet unborn and the well-being of the mother.
             Lagman argued it cannot be denied that there is an anti-abortion policy in the RH Law.
             He said the use of contraceptive is not considered as a crime, adding that, it recognizes that contraception is not abortion.
            In contraception, he said, pregnancy is avoided while in abortion pregnancy is aborted.
            Lagman cited the provisions in the RH Law which are against abortion, including Section 3 which recognizes abortion as illegal and punishable under the law; Section 2 which refers to the declaration of policy and clarifies that abortion is not included in the method of family planning; and Section 4 which says abortion is not included in the reproductive health rights as well as the access to abortifacients.
            He stressed that because the contraceptives are saving the lives of the mothers and the infants, it is far-fetched that they can be considered as poison or toxin, but rather, they are medicines that can help to prevent the death of the mother and the child. (Perfecto Raymundo/Media ng Bayan)
- See more at: http://www.mediangbayan.ph/headline-news/12406-lagman-says-rh-law-protects-life-of-unborn-child#sthash.lbw3drjF.dpuf
News Release
12 September 2011
‘RH Bill to strengthen law vs abortion’ 
Transcript of interview with Sen. Pia S. Cayetano
Senate Plenary (Excerpts)
Topic: RH Bill’s Section 3 (Guiding Principles), Paragraph (j) mandating the government to ensure care for women with post-abortion complications
Q: Do you think there would be bigger debates about this provision [Section 3, Paragraph (j)] because you’re saying the bill itself is not pro-abortion, but there is a provision which allows post-abortive care?
SPSC: It is the human right of every person to health care, and that includes a mother. And whether the mother had spontaneous abortion or intentional abortion, she deserves human care. It has nothing to do with the fact that the act that she committed was a crime. It has to do with the fact that she now needs medical care. And under all ethical standards that I know of, even in war, you’re supposed to offer human care to the enemy.
So I cannot, for the life of me, imagine that we are questioning a provision that simply recognizes a fact that happens in our country na hindi nga nabibigyan ng human care. I cannot believe that we can even question the right of this woman to human care. I am actually amazed, to be perfectly honest, that some people choose to twist the meaning of this provision because although I’m a lawyer and I do recognize that sometimes, the way lawyers write may be misunderstood by the layman, I have always prided myself in telling my legal staff to write it [a bill’s provisions] simply so we lessen the room for confusion. And when you look at this, while this Act does not amend the penal law on abortion, so meaning to say, as is, and mga batas natin sa abortion, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortive complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner.
So for the life of me, I cannot see how this can still be interpreted to mean that we are opening the doors to abortion. Now, having said that, I totally respect the legislative process. Which means part of the records, well, not part, all of the records will be used to help understand the meaning. Tama lang naman that this is put on public record. I have no problem with bringing it up, but I do know for the fact, because I’ve heard it so many times in the hearings; questions were also asked by reporters na ‘yan daw ang sinasabi ng mga anti-RH,’ that’s where I express my aghast. It’s one thing to say, ‘Can we put on the record what does this mean?’ No problem. But if it’s said in a manner, which it has been said many times, as if we are now trying to circumvent the law on abortion, that to me is very malicious and that to me shows utter disrespect for the rights of a human, which in this case is a mother who lost her child.
Q: Meron na bang opposition [to this provision] during the hearings, when we started?
SPSC: Yes this has been mentioned many times. This is one of those provisions na madalas na binabanggit. In fact even before this was taken up in the Senate, narinig ko na yang question na yan in the House and even before pa.
Unfortunately in this country, mabanggit lang kasi yung word na ‘abortion,’ ang connotation is ‘ay pro-abortion yan!’ Is it not possible that this bill is even strengthening the laws on abortion? Is it not possible that this bill, in fact, will lessen abortion because I even said that in my sponsorship speech, that by passing this law by providing women with information, so that they know. Even assuming that you will use a purely natural family planning method — whether it is because of your Christian faith, or lack of money to buy, basta yun ang pinili mo, natural, and sinunod mo talaga — just by providing a woman with that information, you will lessen her chances of getting pregnant and bringing forth an unwanted child, di ba? Because that is when they then consider resorting to abortion: “Ay nabuntis ako, it is unwanted, what do I do now? Pababayaaan ko? I’ll do something to myself, di ba?”
In fact, this bill will lessen abortions but they refuse to see that. Because it will. That, paninindigan ko. That is not an opinion; that is a fact. Because when women have options that will prevent them from getting pregnant, I cannot for the life me—this part is the opinion—think of a woman who will choose, “Ay hindi, yung mode of contraceptive ko is abortion.” Even in countries where abortion is allowed, the reaction you’ll always see from a woman, this is the same reaction you see in movies, TV shows, books, magazine articles, the reaction is, “Oh shoot, nabuntis ako!” And even in other countries where abortion is legal, and even if they do resort to an abortion, it’s a last resort, di ba? Kasi hindi naman primary mode of contraception yun eh.
Q: You’ll give a lot of thought before you resort…
SPSC: Yes. So to make it appear that it is the objective of the bill [opening the doors to abortion] — and I’m taking it a step further, to make it also appear that certain groups here who have expressed support for the bill and have affiliations with organizations outside the country will bring in ‘a tide of abortion’ here — is simply refusing to see the primary intention of this bill. #
http://senatorpiacayetano.com/?p=646

            b. In any case, if petitioner did their research, they would know that contraceptives in general have been included in the essential drugs list for many years, even before the RH bill was being discussed. Thus, we simply institutionalized an already existing practice.
            The list is a general enumeration of the types of family planning products already included by the FDA and the WHO in its essential list of medicines. They have been determined to be safe and effective and non-abortifacient. This does not in any way preclude the FDA from doing its job and making a determination that a particular brand is substandard, ineffective, unsafe, or works in a way that is different from what is declared. Congress never intended to arrogate upon itself the power to determine pharmacological facts, and neither should this court. That is the duty of the Food and Drug Administration.
            Lagman also pointed out that contraceptives were included in the essential list of medicines of the World Health Organization, “which is the main health authority of the United Nations of which the Philippines is a member.”
            Lagman also rebutted the claim of petitioners that contraceptives are abortifacient since fertilized ovum can already be considered a life. He argued that “the fertilized ovum may be a living organism but it’s not a human person.”          
            Abad said the RH law will see half of the 23 million Filipinos of child-bearing age getting contraceptives and intra-uterine devices (IUDs) from the government to avoid maternal-related deaths. But he pointed out that contraceptives and I III. Historical Background
            1914 – American nurse Margaret Sanger invents the term “birth control”.

1927 - Margaret Sanger organizes first World Population Conference in Geneva, including professors, doctors and scientists to establish credibility and rally people to her cause.

1942 - Planned Parenthood Federation of America is established to unite the efforts of eugenicists, population controllers and birth controllers.

1939-1948 - Increase in individual efforts in the Philippines by Presbyterian, Congregational, and other Protestant ministers to spread information about birth control.

1948 - Planned Parenthood awards a grant to Gregory Pincus, a research biologist who undertook a series of tests leading to the development of the birth control pill.

1952 - Population Council is founded by John D. Rockefeller III.

1957 The National Council of Churches establishes the Family Relations Center, a counseling clinic.

1960 - The US FDA approves the sale of oral pills for contraception.

1964 – The University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) is formally established as a unit of the University of the Philippines, with an initial grant from the Ford Foundation. Its goal is to undertake population studies and train graduates in demography.

1967 – Seventeen heads of state including Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos sign the United Nations Declaration on Population which stresses that the “population problem” must be recognized as the principal element in long-term economic development. The Institute of Maternal and Child Health sets up the National Training Center for Maternal Health Service in accordance with an agreement between the National Economic Council, the Institute for Maternal and Child Health, and the US Agency for International Development.

1968 - The government starts to participate in population and family planning efforts by creating the Project Office for Maternal and Child Health in the Department of Health to coordinate family planning activities. Paul Ehrlich publishes the book Population Bomb, falsely foretelling a grim future of overpopulation and mass starvation in the 70’s and 80’s as a direct result of the dangerous links between population, resource depletion, and the environment. Reproductive rights develops as a subset of human rights at the United Nation's 1968 International Conference on Human Rights.

1969 – Philippine Population Program is officially launched through Executive Order No. 233, creating a study group known as the Population Commission (POPCOM).

1970 - First Earth Day. Peaceful demonstrations reflect environmental concerns, promotion of the idea that "population pollutes."

Early 1970's - Planned Parenthood International comes to the Philippines, working with local partner organizations to increase the provision of comprehensive reproductive health care services.

1971 – Republic Act 6365 aka Population Act of the Philippines is enacted into law by Congress. It establishes the national population policy and creates the national agency in charge of population, the Commission on Population (POPCOM).

1972 – President Ferdinand Marcos declares martial law. The Population Center Foundation is set up to forge a stronger partnership between the government and the private sector. Presidential Decree No. 79 revises Republic Act 6365, authorizing nurses and midwives, in addition to physicians, to provide, dispense, and administer all acceptable methods of contraception to those who desire to avail themselves of such services as long as these health workers have been trained and properly authorized by the POPCOM board.

1973 – Philippine Constitution expresses government commitment to deal with the "problem" of rapid population growth.

1974 – National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200 - Kissinger Report is released in April in the US. In 1975, the United States adopts NSSM200 as its policy to give “paramount importance” to population control measures and the promotion of contraception among 13 populous countries, 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.

1975 - The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW) is established as “the Philippines’ premier gender and development portal providing access to resources and data on women in the Philippines.

1976 - Executive Order No. 123 attaches the Population Commission to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the population planning and coordinating agency. Presidential Decree No. 965 requires applicants for marriage licenses to receive instruction on family planning and responsible parenthood.

1977 - The National Population and Family Planning Outreach Project begins implementation. Between 1977 and 1979, 30,000 volunteers are recruited to provide contraceptive supplies and referrals. Presidential Decree No. 1204 amends certain sections of PD 79. This amendment further strengthens the powers of the Commission on Population in order for it to implement its functions more effectively.

1978 - Letter of Instruction No. 661 creates the Special Committee to Review the Philippine Population Program in the context of the overall development goals of the country and to recommend policy and program directions for the future.

1979 - CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Philippines is established, to “promote women's rights everywhere, by aligning laws with international obligations and treaties, to realize the goal of women's human rights.”

1986 – Pres. Cory Aquino issues Executive Order No. 123, attaching POPCOM to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as the planning and coordinating agency for a 5-year plan to improve health, nutrition and family planning, with particular focus on maternal and child health, not on fertility reduction. During Aquino's administration, the Philippines still posts steady declines in population growth rates.

1987 - Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) is founded as a socialist feminist organization involving “women’s right advocate” Elizabeth Angsioco, RHAN, et al.

1989 - The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) is established in Congress, “dedicated to the formulation of viable public policies requiring legislation on population management and socio-economic development.”

1990 - Executive Order No. 408 is issued, placing POPCOM under the control and supervision of the Office of the President in order to "facilitate coordination of policies and programs relative to population."

1991 - Executive Order No. 467 (476?) is issued, making POPCOM an attached agency of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). PCF is renamed as Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD) on February 15, now with a wider scope beyond common concerns on population.

1992 - Fidel Ramos’ presidency shifts from population control to population management. Earth Summit on Sustainable Development is held in Rio de Janeiro, with several influential documents produced, including "Agenda 21" and "The Rio Declaration."
1993 - The Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW) is formally established in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (see ASAP study 2008-2009) as a sort of a middleman between funders and fundees. CRR’s partner, Reproductive Health, Rights, and Ethics Center for Studies and Training (ReproCen) is established as a joint project of the College of Law and the College of Medicine of the University of the Philippines System with support of the Ford Foundation. The Philippine Population Management Program and the Population, Resources and Environment Framework are adopted by the Ramos Administration.
1994 - "Ethical and Pastoral Dimensions of Population Trends” is published by the Pontifical Council for the Family.
1995 - The Likhaan Center for Women's Health (Philippines) is established, “a collective of grassroots women and men, health advocates and professionals dedicated to promoting and pushing for the health and rights of disadvantaged women and their communities,” with Dr. Junice Melgar as Executive Director.
1996 – Maguindanao, the largest of the five provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in terms of population and number of municipalities and barangays, is assisted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) since the 4th Country Programme. Official UN terminology on contraceptive use is noted to have evolved from one euphemism (doublespeak) to another: from "safe motherhood" to "family planning" to "sexual health" and "reproductive health" to "fertility regulation" (which involves abortion).
1998 - Pres. Joseph Estrada uses mixed methods of reducing fertility rates. The first reproductive health measure is introduced in Congress, but is stalled on the committee level long before reaching the floor. Similar bills have been introduced almost every year since. Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN) is established. (See their Yahoogroup started in 2007.) IPPF presents its Youth Manifesto (Christopher Penales is a participant). Kiko de la Tonga becomes Youth Program Coordinator of Likhaan.
1999 - Felipe Medalla, Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and chair of the Board of POPCOM, unveils the idea of Philippine contraceptive self-reliance to the world at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in July.
2000 – In board meeting of January 31, POPCOM Board of Directors pass a resolution that launches the Contraceptive Independence Initiative and creates the multisectoral Technical Working Group.
2001 - Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration focuses on mainstreaming natural family planning, while stating that contraceptives are openly sold in the country.
2002 - WomenLEAD co-sponsors on December 9 a conference on the Women's Reproductive Rights as Human Rights sponsored by the Institute of Human Rights, University of the Philippines Law Center at Malcolm Hall, UP College of Law.
2003 - Clara Rita Padilla founds Engende Rights, which seeks to “raise awareness and access to emergency contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies, post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS, and safe and legal abortion.”
2004 - The Department of Health introduces the Philippines Contraceptive Self-Reliance Strategy, arranging for the replacement of these donations with domestically provided contraception. The Waray-Waray Youth Advocates (WARAYA)is established as youth arm of Youth Innovation Fund of Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP). Forum for Family Planning and Development Inc (FFPD) starts its operations with the belief that prominent steps need to be taken to raise concerns on family planning and development.
2005 - UNFPA works “to ensure the improvement of reproductive health of the people of Masbate.” The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) Report is released. UNFPA Mountain Province is established. RHAN YOUTH is established. Lanao del Sur is included in UNFPA’s 6th Country Programme of Assistance in 2005, as it belongs to the 10 poorest provinces in the Philippines. In a Statement of Support, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo joins “the community of nations in expressing support for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).”
2006 – Ifugao becomes the first among the UNFPA provinces to pass a Reproductive Health Ordinance at the provincial level in July 2006. It is followed by the passage of the Gender and Development Code the following year. “Contraceptive use in Sultan Kudarat [is] 48.9% in 2005, almost equal to the 49% national average. This is still a long way to the 60 per cent contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) target by 2012.” On October 10, 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issues guidelines and directive for the DOH, POPCOM, and local government units to take full charge of the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Program.
2007 – Olongapo becomes the first city to pass a Reproductive Health Code, providing a P3 million annual budget to cover procurement of contraceptives, among others. The UNFPA Youth is established. The UN-initiated Youth Association of the Philippines starts its formal operation in October. The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education Framework is released. Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WNGRR) transfers its Coordinating Office to the Philippines from Amsterdam. Dr. Sylvia “Guy” Claudio Estrada of the Philippines serves as the Board Chair of WNGRR. (2007 Details)
2008 - Contraceptive use goes down mainly due to non-availability of free contraceptives. Sulu becomes the first province in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the entire Mindanao to have its own Provincial Reproductive Health Ordinance. 37 participants from 13 countries meet in Kuala Lumpur in March and form the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP), facilitated by the International Consortium for Medical Abortion.

2009 - The International Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders (AYNLA) is established, to “advocate for the UN MDGs and nurses' rights that started in the Philippines.” The United Nations Youth Association of the Philippines Cagayan de Oro Chapter is established.

2010 – Dr. Esperanza Cabral is appointed by Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Secretary of Department of Health. Sen. Benigno Aquino III and Sen. Mar Roxas run in the national elections, with the RH Bill in their platform; Aquino wins as president. Cabral expresses support for the RH Bill. Pres. Aquino replaces Cabral with Sec. Enrique Ona as Department of Health Secretary. Pres. Aquino vows to sign the Bill into law. Reproductive Health Practitioners Network of the Philippines (RHPN) is established, involving nurse Prof. Alvin Cloyd Dakis, founder and national president of the AYNLA and representative of RHAN Youth. IPPF Report calls for youth sex rights and reveals new UN funding. The Intercollegiate Asian Parliamentary Debate Tournament is held, to stir youth action on MDGs. WARAYA receives funding from IPPF (Planned Parenthood). The Summit on the Millennium Development Goals is held. LGBT Philippines is on Facebook. The Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WNGRR) publishes "Recommitting to the Struggle for Safe, Legal Abortion" for its members and partners, which includes Likhaan. (2010 Details) Dr. Elard Koch's studies show that legalizing abortion isn't necessary to reduce maternal and infant deaths.10

2011 - The Young People for the Passage of RH Bill is founded. Other women NGOs are established. In the 15th Congress, five similar bills are introduced to the House and consolidated in January 2011 by the House Committee on Population and Family Relations. The consolidated bill is scheduled for plenary session in mid-February.
(http://ethicsinrhbill.blogspot.com/2011/06/brief-history-about-reproductive-health.html)

            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 Philippines' Ferdinand Marcos signed the Declaration on Population.[1][2] The Philippines agreed that the population problem should 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 began shouldering 80% of the total family planning commodities (contraceptives) of the country, which amounted to $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 13 populous countries, including the Philippines to control rapid population growth which they deem to be inimical to the sociopolitical and economic growth of these countries and to the national interests of the United States, since the "U.S. 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 U.S. 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 UN, USIA, and USAID.;

Different presidents had different points of emphasis. President Ferdinand Marcos pushed for a systematic distribution of contraceptives all over the country, a policy that was called "coercive", by its leading administrator.[2]The Corazon Aquino administration focused on giving couples the right to have the number of children they prefer, while Fidel V. Ramos shifted from population control to population management. Joseph Estrada used mixed methods of reducing fertility rates, while Gloria Macapagal-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 MDGs by 2015, including promoting gender equality and health. In 2003 USAID started its phase out of a 33-year-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 a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy in favor of family planning called May Plano Sila.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsible_Parenthood_and_Reproductive_Health_Act_of_2012#History )
            The first time the Reproductive Health Bill was proposed was in 1998. During the present 15th Congress, the RH Bills filed are those authored by House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman of Albay, HB 96; Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, HB 101, Akbayan Representatives Kaka Bag-ao & Walden Bello; HB 513, Muntinlupa Representative Rodolfo Biazon, HB 1160, Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco, HB 1520, Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan. In the Senate, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed her own version of the RH bill which, she says, will be part of the country’s commitment to international covenants. On January 31, 2011, the House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations voted to consolidate all House versions of the bill, which is entitled An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development and for Other Purposes.

One of the main concerns of the bill, according to the Explanatory Note, is that population of the Philippines makes it “the 12th most populous nation in the world today”, that the Filipino women’s fertility rate is “at the upper bracket of 206 countries.” It states that studies and surveys “show that the Filipinos are responsive to having smaller-sized families through free choice of family planning methods.” It also refers to studies which “show that rapid population growth exacerbates poverty while poverty spawns rapid population growth.” And so it aims for improved quality of life through a “consistent and coherent national population policy.”
     
(http://www.studymode.com/essays/Rh-Bill-622742.html)

UDs have resulted in many complications for women like irregular bleeding.
            But Lagman said the National Statistics Office has stated that 14 women die daily because of complications from pregnancy and childbirth, which are among the problems to be addressed by the RH law.
            Abad maintained that a natural form of contraception like withdrawal during sex was more effective than using artificial contraception, but Lagman argued that the RH law promotes all methods and gave couples the option to choose from these methods.
            “No one will be compelled to use contraceptives,” Lagman said.
            Abad also broached the prospect of adolescents being able to gain access to contraceptives because of the sex education that they will be getting.
            “I think we are working on a wrong premise that adolescents, [as well as] adults, are inherently promiscuous. That should not be the assumption,” Lagman countered, noting that UN studies actually show that sex education would have “beneficial effects” on the young as it would instill in them the proper sex values, delay their engagement in sexual relations, and teach them to avoid having multiple sexual partners.
            Abad also peppered Cayetano with questions on her position when it was the turn of the senator to present her case.
            Abad argued that hormonal contraceptives have the highest possibility of causing cancer and that they can cause “Class I” cancer.
            Cayetano countered that the Class I rank was actually the “lowest class” as it was similar to the risk of women getting sick from “microwaves and television.”
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/465159/pia-cayetano-lagman-defend-rh-law
      
c.         As to the claim that the enumeration of certain family planning products in Section 9 as part of essential medicines is a pre-determination by Congress that all contraceptives are safe and are not abortifacients, let me clarify:
Senator Pia said: With all due respect, your honor, your understanding of the law is incorrect. Section 9 includes very clearly, ‘other safe, legal and non-abortifacient devices.
…So what we are saying in this law is these types of contraceptives have been passed upon by the WHO and the FDA, and are part of the WHO essential list, and have been part of the FDA essential list. And we want it to stay there subject to FDA’s determination – per brand, per batch, if necessary – that it is safe. We cannot take that away from FDA. We never intended to arrogate these powers. These belong to FDA alone, not ours, and not this court’s.
(Excerpts from the RH Oral Arguments Senator Pia S. Cayetano and Justice Roberto AbadSupreme Court case on the Reproductive Health Law13 August 2013)
(Speech of Senator Pia S. Cayetano (as delivered) Intervenor, Principal Sponsor of Republic Act 10354 At the Oral Arguments on the Reproductive Health (RH) Law Supreme Court of the Philippines, Manila August 13, 2013)
           
The basis is no other than the Constitution: Article 2, Section 12, and all other related provisions call for the urgency of the Reproductive Health Law.
Article 2, Section 12 says, “The State… shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

V. Conclusion

THE RH ADVOCACY: THE TASKS AHEAD
By: Rep. Edcel C. Lagman
(Message in response to his conferment as the 7th Eminent Person of the Forum for Family Planning and Development, Inc. on 29 January 2013 at the Rockwell Center)


I am deeply and truly humbled by this conferment of honor and recognition as the 7thEminent Person of the Forum for Family Planning and Development, after President Fidel V. Ramos, Prime Minister Cesar EA Virata, National Scientist and demography icon Dr. Mercedes B. Concepcion, industrialist Mr. Washington Z. Sycip, philanthropist and business leader Mr. Oscar M. Lopez, and internationally known civic leader and entrepreneur Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis.

          The Latin ēminēre means “to project, stand out”, akin to the word “eminent” in theAmerican Heritage Dictionary of the English Language which means “towering or standing out in character or performance.” I have to confess I must strive much more to approximate the full import of an “eminent person”.

          I humbly accept and shall forever cherish this accolade which I am sharing with the countless RH advocates who collectively toiled for the passage of the RH bill, the overwhelming majority of whom are unsung and unrecognized.

           I also share this recognition with my wife, Cielo, and my seven children who have inspired me to tenaciously pursue and sustain the RH crusade despite all obstacles.

          The saga of the reproductive health advocacy continues even as the RH law is now enshrined in our statute books as Republic Act No. 10354. However, the travails ahead are hopefully not as turbulent and arduous as the 13-year gestation period leading to the passage of the RH bill.

            But before surmounting the problems ahead, it would be best to take stock of what has transpired to buoy up our spirits and to buttress our resolve to realize the enabling objectives of the RH law.

           First, in our euphoria, let us not forget the authors of the precursor bill which set the stage for our relentless advocacy. I particularly refer to former Congresspersons Bellaflor Angara-Castillo and Krisel Lagman-Luistro, among others, who authored House Bill No. 8110, entitled “Integrated Population and Development Act of 1999”. This prototype bill became in subsequent Congresses the reproductive health bill.

Second, let us also remember the numerous co-authors in five Congresses, from the 11th Congress to the 15th Congress, who remained steadfast in their authorship despite threats and intimidations like excommunication, hellfire and reprisal at the polls from the Catholic hierarchy, the severest critic of the bill.

Third, let us also recognize the silent RH advocates who during the crucial second and third readings voted for the approval of the bill.

Fourth, we congratulate the leaders of the vast NGO community and civil society who earnestly and tirelessly supported the passage of this progressive measure.

Fifth, we likewise share our victory with the tri-media and social media for having been enduring partners in our long advocacy.

Sixth, we salute the overwhelming number of Filipinos who clamored for the enactment of the bill in survey after survey.

Seventh, we also give thanks to the House leadership, particularly Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Majority Leader Nepatali Gonzales II, for delivering their commitment to have the bill voted upon and for resoundingly voting for the bill.

Eighth, we truly appreciate the continuing support of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III for the enactment of the RH bill, which he calls the Responsible Parenthood Bill, from the presidential campaign in 2010, to the prioritization of the bill in the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), to the certification of the bill as urgent and his eventual signing of the bill into law.

But we must never forget that the convergence of these favorable factors did not diminish and overshadow the inherent merits of the RH bill which in no small measure assured its passage.

THE RH LAW IS NOT WATERED-DOWN

I would also like to take this opportunity to underscore that the RH law is not a “watered-down” measure. As a matter of strategy, I did not dispute the claim of critics as well as the news accounts in media that the RH bill has been “watered-down” due to the various amendments the authors have accepted during outside plenary consultations which were incorporated in the substitute bill in the House of Representatives.

By my silence, I wanted the critics to believe that the bill has been “watered-down” so that they would desist from further opposing the measure. On hindsight, I have realized that the critics would persist in opposing the RH bill even if only a comma or exclamation point remained of the bill.

The truth is, in its final form, the RH law has retained its pristine formulation and original policy orientation. We have not accepted any amendment which would derogate or diminish the essence of the bill. In the House of Representatives, we have not succumbed to any “killer amendment”.

The following are the salient features of the law which are consistent with the original provisions:

1. The State is mandated to promote universal access to reproductive health and family planning services, supplies and information, including voluntary contraception, which are medically-safe, non-abortifacient, quality, effective, legal and affordable with priority to acceptors from poor and marginalized sectors who shall receive for free RH services and commodities (Section 2 on Declaration of Policy).

In this regard, an amendment was accepted that the contraceptives to be promoted must not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is simply consistent with the dual mechanism of contraceptives which are to inhibit ovulation and prevent fertilization, both of which forecloses the existence of a fertilized ovum.

2. The hallmark of the RH law is freedom of informed choice which shall not be subject to any form of coercion (Section 3-a of the Guiding Principles for Implementation).

3. Massive nationwide information campaign on reproductive health and rights is mandated (Section 20 on Public Awareness).

4. The implementation of the Act shall be the joint responsibility of the national government and the local government units with the national government extending financial and technical support to needy local government units (LGUs) (Sections 5, 6, 8, 16 and 20).

5.  The principal elements of RH are intact and even improved (Section 4-q).

6. Services for pregnant women and safe motherhood are enhanced and assured (Sections 5, 6 and 18).

7. Women suffering from post-abortion complications shall be “treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner” (Section 3-j).

8. Inclusion in the Philippine National Drug Formulary of hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other safe, legal, non-abortifacient family planning products and supplies is mandated (Section 9).

9. Mandatory age and development-appropriate reproductive health education is assured for adolescents enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools with the curriculum prepared by the   Department of Education adoptable by private schools (Section 14).

10. PhilHealth benefits for serious and life-threatening reproductive health conditions are guaranteed (Section 12).

11. The provisions on prohibited acts and penalties have been retained to assure compliance with the law (Sections 23 and 24).

12 With the exception of hospitals owned by a religious group, private health facilities and hospitals are mandated to provide a full range of family planning services to paying patients with the option to grant free care and services to indigents (Section 7).

            13. A Congressional Oversight Committee is created to monitor the full and correct implementation of the RH law (Section 22).

14. Initial funding comes from the respective budgets of the Department of Health and allied agencies as provided for in the 2013 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and a continuing yearly budget is authorized for inclusion in the subsequent years’ GAAs (Section 25).

THE TASKS AHEAD

Now, on the tasks ahead. There are four major concerns we have to contend with.

(1) Promulgation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

(2) Surmounting the constitutional issues raised against the RH law before the Supreme Court.

(3) Appropriation as a continuing battleground.

(4) Assuring and monitoring the effective and faithful implementation of the RH law.

IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS

The RH law has been effective since 17 January 2013. Is it now enforceable pending the promulgation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations?

I submit it is, with due respect to Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s lone and contrary obiter dictum in the 2008 case of Abakada Guro Party List vs. Purisima (562 SCRA 251). The absence of the IRR must not preclude the enforcement of the law. The pendency of the IRR’s promulgation, which is an executive function, is not a temporary administrative veto of an effective statute. There are instantly implementable provisions of the law without the need of a prior IRR.

In the absence of a temporary restraining order or a writ of injunction issued by the Supreme Court, the implementation or enforcement of an effective law cannot be frustrated or temporized.

However, in order to obviate any challenge to the enforceability of the RH law, there is need for the promulgation of the IRR within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of the Act or on or before 18 March 2013.

The IRR is to assure the effective implementation of the RH law. Let us guard against the possibility that the IRR may dilute the provisions of the Act. With DOH Secretary Enrique T. Ona at the helm of the IRR drafting committee and with four members from kindred NGOs, I think the possibility that the IRR will depreciate the Act is far-fetched.

However, we must not relax our guard because even the most formidable fortress is not impregnable from insidious assaults.

BATTLE IN THE SUPREME COURT

The six petitions before the Supreme Court contesting the constitutionality of the RH law is a compendium of the usual anti-RH homilies and tirades.

From the repetitious, almost ludicrous, verbiage of the petitions, the following common arguments are incanted:

1.       The Reproductive Health Act violates the “right to life”.
2.      The Act infringes on the people’s “right to health”.
3.      It is offensive to the freedom of religion.
4.      It negates the basic and primary right of parents to develop their children’s moral character.

          All controversial measures end in the Supreme Court. We expected these petitions. We will prevail in the Highest Tribunal because the RH law is absolutely constitutional. We made sure that the provisions and the intendment of the Act are in harmony with constitutional mandates.

             Let me debunk briefly the issues raised.

RIGHT TO LIFE IS NOT DEFILED

             The very constitutional provision invoked by the petitioners, which is Sec. 12 of Art. II, provides that the State shall protect “the life of the unborn from conception.” Clearly, before conception, there is no life to protect. Conception has been defined by medical authorities as the implantation of the fertilized ovum in the woman’s uterus. Conception is synonymous with pregnancy.

              Verily, in the earlier stages of the reproductive process like ovulation and fertilization, there is no life to protect.

             It is in these prior stages before conception where contraception plays its role by preventing ovulation and fertilization. Accordingly, no life is impaired. No human life is imperiled.

           The genesis of Sec. 12 of Art. II of the 1987 Constitution started with the proposal to include in Section 1 of the Bill of Rights the provision that the “right to life extends to the fertilized ovum.” This proposal was not constitutionalized. It was rejected in favor of the present provision which guarantees the life of the unborn from conception, not before conception where there is no life yet to safeguard.

           The explicit intention of the framers of the 1987 Constitution in protecting the life of the unborn from conception is to prevent the Congress and the Supreme Court from legalizing abortion. The RH law does not legalize abortion. In fact, it acknowledges that abortion is illegal and punishable and is not a family planning option or method.

RIGHT TO HEALTH IS NOT INFRINGED

            Far from infringing the people’s “right to health”, the RH law promotes, protects and enhances the right to health, particularly of mothers and infants because the promotion of reproductive health and family planning will considerably decrease maternal and infant mortality rates since high-risk, unwanted and unintended pregnancies are avoided.

              Moreover, the promotion of reproductive health and family planning would assure the birth of healthy infants and empower parents to give fewer children proper sustenance, health care and education.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IS UPHELD

            The accusation that the RH law is offensive to religious freedom is a patent aberration. The Act is replete with provisions upholding the freedom of religion and respecting religious convictions. The guarantee of freedom of informed choice is an assurance that no one would be compelled to violate the tenets of his religion or defy his religious convictions against his free will and own discernment of his faith.

            The option to be a beneficiary of RH care and services and be an acceptor of a particular family planning method is solely the decision of a couple or woman with due regard to one’s religious beliefs and convictions. Good conscience is the anchor of one’s choice.

PARENTAL ROLE IS SUPPORTED

            Section 12 of Article II is among the 22 provisions constituting the State Policies or a “Bill of State Obligations” as distinguished from the Bill of Rights as found in Article III. Accordingly, the last sentence of Sec. 12 provides: “The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”

           More than a recognition or grant of a right, this provision is an imposition of an obligation upon the State. Accordingly, the operative phrase in this provision is “shall receive the support of the Government.”

          The prescription of a mandatory age and development-appropriate reproductive health education for adolescents enrolled in public elementary and high schools is not an abridgement of the role of parents in the rearing of their children. It is in compliance with the bounden duty of Government to support the role of parents in the development of their children’s moral character, among others.

           This prescription on RH education assumes more relevance when we consider that the majority of parents default in teaching their children proper sexual values because of the prevailing taboo on conversation about sex in Filipino homes.

           Section 14 of the RH law is no different from the constitutional obligation of the State “to establish, maintain and support a complete, adequate and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the people and society” (Sec. 2[1] of Art. XIV) which is not an impairment of the parent’s right and duty in the rearing of the youth. It is supportive and complementary.

          Similarly, the Constitution unequivocally provides that “Without limiting the natural right of parents to rear their children, elementary education is compulsory for all children of school age.” (Sec. 2[2] of Art. XIV). Clearly, no less than the Constitution mandates compulsory elementary education without violating parental right in the rearing of the youth.

REQUISITE APPROPRIATION

            Funding will always be a contentious battleground in the implementation of the RH law. Without adequate appropriation, the RH law will be reduced to a fossilized policy, a Jurassic shibboleth.

          Accordingly, it is our common concern to have pro-RH legislators elected to the House of Representatives and the Senate to assure a continuing and requisite appropriation for the RH law. The threat of rejection at the polls must be obliterated by a positive campaign for electoral mandate for kindred and qualified candidates.

SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION

             Having said all of these, the bottom line is to ensure an effective, speedy and faithful implementation of the RH law.

         We have an outstandingly good law which deserves a successful and errant-less implementation. We, who have shepherded the enactment of the Reproductive Health Law, must oversee its faithful implementation.

           Finally, let me reiterate my thanks to the Forum for Family Planning and Development led by the indefatigable RH advocate Ben de Leon, the “eminent person-maker” himself.

            The name of the Forum is truly appropriate because the empirical and logical linkage between family planning and development is truly well-established and beyond debate.

            Thank you.

http://www.edcellagman.com.ph/speeches.html

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Bottom Ad

Pages