The RH Bill

Here are some points from the Reproductive Health Bill:

(1) Additional Health Personnel through additional midwives (1:150 deliveries per year) and Improved Obstetric and Neonatal Care facilities through upgrading/establishment of at least 1 hospital with comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care and 4 hospitals/health facilities with basic obstetric and neonatal care.

(2) Access to Family Planning. All accredited health facilities will provide a full range of modern family planning methods.

(3) Mandatory Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education. There will be age-appropriate mandatory reproductive health and sexuality education starting from Grade V to 4th Year High School.  Parents will be provided with adequate and relevant scientific materials on the topics. MY SUGGESTION: Allow parents to participate during the reproductive health and sexuality education so they’d know how to discuss and what topics to discuss with their children at home.

(4) Attaining the Ideal Family Size.  The Bill encourages two children as the ideal family size. I see nothing wrong with that.  The Bill also added, “Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory.  No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.”

(5) Pro Bono Services for Indigent Women.

(6) Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) through, among other things, easy access 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.

(7) Health care providers are prohibited from, among others, refusing to perform legal and medically safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of third-party consent or authorization.  In married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses shall be preferred. However, in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail.  The conscientious objection of a healthcare service provider based on his/her ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected but the objector shall immediately refer the person seeking care to another healthcare service provider who is willing to provide the requisite information and services.

Here are some statistical figures concerning women, child, and maternity:

Birth rate: 24.98 births/1,000 population

Infant mortality rate: 18.75 deaths/1,000 population

Maternal mortality rate: 94/100,000 live births

People with HIV/AIDS: 8,700

Deaths caused by HIV/AIDS: less than 200

Percentage of children under 5 who are underweight: 20.7%

Rape cases reported to PNP: 811 in 2008, decreased to 770 in 2009

An interesting figure I found from nscb.gov.ph, in a 2002 survey, 4.0% of female respondents surveyed approve of a woman having abortion, while 33.2% of male respondents approve of a woman having abortion.(!!!)

In 1998, 3.6 million of Phil. teenagers got pregnant. Of the 3.6 million, 92% were unplanned, and 78% did not even use contraceptives the first time they had sex. MY COMMENT: The data is quite old, but teenage pregnancy is still prevalent, especially in our town!

I am FOR the RH Bill. I am a woman, and I want to have access to all possible avenues for my development and empowerment.  And I want all my fellow Filipino women to have the same access.  I am also for better education, nutrition and growth opportunities for our children.

Read the RH Bill here

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