You may be aware that there’s a growing debate on the proposed “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008” filed in the House of Representatives. Rep. Edcel Lagman as the principal sponsor (the Fact Sheet and the Explanatory Note to House Bill No. 17, substituted by HB 5043, is here. See also updated bill, House Bill 4244 and the general discussion on RH Bill).
As appearing in an Inquirer report, Cong. Lagman pointed to certain key features of the Bill, which “promotes information on and access to both natural and modern family planning methods, which are medically safe and legally permissible. It assures an enabling environment where women and couples have the freedom of informed choice on the mode of family planning they want to adopt based on their needs, personal convictions and religious beliefs.” Reproductive Health includes:
1. Information and access to natural and modern family planning.
2. Maternal, infant and child health and nutrition.
3. Promotion of breast feeding.
4. Prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications.
5. Adolescent and youth health.
6. Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections, HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
7. Elimination of violence against women.
8. Counseling on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health.
9. Treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers.
10. Male involvement and participation in reproductive health.
11. Prevention and treatment of infertility.
12. Reproductive health education for the youth.
Some commentators pointed out certain falsehoods in the bill, among others that “there’s no empirical data that shows that overpopulation causes poverty.” An article appearing at the website of Pro-Life Philippines criticizes the bill. The argument is anchored on the “established fact that the connection between contraception and abortion is not only inseparable; there is a close identity between them.” An article at CBCP News quotes Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz in saying that the Reproductive Health Bill is “inimical to health.” Arch. Cruz raised certain “practical questions,” including the following:
Should the issue on reproductive health be more objectively and properly called instead “unreproductive health”?
Is health good if this is deliberately rendered unfruitful, intentionally made unproductive or unreproductive?
Are those advocating for zero reproduction certain that they themselves have not in any way reproduced someone – like a bubbling son or a cute daughter?
On the other hand, those who agree with the bill point out to the fact that it simply gives couples a choice when it comes to family planning. The informal poll is found below.