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Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012

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-informally known as the Reproductive Health Law, 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 key proposal that the Philippine government and the private sector will fund and undertake widespread distribution of family planning devices such as condoms, birth control pills (BCPs) and IUDs, as the government continues to disseminate information on their use through all health care centers.

Strength of RH BILL
* problems of Philippine government is the increasing rate of poverty in our country. Less job opportunities, food and oil price hike, low family income are some of the reason of the increasing rate of poverty but for my own opinion, overpopulation is the major reason of it, having a big number of family members are the closest cause of poverty, they cannot sustain their everyday needs for each of the family member because of unavailability of a decent job or having a less income that can’t support their needs, but I have a solution to stop the overpopulation and prevent the continuous increase of poverty rate in our country, It’s RH Bill. * One of the content of RH Bill is family planning that includes contraceptive methods; it can help to reduce the birth rate in a family that causes overpopulation. Contraceptive method can prevent the sperm cell of males and egg cell of females to meet because when the sperm and egg cell meet inside the reproductive organ of females they will later develop as a baby inside the mother’s womb.

* The word “prevent” is not synonymous for “killing” the catholic church stand for using this method shows that using this method of preventing is a way of killing one’s life, they say that sperm and egg cells are the victim of this method, for me they doesn’t have a life yet they are only a part of a humans’ lives, so if they are saying that contraception can “kill” those cells then I consider that all teenagers, young adult, adult or even some of the elderly males are “killers” because it is a nature and normal for the males to “masturbate” and if the orgasm occur the semen will ejaculate from the males reproductive organ and the one content of semen are millions of sperm cells and in a matter of seconds the sperm cell will die if they are exposed to air, so we kill millions of it and “killing” is a mortal sin. “Killing” is only when the two cell are develop and formed as fetus then you terminate it and try to remove from your womb, that is already “killing” and it is called “Abortion”

* Through RH Bill, it can lessen the problems of the government with regards to the health of the Filipinos by preventing the spreading of AIDS in our country, it is very threatening that the number of Filipinos who are positive in AIDS is increasing, the usual victim of this syndrome are teenagers, they’re very active in engaging with sex maybe because of curiosity and lack of parents’ guidance, aside from AIDS they will also acquire various of sexually transmitted disease and infection but through RH Bill, those diseases will be prevented by using contraceptives and education regarding sex, enough knowledge regarding these topic can lead to a healthier life and a problem free living. Much has been written about the Reproductive Health bill and much has been argued for and against it, however, not all has been said * The statement that reproductive health means “free sex, use of contraceptives, abortion if contraception fails…” is not found anywhere on that bill. Use of contraceptives, yes, but free sex and abortion if contraception fails?! If you have read the bill, that’s definitely putting words into the authors’ mouth. Contraception as defined “poison in the wound, kill babies inside the womb.” In medical lingo, contraception is prevention of pregnancy so basically, you don’t kill any babies because in the 1st place, there aren’t any babies to kill. “condoms increases sexual activity, increases incidence of AIDS and other STDs.”

First of all, let me say that condoms are not the enemy here. Time brings change and one of those changes is a more liberated view on sexuality and sexual practices. Condoms are not for prevention of sex because sex is, to put it simply,impossible to prevent The argument that people are our greatest asset so why are we preventing birth? The bill doesn’t force couples to only have 2 children, rather, they provide them w/ an effective choice of being responsible parents by not having too many kids. Isn’t that the same w/ natural family planning?My point is this: natural family planning has been practiced since time began and it has never been effective. We have to admit that sex is probably one of the strongest forces on earth and is in us—and it is almost always impossible to control.

In the advent of poverty, price increases, STDs, AIDs and other crisis, we need to help our people, especially those on the lower end of the financial ladder, take care of their family by not having too many children too soon too fast and we can’t do that with the natural method because that method has failed over and over and over again. The reproductive health bill not only gives us a choice of which contraception is best for us—it prevents couples from having too many children whom they can’t feed, too many children whom they will leave to die in malnutrition, too many children who will not have an education. God may have told us to procreate but I’m sure he did not mean this way. Contraception is not a sin but having 10 kids and not being able to feed them and take care of them is more than just a sin—its violation of human rights and a child’s right. And it’s hard for me to see many pity children on streets. All we should do is to have the will to do our responsibility as educated people.

Advantage of RH BILL
Hopes to provide midwives for skilled attendance to childbirth and emergency obstetric care, even in geographically isolated and depressed areas. Thus, the one of the causes of maternal mortality, that arising from unattended births, will be addressed.

* undue focus being given to reproductive health and population and development, when many more urgent and important health problems need to be addressed in the country, those that cause a significant number of deaths across the country such as cardiovascular diseases and infections. Financial resources allotted by foreign donors to assist the Philippine government programs could actually be better spent towards pursuing health programs targeting communicable diseases than purchasing artificial contraceptives.

Possible Questions of the Opponent and Its Answers to the Questions * Very pertinent to the debate about reproduction rights is the right to life. The Philippine Constitution says that the State “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. If artificial contraceptives are medically proven to induce abortion as one of their mechanisms of action, then procurement and distribution of such family planning supplies are unconstitutional and illegal. * Q& A on the Reproductive Health Bill 4244

1. Will the RH bill adversely affect my family?

* The bill provides: “SEC. 16. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education. – … shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal education system starting from Grade Five up to Fourth Year High School…to both public and private schools…and shall include, but not limited to, the following topics: … i. Family planning methods; and j. Proscription and hazards of abortion.” In other words, our elementary and HS children will be taught contraceptives, condoms and abortion!

* If these topics should be taught, let the parents take the responsibility because they know the temperament and maturity of their children, which a classroom setting does not consider. Moreover, these should be taught in the context of Christian values. Therefore, the government should educate the parents instead of bypassing them and going directly to their children. Section Art. XV, Sec. 3 (1) provides: “The State shall defend: The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood…” This right and duty of parents is usurped by government by teaching the use of contraceptives and Safe Sex to our children in spite of many Catholic parents’ objection since these are against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

2. Does the RH bill force people to use contraceptives and/or legalize abortion?

* No, it does not penalize people for not using contraceptives. However, it forces some sectors of society to submit to provisions that may be against their faith and parental rights. This is answered in nos. 1, 9a, 9c, 9d, and 10.

* In addition, the bill does not legalize abortion, but it is silent on the abortifacient effect of contraceptives and IUDs.

3. The proponents of the RH Bill claim that 11 women a day die of pregnancy. Will the RH Bill reduce this number?

* According to the Philippine Health Statistics, there were 9,000 deaths from vehicular accidents. Should we then discourage or ban vehicular travel? In the same light, the government should look into the causes of women dying from childbirth, which can vary from lack of pregnancy health care service, including competent service providers, to insufficient medical supplies. The government should focus its resources to improving these, instead of preventing pregnancy.

* 4. Fifty (51%) of women want access to contraceptives which the RH Bill guarantees.

* Contraceptives are readily available and the DOH has been distributing contraceptives and condoms costing government is billions of pesos through the years. In spite of this, they want to legislate the compulsory purchase of these items by gov’t hospitals. It is really big business (see no. 10).

* Also, surveys cannot be the only basis for giving services and/or products to Filipinos. For example, if majority of Filipinos want to have guns for self-defense due to increasing crime rate, should the government then issue them guns?

* 5. Does the Catholic Church impose her beliefs on its congregation and even to non-Catholics who believe otherwise?

* Sex by God’s design must always be open to life. This is not mere Catholic teaching but a natural law that applies to all men of whatever race or religious conviction. It is for this reason that Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae said: “Of such laws the Church was not the author, nor consequently can she be their authority; she is only their depositary and their interpreter, without ever being able to declare to be licit that which is not so by reason of its intimate and unchangeable opposition to the true good of man.” In other words, she merely proclaims the truth regarding the openness to life of the marital act and the immorality of violating this natural law. Whether a couple (Catholic or not) listens to her and tolerates by this principle is not for the Church to interfere. That is why priests do not ask couples if they are using contraceptives or condoms before giving them communion. Neither does she prevent government from implementing its population program nor does she excommunicate the manufacturers and distributors of contraceptives and condoms. It is between them and God. And God who knows what is in their hearts is the only One who can judge them with compassion. However, if the Church should stop from speaking out these basic truths because times are changing, she would renege on her pastoral responsibility to her flock.

* 6. How certain are we that openness to life of sex is a natural law that applies to all men?

* Violation of natural laws brings inevitable consequences. When contraceptives became legal in the US in 1960, this facilitated the Sexual Revolution of the 60s and 70s. Sexual promiscuity became prevalent. In 1968, Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae warned of the devastating effects of this kind of behavior. Today, we are witnessing these consequences in society.

* RH bill wants to reduce our population instead of giving education to our people and preparing them for this unprecedented demand for human resources.

* 7. Should every sex act, then, end in pregnancy?

* Of course not, because bringing a child to life demands responsibility. For this reason, a woman is only fertile one day throughout her cycle. Signs and symptoms that tell her she is fertile accompany this day. With this knowledge, she and her husband may decide to have sex in order to conceive. If they are postponing pregnancy for some grave reason, this is the time to abstain. All other days outside this window of fertility are available to them to enjoy their conjugal act. This is the essence of responsible parenthood, which the Church teaches to engage couples.

* Contraceptives and condoms make a woman available for sex anytime. Consequently, any good thing that is enjoyed without restraint loses its value.

* 8. Do contraceptives and condoms give women the right to choose whether to become pregnant or not?

* Women never lose that right since they are the ones who get pregnant. That is why she can and should say no to her husband when the time is not right. This is real woman empowerment. And if he respects her, he will wait a few days. This is good in making a couple matured and responsible because they learn to discipline themselves instead of simply giving in to their natural desires.

9. What other constitutional rights does the bill violate?

* a) The RH bill will require: i) All schools (including Catholic schools) to teach artificial family planning methods to HS students; ii) Employers to give their employees reproductive health services; iii) Health care service providers to give contraceptives and perform vasectomy or ligation. This is a violation of Art. III, Sec. 5 of our Constitution that states: “…The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed.”

* b) No contraceptive is 100%. There is a 7% failure rate. This means there is a slim chance that fertilization may occur. However, the pill renders the uterus inhospitable to the fertilized egg, which is unable to attach itself to the uterine lining. It is therefore ejected out of the body. This is the meaning of ‘abortifacient’ effect, or chemical abortion. It is a gross violation of Art. II, Sec. 12 of our Constitution, which states: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception…”

* c) The RH Bill will allow a person to undergo vasectomy or ligation without the consent of the spouse. This is a violation of Art. XV, Sec. 2 of our Constitution that states: “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.”

* d) The bill will also allow abused and/or pregnant minors to seek reproductive health service without parental consent. This violates our parental right provided in Art. II, Sec. 12 of our constitution: “…The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.” *

* e) The bill will penalize any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of the bill. It violates Art. III, Sec. 4 of our Constitution, which provides that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press…”

10. How much money will the bill spend if implemented?

* The proponents of the RH Bill are asking an initial funding of P3B! Part of this is for the purchase contraceptive drugs and devices to be given to the poor. The bill will also require in Sec. 10 that “products and supplies for modern family planning methods shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.” This is big business for pharmaceutical companies whose purchase of its products will be required by law! It is clearly a misappropriation of taxpayer’s money when the billions of pesos they intend to spend could be used for other priorities like education, MRT or NFA subsidy.

11. Is it true that the bill carries penalties of fines and imprisonment for any violation?

* Yes. Sec. 29 of the bill provides: “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 (P 10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00)…”. This bill brings us back to the martial law years by the use of force or threats to make people do things against their will or faith.

12. Who are the authors of this bill?

* Ninety four (94) congressmen co-authored this bill.

Answered questions and thoughts about RH Bill
RH Bill. That’s (still) the hottest issue here in the Philippines. Like any other issue, some are pro while some are anti. The pro RH bill says we need choices and we need family planning so that the overpopulation of this country can have its solution. On the other hand, the anti-RH bill are often the religious people. They say condom is bad. They say a lot of things, but that’s their main point: using condom is “immoral”. I used to agree with the pro RH bill people. I don’t see anything wrong with parents using condom. Not everyone can resort to natural family planning like the one where you have to count the days of menstruation. Not every woman has a normal menstruation cycle. Immoral condom

How some have concluded that condom’s immoral is beyond me. Look, the sperm cell and the egg cell haven’t met yet ( and won’t ever meet. Thank condom!) So did you just kill a “baby” when you used the condom? Certainly not. No baby has been formed yet. All we have are sperm and egg cells, which by the way, will inevitably “die” whether you use a condom or not. Free contraceptives

Is there a part in #RHbill that says the govt will give away free condoms if the bill is enacted? Thanks Carlos Celdran “Government health offices will have free condoms for those who choose to get them and want them. It will not be forced on people.” But why should the govt buy condoms for those who want to use them? Shouldn’t they shell out their own money for it? “Filipino poor can’t afford. Only rich Filipinos can afford family planning. This evens the field for rich and poor families,” Celdran replied. The church has nothing to do when the country is overpopulated because the church and the state must be separated and government has the right to approve anything for the good of its territory.

Q: Is the RH Bill rejected by all major Philippine religious groups?

A: No.

In April 2011, the Interfaith Partnership for the Promotion of Responsible Parenthood (IPPRP) released a statement supporting the value of responsible parenthood and how the RH Bill espouses it. The signatories included the following religious institutions: 1. national council of churches in the Philippines (nccp) 2. united church of Christ of the Philippines – Philippine council of evangelical churches (pcec) 3. united Methodist church (umc)

4. Philippines for Jesus movement (pjm)
5. Iglesia Filipino independiente (ifi)
6. christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines (Inc (CAMACOP) 7. seventh day Adventist (SDA)
8. Salvation Army – Iglesia ni Cristo (INC)
9. Catholics for Reproductive Health (C4RH)

Islam has similarly expressed support for the RH Bill. Only the CBCP and the Catholic Church hierarchy in the Philippines continue to oppose it. They do, however, recognize and respect the opinions of other churches.

Q: Is there a connection between population size and poverty?

A: Yes.
There is a strong link across poverty, rapid population growth, and large, unplanned family sizes. It is internationally recognized that rapid population growth (of 2% or more annually) is more likely to impede than promote economic development. According to the UN State of the World Population Report, “family planning and reproductive health are essential to reducing poverty,” and “countries that invest in reproductive health and family planning and in women’s development register slower population growth and faster economic growth.” The Asian Development Bank cites a large population as one of the major cause of poverty in the Philippines: “Population growth in and of itself is not a problem if resources are available to cope with the additional people requiring public services, employment, housing, and so on. But in a country where the budget is already stretched and where poverty is high to begin with, population growth becomes a major issue.”

Q: Will sex education and contraceptive use increase the spread of STDs?

A: No.
Sex education in the RH Bill is about warning everyone about the risks and dangers involved with reproductive health. Proper sex education encourages the youth to seek correct guidance rather than rely on media or word of mouth. Condoms have also been proven to be effective as both artificial contraceptives, and preventing the transmission of AIDS/HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases if used properly. Scientific studies, such as those conducted by USAID in Africa, provide evidence that latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can greatly reduce the possibility of HIV infection, and can also prevent the spread of gonorrhea and chlamydia infections in both women and men.

Q: Will sex education promote promiscuity?

A: No.
Condoms have been proven effective artificial contraceptives, and are virtually100% effective in preventing the transmission of AIDS/HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases as shown by research conducted in Europe. Scientific studies of sexually active discordant couples, where one partner is infected with HIV and the other partner is not, have demonstrated that the correct and consistent use of latex condoms reduces the likelihood of HIV infection by 80 to 90%.According to WHO: Over 1,000 reports on sex education programs worldwide show that sex education courses did not lead to earlier sexual intercourse. In some cases they delayed it. In 22 studies, sexual health education delayed the onset of sexual activity, reduced the number of sexual partners, or reduced unplanned pregnancy and STD rates. In 27 studies: sexual health education neither increased nor decreased sexual activity and attendant rates of pregnancy and STDs. Only 3 studies found increases in sexual behaviour associated with sexual health education.

Q: Natural family planning is free and effective. Why shouldn’t we use that instead? A: NFP is not effective. NFP has never played a role in fertility decline in any country.According to the Guttmacher Institute, NFP has a 25.3% failure rate and results in 35% of abortions. Non-users and NFP users account for 9 of 10 unintended pregnancies. NFP programs are only used by 0.5% of married women in the Philippines, despite Catholic Church programs, and costs just as much money for training, replication, and follow up. NFP contradicts and nullifies the central principle of the Catholic Church position on contraceptives. Prof. Luc Bovens, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, London School of Economics and Political Science, says that about 2 to 3 embryos die for every pregnancy that occurs using the rhythm method. The rhythm method may well be responsible for massive embryonic death. 20% of eggs come in contact with sperm. Of this 20%, 16.8 % have successful fertilization and 13.8% have successful implantation. Only 6.2% of the fetus comes to term. Not all women have regular menstrual cycle so, the calendar method is not
applicable for them to use.

Q: Can the Philippines support its rapidly increasing population? A: No. The Philippines is already living beyond its means and cannot sustainablydevelop its resources to manage rapid population growth. The growing population, combined with inconsistent governance, has increased the Philippines’ resource demand from less than its own biocapacity in 1961 to more than double itsdomestically available biocapacity in 2002.Investing in family planning services will save several billion pesos, which can be usedfor critical social services. The latest US and Philippine research show that governments annually spenda minimum of Php 5.5 billion in healthcare costs to address unintended pregnancies and their complications. By contrast, only Php 2.0-3.5 billion annually is needed to fund acomprehensive range of voluntary family planning services for the entirecountry, which also results in a more sustainable population to provide for.

Summary of Major Provisions
The bill mandates the government to “promote, without bias, all effective natural and modern methods of family planning that are medically safe and legal.” Although abortion is recognized as illegal and punishable by law, the bill states that “the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner.” The bill calls for a “multi-dimensional approach” integrates a component of family planning and responsible parenthood into all government anti-poverty programs. Under the bill, age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education is required from grade five to fourth year high school using “life-skills and other approaches.” The bill also mandates the Department of Labor and Employment to guarantee the reproductive health rights of its female employees.

Companies with less than 200 workers are required to enter into partnership with health care providers in their area for the delivery of reproductive health services. Employers with more than 200 employees shall provide reproductive health services to all employees in their own respective health facilities. Those with less than 200 workers shall enter into partnerships with health professionals for the delivery of reproductive health services. Employers shall inform employees of the availability of family planning services. They are also obliged to monitor pregnant working employees among their workforce and ensure they are provided paid half-day prenatal medical leaves for each month of the pregnancy period that they are employed. The national government and local governments will ensure the availability of reproductive health care services, including family planning and prenatal care. Any person or public official who prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically safe reproductive health care services will be meted penalty by imprisonment or a fine.

Summary of support
Proponents argue: (1) Economic studies, especially the experience in Asia, show that rapid population growth and high fertility rates, especially among the poor, exacerbate poverty and make it harder for the government to address it. (2) Empirical studies show that poverty incidence is higher among big families. Smaller families and wider birth intervals could allow families to invest more in each child’s education, health, nutrition and eventually reduce poverty and hunger at the household level. (3) Ten to eleven maternal deaths daily could be reduced if they had access to basic healthcare and essential minerals like iron and calcium, according to the DOH;

(4) Studies show that 44% of the pregnancies in the poorest quintile are unanticipated, and among the poorest women who would like to avoid pregnancy, at least 41% do not use any contraceptive method because of lack of information or access.[9][10] and “Among the poorest families, 22% of married women of reproductive age express a desire to avoid pregnancies but are still not using any family planning method,”[9] (5) use of contraception, which the World Health Organization has listed as essential medicines,[13][14]will lower the rate of abortions as it has done in other parts of the world, according to the Guttmacher Institute.[15] (6) An SWS survey of 2008 showed that 71% of the respondents are in favor of the bill,[16] (7) at the heart of the bill is the free choice given to people on the use of reproductive health, enabling the people, especially the poor to have the number of children they want and can care for.

Summary of criticism
Opponents of the bill argue that: (1) “The world’s leading scientific experts” have resolved the issues related to the bill and show that the “RH Bill is based on wrong economics” as the 2003 Rand Corporation study shows that “there is little cross-country evidence that population growth impedes or promotes economic growth”. (2) The bill takes away limited government funds from treating many high priority medical and food needs and transfers them to fund objectively harmful and deadly devices. The latest studies in scientific journals and organizations show that the ordinary birth control pill, and the IUD are abortifacient to 100-celled human embryos: they kill the embryonic human, who as such are human beings equally worthy of respect, making the bill unconstitutional. (3) US National Defense Consultant, Lionel Tiger, has shown empirical evidence that contraceptives have deleterious social effects (abortion, premarital sex, female impoverishment, fatherless children, teenage pregnancies, and poverty). Harvard School of Public Health scientist Edward Green observes that ‘when people think they’re made safe by using condoms at least some of the time, they actually engage in riskier sex’, in the phenomenon called “risk compensation”.There is evidence for increased risk of cancer (breast, cervical, liver) as well as significant increase of risk for heart attack and stroke for current users of oral contraceptives.

The increased usage of contraceptives, which implies that some babies are unwanted, will eventually lead to more abortion; the correlation was shown in a scientific journal and acknowledged by pro-RH leaders, (4) People’s freedom to access contraceptives is not restricted by any opposing law, being available in family planning NGOs, stores, etc. The country is not a welfare state: taxpayer’s money should not be used for personal practices that are harmful and immoral; it can be used to inform people of the harm of BCPs. (5) The penal provisions constitute a violation of free choice and conscience, and establishes religious persecution. President Aquino stated he was not an author of the bill. He also stated that he gives full support to a firm population policy, educating parents to be responsible, providing contraceptives to those who ask for them, but he refuses to promote contraceptive use. He said that his position “is more aptly called responsible parenthood rather than reproductive health.

Mostly Ask Questions:

1. Where does the DOH get their budget for condoms?
2. As a student, how would you describe RH Bill? How it affects people’s manner?
3. Can RH Bill stop early pregnancy?
4. What is the penalty if you violate the law?
5. If RH Bill is the solution to the poverty of the country, how can make our country a develop one?

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