The Philippines Reproductive Health Bill

The RH Bill covers a wide range of health-related issues affecting women, and thereby directly affecting all Filipino families. If made into a law, this would be the first Philippine law that directly intends to control the population of the country through aggressive information dissemination on responsible family planning methods.

Contraceptives would be considered essential medicine and hospital-based family planning methods such as IUD insertion, vasectomy and ligation would be made available at government health centers. The ideal family size of two children per family would be encouraged. Through education, the bill proposes the improvement of women’s overall health by lowering the risk of complications from childbirth, unwanted pregnancies, infertility, decreased exposure to abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. Men would also be made responsible for reproductive issues. Children of school age would be taught lessons on family planning, starting at grade 5 to high school. Engaged couples would have to undergo family planning seminars prior to the issuance of their marriage license. Breastfeeding would also be further promoted.

The bill aims to curtail the population to be able to keep up with any economic development. It is created with the masses in mind, as the ones in the lowest income brackets tend to have the most children.
Lagman also said that there are ten to 11 women who die daily while giving birth, and this could be prevented through contraception. He also said that use of contraception will lower the rate of abortions.
According to the proponents of the bill, an effective population control program is instrumental to any economic development plan for it to succeed. Even with the passage of the bill, it will take at least three decades for its effects to be felt because of the strong momentum of the current population growth.

Some definitions used:

Reproductive Health Care – 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 satisfying and safe sex life, that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so, provided that these are not against the law. This further implies that women and men attain equal relationships in matters related to sexual relations and reproduction.

Reproductive Rights – 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 and reproductive health.

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