Reproductive Health Bill is one of the hottest issues now in our country. Is it good or bad? Will it benefit us? Or is it really us that will be benefited? Does it actually answer or satisfy the need of the country? Or it is just another way of the government to make money? Whatever the answer is, the decision still lies on the people. The House Bill No. 4244 which states “An Act providing for a national policy on reproductive health, responsible parenthood and population development, and for other purposes.” The reproductive health bill promotes information 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. The bill does not have any bias for or against either natural or modern family planning. Both modes are contraceptive methods. Their common purpose is to prevent unwanted pregnancies. 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. However, the bill is controversial, as it is being opposed by concerned citizens, especially the pro-life, pro-family and pro-God groups, regardless of creed or religion. Debates and rallies supporting and opposing the bills have been happening nationwide.
Background of the Study
The first time the Reproductive Health Bill was proposed 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. Dale Bernard Tuddao, 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 31 January 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 the 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 intelligible national population policy.” As policy it states that the State "guarantees universal access to medically-safe, legal, affordable, effective and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information and education thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, among other underprivileged sectors." The bill is highly divisive, with experts, academics, religious institutions, and major political figures supporting and opposing it, often criticizing the government and each other in the process. The Roman Catholic Church expresses its opposition against the bill on many counts,...