Reproductive Health Bill: For Better or For Worse?
Poverty and overpopulation are two of the biggest national concern the Philippines have right now. Many solutions have been made to alleviate these problems but none of them seem to work. One of which is The Reproductive Health Bill of the Philippines, or RH Bill. This bill allows Filipinos access to contraceptives and an opportunity to be enlightened on the topic of family planning. The bill was first introduced in 1998 but somewhat died in the years after. Not until the year 2011 that the Congress decided to once again open its door for discussion on the RH bill. The basic condition of this bill is to introduce Filipinos and distribute to them family planning devices. It also aims for health care centers all over the country to circulate information on how to properly use them. Companies and schools are also encouraged to do the same with their employees and students. Through this, the bill intends to alleviate the problem of overpopulation in the Philippines. The bill, like any other thing in the world, is surrounded by controversies. It is actually a really good bill but a lot of people are opposing it. The number one group who opposes it is the Catholic Church. Though not entirely stated in the bill, the Church implies that the bill entails abortion, something that is greatly against the teaching and morals of the Church.
Now, is the RH Bill good for us or not?
According to the Senate Policy Brief titled Promoting Reproductive Health, the history of reproductive health in the Philippines dates back to 1967 when leaders of 12 countries including the Philippines' Ferdinand Marcos signed the Declaration on Population. The Philippines agreed that the population problem should be considered as the principal element for long-term economic development. Thus, the Population Commission was created to push for a lower family size norm and provide information and services to lower fertility rates. Starting 1967, the USAID started shouldering 80% of the total family planning commodities (contraceptives) of the country, which amounted to US$ 3 Million annually. In 1975, the United States adopted as its policy the National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200). The policy gives "paramount importance" to population control measures and the promotion of contraception among 13 populous countries, including the Philippines to control rapid population growth which they deem to be inimical to the socio-political and economic growth of these countries and to the national interests of the United States, since the "U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad", and these countries can produce destabilizing opposition forces against the United States. It recommends the US leadership to "influence national leaders" and that "improved world-wide support for population-related efforts should be sought through increased emphasis on mass media and other population education and motivation programs by the UN, USIA, and USAID. Different presidents had different points of emphasis. President Marcos pushed for a systematic distribution of contraceptives all over the country, a policy that was called "coercive," by its leading administrator. The Cory Aquino administration focused on giving couples the right to have the number of children they prefer, while the Ramos presidency shifted from population control to population management. Estrada used mixed methods of reducing fertility rates, while Arroyo focused on mainstreaming natural family planning, while stating that contraceptives are openly sold in the country. In 1989, the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) was established, "dedicated to the formulation of viable public policies requiring legislation on population management and...
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