Draft for an anti-RH Bill: Maternal Health Bill of 2011

The Catholic Church and anti-RH bill lawmakers have always been on the defensive after years of siege by the proponents of the RH Bill. The RH bill forces will never tire: they have the funding of multinational pharmaceuticals who make contraceptives, abortion companies like Planned Parenthood, and UN commissions who push for reproductive health.

What the anti-RH Bill forces need is a counter-attack on the RH-Bill forces’ flanks.  We must fight the RH Bill by proposing a contrary bill (read the parable of the unclean spirit (Lk 11:24-26)).  The Reproductive Health Bill is a misnomer and a lie: the bill does not concern reproduction but contraception and contraceptives endanger the woman’s health.  The Maternal Health Bill that I propose is really for maternal health, which concerns both the mother and the child:  the word “maternal” does not only refer to the woman but also to her child, for how can a woman be a mother, a “mater”, if she has no child?  A woman’s right over her body should never trample on the rights of the child in her womb over his body.

This anti-RH bill shall divert the time and resources of the pro-RH forces, for one cannot fight at the same time both the impregnable wall that is the Catholic Church and the new menace that may spell the doom of RH in the Philippines.  (News Flash: Cong. Manny Pacquiao’s anti-RH bill  knocks out Sen. Miriam Santiago’s RH bill).   And if this anti-RH bill becomes a law, it will be one layer of defense wall against the renewed assault of the pro-RH bill forces in the future.  As Gandalf would said to the Balrog in the battle of the Bridge of Khazadum: “You cannot pass!”

Below is a draft of the bill that I propose, following the outline of the Consolidated RH Bill,  House Bill 4244, “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health andPopulation and Development Act of 2011” and Senator Miriam Santiago’s Senate Bill 2378, The Reproductive Health Act.  I hope a congressman or senator can improve my draft bill and sponsor it as a congressional or senate bill.  Please spread the word.

Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr., Monk’s Hobbit

St. Albert the Great, pray for us.  

St. Bobo, pray for us.

Section 1.  Title

This act shall be known as the “Maternal Health Bill of 2011”.

Section 2.  Declaration of Policy

“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. The natural and primary right and duty of the parents in rearing of the youth into civic efficiency and the development of the moral character shall receive support from the government.” (1987 Philippine Constitution Art. II, Sec. 12)

Section 3.  Guiding Principles

This act declares the following as guiding principles:

  1. A human being is formed when a sperm fertilizes an egg.  Many contraceptive pills are actually abortifacients because they prevent the fertilized egg to cling to the uterine walls and the fertilized egg dies.
  2. Every child has a right to be conceived in his mother’s womb through the union of his father’s sperm and his mother’s egg through sexual intercourse.
  3.  Every child conceived has the right to be born alive.
  4. The use of condoms and contraceptive pills makes fornication and adultery easier because the woman involved will not get pregnant and the scandalous affair is not brought to light.  Fornication leads to low marriage rates and adultery increases the breakdown of marriages.
  5. The use of condoms and and contraceptive pills contributes to environmental pollution.  In particular, when the contraceptive chemicals are excreted from the woman’s body through urine, these chemicals enter the sewage  system,  down to our rivers and streams, and back to our drinking water.  The female sex hormones in the water contributes to the impotence of males.
  6. Contraceptive pills interrupt women’s natural fertility cycle. Furthermore, the use of contraceptive pills has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.
  7. The use of condoms and contraceptive pills lessen the respect of the husband to the wife, making her an object to be used anytime, anywhere, without regard to her natural fertility cycle.
  8. The use of condoms increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases: those who use condoms think that having sex is safer, so they increase the frequency of their sexual intercourse and the number of their sexual partners.
  9. The use of condoms and contraceptive pills leads to a notion that a child is not a gift but a burden, so that if the contraception fails and a child is conceived, the next recourse is abortion.  Countries who made contraception into a law ended up making abortion into a human right.
  10. Willful abortion is a criminal offense because a human being is killed.
  11. Growing population is not a problem, but graft and corruption.  Decline in population leads to a graying population which would decrease the number of taxpayers and increase the numbers of old pensioners, leading to economic collapse.
  12. The children are the hope of our country, said Dr. Jose Rizal. It is not the duty of the state to mandate the number of children per household, but to provide opportunities for each child conceived to grow to become responsible citizens of the country.
  13. Those who contribute to the pollution of our environment or to the destruction of our families must be must be the one who shall be taxed in order for the government to clean up the mess.
Section 4. Definition of Terms
  1. Maternal health refers to the biological capacity of a woman to do the all of the four functions: (a) conceive a child through sexual intercourse with a man, (b) carry the child in her womb for nine months, (c) give birth to the child through normal delivery, (d) and breastfeed the child immediately after birth until the child does not anymore need breastmilk.
  2. Maternal death is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes (World Health Organization)
  3. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman as witnessed by the State for the the purpose of raising a family.
  4. Fornication or pre-marital sex is the sexual intercourse between the unmarried man and an unmarried woman
  5. Adultery is the sexual intercourse with a partner who is married to another.
  6. Contraceptives are devices or chemicals that hinders the meeting between the sperm and egg during sexual intercourse
  7. Abortifacients are substances or chemicals that induce abortion.
  8. Sex hormones are sex-specific chemicals that are naturally produced by the human body.  Males have male hormones, females have female hormones.
  9. Abortion is the killing of an unborn child in the womb.
  10. Fertility cycle is the reproductive cycle of which define the days when she is fertile and when she is not.
  11. Natural family planning refers to the study of the woman’s fertility cycle to determine the proper times for sexual intercourse for the proper spacing of births.
  12. Sexually transmitted diseases refers to diseases that are transmitted through sexual intercourse, such as AIDS and HIV.
Section 5.  Contraception, Abortion, and Fertility Treatments
  1. Contraceptives imported from other countries are subject to 100% tariff. Contraceptives donated from other countries will also be subject to 100% tariff based on their estimated value.  Thirty-five percent (35%) of the tariff shall go to the National Treasury, 30% shall go to the Department of Health (DOH) for its Maternal Health Programs, 15 % shall go to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and 15% shall go to a special research fund of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).  This special research fund shall be awarded to research proposals for development of ways to monitor and remove women sex hormones in rivers, lakes, and drinking water.  These funds shall be included in the yearly appropriations of the Philippine government budget.
  2. Contraceptives produced in the country are subject to 50% production tax.  Contraceptives sold in the country are subject to 50% sales tax.
  3. Contraceptives that do not require surgery or taking in of chemicals can be purchased over-the-counter in pharmacies, e.g. condoms.  Contraceptives that require the absorption of chemicals in a man’s or woman’s body can only be bought through doctor’s prescription.  Contraceptives that require surgery shall be considered contraband goods.
  4. Ligation in men and women as a form of contraception shall not be allowed.  Doctors and nurses who took part in  these surgeries shall have their medical licenses revoked for three (3) years.
  5. The Department of Health shall provide a list of chemical contraceptives that are abortifacients.  The importation, manufacture, and sale of these contraceptives shall be prohibited and these contraceptives shall be considered contraband goods.
  6. Willful termination of a normal pregnancy (abortion) is a criminal offense.  The doctor or nurse who took part in these surgeries shall be tried in a criminal court.
  7. Fertility treatments which require fertilization outside the woman’s womb shall not be allowed in the country.  Doctors and nurses who took part in these treatments shall have their medical licenses revoked for three years.
  8. Contraceptives shall not be classified as essential medicines and their purchase shall not be covered by PhilHealth.  No government fund must be used for the purchase of contraceptives or for the promotion of their use.  Government funds shall only be used by DOH for Natural Family Planning and other Maternal Health Programs.
  9. Hospitals shall be required to have pregnancy crisis centers for counselling women who are thinking of aborting their child due to rape, incest, abandonment, etc.  These centers will be staffed by DOH and DSWD personnel or DOH and DSWD-accredited personnel.  They shall also be funded by donors from the private sector and NGO’s.  The purpose of these centers is to convince the women to let their baby live, and give it up for adoption at least.  The women shall be shown the ultrasound–in 4G if possible–what their baby looks like in the womb–pointing out the head, the arms, the feet, fingers, and toes.  Once the baby is delivered, the mother of the baby may decide to keep the baby or give him up for adoption.
  10. The DOH and DSWD shall publish a joint list of accredited pregnancy crisis centers and child adoption centers.  This list shall be made available to all hospitals.
Section 6.  Marriage and Sex Education
  1. All couples who wish to get married must attend lectures on possible sources of conflicts in marriage and how to resolve them to make marriage and family life wonderful.  The Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) shall conduct these lectures at least once a year.  The DSWS can also accredit centers who shall do these lectures.
  2. The couples who wish to get married must also take lectures on natural family planning, fetal development, breastfeeding, and child development.  The Department of Health (DOH) shall conduct these lectures once a year.  The DOH can also accredit centers who shall do these lectures.
  3.  Sex education in elementary and high schools is only limited to that body’s fertility cycle, sexual reproduction, and child development as taught in Biology.  The harmful effects of chemical contraceptives may also be taught.  The use of condoms should not be taught in elementary and high school.
  4. Values formation classes should stress the dignity of marriage, the gift of a child, and social responsibility.  These classes should discuss the problems  resulting from the contraceptive mentality such as pre-marital sex, adultery, and divorce, and abortion.  These classes should discuss how these things destroy family and society.  The Department of Education shall review the existing curriculum on values education and incorporate these topics if these were not included before.
Section 7.  Maternal Health
  1. Couples may use PhilHealth for the ultrasound imaging of a developing fetus in his mother’s womb, provided that such a procedure is prescribed by a doctor.
  2. The benefits of paternity and maternity shall be availed by the couples as stipulated in the existing laws.
  3. The delivery efficiency of midwives shall be labeled in their DOH certified identification card.  The delivery efficiency is the ratio of two numbers: total live births delivered divided by total births delivered, computed since the start of her career.  Both the fraction and percent efficiency should be displayed.  Midwives with the highest yearly number of live births  assisted with 100% delivery efficiency shall be given an award by the provincial DOH at least Php 10,000 in cash and a plaque of appreciation.
  4. All midwives, nurses, and doctors who have assisted delivery cases wherein the infant or the mother died or both shall inform the DOH.  A  DOH personnel shall interview the medical practitioners involved on the sequence of events and the possible causes of death.  These interviews shall be recorded in text, audio, or video.  The transcribed interviews shall be sent to provincial DOH centers for making a yearly report.  From this data, midwifery practices that are shown to correspond higher incidence of infant and maternal deaths shall be eliminated or modified.  DOH shall then issue revised protocols on child delivery and maternal health.
  5. All hospitals in a province are required to submit to provincial DOH centers the statistics on infant and maternal mortality, starting from the child is in the womb until the child is released from the hospital.
  6. At the end of each year, the provincial DOH centers shall make a summary report of the child mortality per hospital and and health center.
  7. Doctors, nurses, and midwives must see to it that the newborn child is breastfed by the mother.
  8. Hospitals should only display the benefits of breastmilk in posters.    Dairy products should not be prominently advertised in hospitals as breast-milk substitutes.  Purchase of breastmilk substitutes require a doctor’s prescription.
  9. Malls must have designated breastfeeding stations where a mother can breastfeed her child in private.  These stations should be clearly marked and its location should be available in the information booth and the mall map.  Mall owners shall be given a year to comply to this requirement.  Malls that fail to comply shall have their business permit revoked .
Section 8. Separability Clause, Repealing Clause, and Effectivity
  1. Separability Clause.  If any part of this act is considered invalid or unconstitutional, other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in force and effect.
  2. Repealing Clause.  All other laws, decrees, ordinances, rules and regulations which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended, or modified accordingly.
  3. Effectivity.  This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

11 Responses to Draft for an anti-RH Bill: Maternal Health Bill of 2011

  1. irked says:

    Section 6 is very preemptive. You do not allow the person to think for himself. Instead, a particular paradigm or stance is already assumed. This is not the spirit of education. It is the spirit of imposition. Where is discourse? Where is dialogue? It is unfair that a particular position is already assumed to be true and hammered down the rest of a student’s life.

  2. parentingLD says:

    @irked: i see section 6 as a proposed curriculum. as for discourse and dialogue, the audience (whether they’re students or couples) can always raise questions to the lecturer. a good lecturer would anticipate the questions of his audience and should be able to facilitate a dialogue should there be conflicting views. what do you think should be added to qualify for good education?

    @monk’s hobbit: i’d like to commend sec 3 point #2. i don’t believe anyone has had the guts to raise this recently.

  3. parentingLD says:

    i also hope that laws on domestic violence take on more teeth. did you know that there are wives out there who actually prefer to be pregnant so that they can avoid becoming a punching bag of their husbands?

  4. This proposal is so clear and comprehensive! And to irked, as a general the spirit of education is not ‘freedom of thought’ but the student’s assimilation of the truth. That the human heart is a pump providing for the necessary circulation of the blood is not debated in medical school, nor is it necessary to debate whether or not contraception is bad for the individuals concerned both spiritually and physically. Do you wish to debate that? It will never be a dialogue in the sense of equality among the positions, because the facts are in. To continue dialogue on the subject is like continuing to debate whether a bridge will fall down if the supports are removed every time you build a bridge. Look at what has happened to the societies where birth control is practiced widely. Those facts are in. They are crying for help that will not and cannot come; it’s too late. Google demographics and Sweden/Japan/Germany/Russia/Italy/Greece/Iran/the list could go on and on. The dialogue is over.

    This proposal is so kind to women. All over the world, women have mistakenly tried to escape being women through the mistreatment of their women’s bodies, with the help of the worst exploiters who also find the good treatment of women to be an expense, and their profits lowered. This proposal lets women be women, provides for a better economy due to the assured growth of population, which is also kind to women, and most of all, respects the unborn child.

    I wish we could help this initiative in the US. I will try to get Obama out of office, because his misguided liberalism was part of the HR bill US aid policy has encouraged in your country. That might help some. And I will pray. (If you could think of anything else, I’d like to hear it.)

    Be brave. All the irked’s, with their infantile sexuality, are stirred up like hornets.

  5. St. obob says:

    This bill limits women’s choices. Assumes a lot, too. A lot of vague terms IMO.

  6. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    st. obob,

    Please write down all the vague terms you find so that I can define them.

  7. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    ParentingLD,

    I checked out the Republic Act No. 9262 Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004 (Promulgated March 08, 2004). The clause on violence against pregnant women is this: “If the acts are committed while the woman or child is pregnant or committed in the presence of her child, the penalty to be applied shall be the maximum period of penalty prescribed in the section (of the Revised Penal Code)”.

    Sec. 6. Penalties.- The crime of violence against women and their children, under Section 5 hereof shall be punished according to the following rules:

    (a) Acts falling under Section 5(a) constituting attempted, frustrated or consummated parricide or murder or homicide shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of the Revised Penal Code.

    If these acts resulted in mutilation, it shall be punishable in accordance with the Revised Penal Code; those constituting serious physical injuries shall have the penalty of prision mayor; those constituting less serious physical injuries shall be punished by prision correccional; and those constituting slight physical injuries shall be punished by arresto mayor.

    Acts falling under Section 5(b) shall be punished by imprisonment of two degrees lower than the prescribed penalty for the consummated crime as specified in the preceding paragraph but shall in no case be lower than arresto mayor.

    (b) Acts falling under Section 5(c) and 5(d) shall be punished by arresto mayor;

    (c) Acts falling under Section 5(e) shall be punished by prision correccional;

    (d) Acts falling under Section 5(f) shall be punished by arresto mayor;

    (e) Acts falling under Section 5(g) shall be punished by prision mayor;

    (f) Acts falling under Section 5(h) and Section 5(i) shall be punished by prision mayor.

    If the acts are committed while the woman or child is pregnant or committed in the presence of her child, the penalty to be applied shall be the maximum period of penalty prescribed in the section.

    In addition to imprisonment, the perpetrator shall (a) pay a fine in the amount of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not more than three hundred thousand pesos (300,000.00); (b) undergo mandatory psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment and shall report compliance to the court.

  8. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    ParentingLD,

    Here is what the Book of Exodus says regarding violence against pregnant women:

    “When men have a fight and hurt a pregnant woman, so that she suffers a miscarriage, but no further injury, the guilty one shall be fined as much as the woman’s husband demands of him, and he shall pay in the presence of the judges.” (Ex 21:22)

  9. parentingLD says:

    thank you for the references on anti-violence against pregnant women. though my concern is quite different. it’s generally how husbands regard their wives. i think it’s related in their machismo or ego, or something they’ve seen during their own childhood with their own fathers. mostly in the slums where self respect and dignity is low in some men who couldn’t provide for their family well, they take it out on their wives. then these wives, probably as modeled by their own mothers who lack access to proper education and lacking in self respect too, give in. the wives’ only defense? get pregnant! why? because their husbands STOP beating them when they get pregnant. from the time they learn that they are pregnant to the time they give birth, they get about 7 months free of getting beat up. so a child is born because he was used by his poor mother to escape violence, and we all know what usually happens next. this story is not uncommon.

  10. moonshadow says:

    Sir, here are some gentle comments/suggestions for improvement.The title sounds one sided, perhaps it would have been better if the title would connote a picture of people working together because this is all about the well-being of the whole family.

    For section 3, numbers 1,5,and 6 these are new findings, maybe you can also include attachments on recent researches/findings/tangible evidences. Few lawyers, senators, or people in the government do not know these.

    For Sect. 5, nos.1 & 2, these imply that if you have the money then you can buy and use contraceptives.
    no. 5 . The woman who willfully terminates pregnancy,and other people responsible in such termination should also be punished. In the Philippines, we also have “hilots”, etc…

    For Sect. 6 : There are other considerations that should also be noted including the ff:

    In reality, there are couples who do not undergo marriage seminars for some other reasons like “living in” is already becoming a norm, people do not believe in marriage, etc… so perhaps there should also be seminars for all unmarried couples?????

    There should also be programs for out of school youth.

    Guidance programs/ lectures stressing on the sacred nature of sex should also be considered since technology is already misguiding us. Many people are doing it like an ordinary game. Husbands/men treat their wives as sex objects.

    Not everyone are brought up in the same way, perhaps controlling that biological urge should also be taught????????????

    For Sect.7, no. 7, There are instances when a mother cannot really produce milk
    no. 8,more information dissemination campaigns on the goodness of breastfeeding
    no.9, breastfeeding areas should also be found in the market, parks, and other places, not only in the malls

    There are still so many points to consider in this part of the web and this is a good start. Good job sir!

  11. StScholastica says:

    There are two main principles that one has to remember.
    As Catholics, it is our moral duty to be influential in society as to uphold the Social Kingship of Christ (meaning the right that Christ the King has over all of creation), and his teachings.
    As dutiful members of society, we are also obligated to uphold a fair and just expense of the taxes we render unto the Government.
    Being a Democracy, our government exists to serve the interests of the people it govern.
    And in this case the tax dollars that would be spent on this program would be better spent on many other programs, programs that would improve life and livelihood.
    Maybe Filipinos who feel strongly enough in opposition of this bill and having their tax dollars spent on it should consider a tax boycott to let the government know they mean business.
    Follow the money trail, that is when you will see where most of these proponents loyalties lie.

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