Enough! Stop the onslaught towards abortion: a position paper against House Bills 17 and 812 and their substitute bills

ENOUGH! STOP THE ONSLAUGHT TOWARDS ABORTION

A Position Paper Against House Bills 17 and 812 and their Substitute Bill/s:

House Bill 17: AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Introduced by Honorable Edcel C. Lagman, for the 14th Congress

House Bill 812: AN ACT PROVIDING FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE STRUCTURES AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Introduced by Honorable Janette L. Garin, M.D., for the 14th Congress

Honorable Legislators of the Committee, we come before you on behalf of the ALLIANCE FOR THE FAMILY FOUNDATION in defense of the DIGNITY OF LIFE, the DIGNITY OF THE POOR, and the institutions of MARRIAGE and the FAMILY in the Philippines.

We continue to oppose House Bill (HB 17), which is substantially the same as HB 3773, widely recognized as “The Two-Child Policy Bill” which was the consolidated Substitute for HB 16, 2029, 2042, and 2550, from the 13th Congress.

We continue to oppose HB 812, the third attempt of our legislators to introduce this Abortion Bill. It is substantially the same as HB 2029 from the 13th Congress and HB 4110 from the 12th Congress.

It is time to completely expose the masquerade of House Bills 17 and 812, and reveal directly and unequivocally that all their objections notwithstanding, these Bills will lead towards legalization of abortion in the Philippines and state-funded anti-natalist policies.

We reject these proposed Bills in their totality for the following reasons:

1. Recent documents prove without any doubt that advocates of “reproductive health” and “reproductive rights” are advocates of abortion.

a) The terms “reproductive health,” “reproductive rights,” “reproductive health rights,” “reproductive health care,” “reproductive health services.” “sexual rights” confront us once again, along with the repeated denials that these Bills will legalize abortion.

For instance, Section 4 of HB 812 defines Family Planning as: “g) Family planning – that which enables couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children…provided that abortion is not included as a family planning method.” Likewise there is reference to prevention of abortion in Section 5 of HB 812: “e) Undertake programs for the prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications… nothing in this Act changes the law on abortion…” Section 3.j. of HB 17 states: “While nothing in this Act changes the law on abortion, as abortion remains a crime and is punishable…”

Despite these apparent reassurances, we maintain that based on usage, “reproductive health” has become a universally accepted reference for all products and services that would deny women their pregnancies, and instead promote birth control and abortion.

Consider the recent evidence from one of the large advocacy groups on reproductive rights, The Center for Reproductive Rights. The group states:

“At the core of reproductive rights is the principle that a woman has the right to decide whether and when to have a child. When faced with an unwanted pregnancy, only she can decide whether she will carry the pregnancy to term. Governments are bound to respect this basic human right by ensuring that women have access to the full range of quality reproductive health services, including abortion.”

Even encyclopedias have begun to interpret the double-speak inherent in these terms. Wikipedia, the largest free-content encyclopedia on the Internet, defines the term “reproductive rights” as follows, “Advocates of reproductive rights support the right to control one’s reproductive functions, such as…rights not to reproduce (such as support for access to birth control and abortion)… The term is largely perceived as being synonymous with the pro-choice position, which states that abortion should be a legal option for any pregnant woman.”

b) HB 812 has also cited several international population conferences that represent the underlying philosophy, framework and terminology of anti-natalist groups. Some of these groups have been cited in its Explanatory Note, and they all espouse a so-called “right” to reproductive health care.

1) The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)’s International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action

Close reading of the language of the Programme of Action leads to the conclusion that the ICPD has the intention of encouraging all countries to remove legal barriers to abortion. The Programme of Action states:

“All countries should strive to make accessible…reproductive health to all individuals of appropriate ages as soon as possible and no later than the year 2015. Reproductive health care…should, inter alia, include:… abortion as specified in paragraph 8.25…” [Paragraph 7.6]

“As part of the effort to meet unmet needs, all countries are asked to identify and remove all major remaining barriers to the use of family planning services…” [Paragraph 7.19]

“Specifically, Governments should make it easier for couples and individuals to take responsibility for their own reproductive health by removing unnecessary legal…and regulatory barriers to information and to access to family-planning services and methods.” [Paragraph 7.20]
“…Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process…” [Paragraph 8.25]

According to the document, “Access to Safe Abortion,” exercising the individual’s right to determine the number and spacing of her children “is impossible without access to abortion.”

There is thus no more room for ambiguity nor ambivalence in the term “reproductive rights” being inclusive of abortion. The all-encompassing definition of these terms as far as the ICPD is concerned is shown in the formal statement of the Global Roundtable Declaration of the “Countdown 2015” international conference held in September 2004 in London. This was a follow-up conference to “reinvigorate commitment,” after 10 years, to the 20-year goals of the 1994 ICPD. Among these goals was the achievement by 2015 “of universal access to a package of basic reproductive health services…” The Global Roundtable Declaration stated:

“We want a world…Where women and girls do not die in childbirth and pregnancy; where they have access to safe and legal abortion; and where women and men can decide freely and responsibly whether and when to have children.”

2) The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the United Nations’ Committee on CEDAW.

The CEDAW Committee is the United Nations body that monitors compliance on the Convention. It has recommended to our Philippine delegation to legalize abortion. The Committee said in its most recent Report to the Philippines (“the State party”):

“28. The Committee urges the State party to take concrete measures to enhance women’s access to health care, in particular to sexual and reproductive health services… The Committee recommends that the State party consider reviewing the laws relating to abortion with a view to removing punitive provisions imposed on women who have abortions…” (underscoring ours)

A reproductive health group in the United States states, “There is growing recognition within the international community…that CEDAW’s language on gender equality – particularly its broad ranging anti-discrimination provision – evokes a positive duty for the state to ensure non-criminalized access to abortion services. In other words, CEDAW does suggest the right to an abortion.”

In the Philippines, a reproductive-health advocacy group EnGENDER Rights, founded in 2003, said to have been “founded to advocate for women’s free exercise of their sexuality and their right to reproductive self-determination free of discrimination, coercion and violence including women’s access to the full range of contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, and to safe and legal abortion…” stated in a letter to the Editor of the Manila Times on November 14, 2005, that abortion must be legalized, as follows:

“…the Philippines is obligated to repeal the Revised Penal Code provision imposing penalties on women inducing abortion and those assisting them…Indeed, our laws should be compassionate and responsive to women’s realities.”

c) The Millennium Development Goals of 2000

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are also cited in the Explanatory Note of HB 812 as the basis for this Bill. While the Goals are laudable in their intent to eliminate poverty, their means are not as laudable.

The MDGs consist of priorities derived from the same agreements made at the major international conferences of the 1990s, including the ICPD (Cairo, 1994) and the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995). The UN Millennium Project, which oversees the MDGs, through the United Nations World Summit in September 2005, continued the emphasis on the ICPD’s reproductive health goal of “universal access” by 2015 through the goals of gender equality (Goal 3) and maternal health (Goal 5). The UN Population Fund’s (UNFPA) focus on reproductive health and population issues are seen to be central toward the achievement of the MDGs, even if there is no explicit, independent goal of “reproductive health.”

For instance, when “women’s empowerment” is cited for Goal 3, there is a desire to “plan the timing and number of their births” while Goal 5 on maternal health emphasizes the desire of “preventing unplanned…pregnancies.” It becomes inevitable that reproductive health, including abortion as one of the means of preventing pregnancies and births, has become part of the expected achievements for women’s empowerment and maternal health.

According to the UN Millennium Project Report entitled, “Sexual and Reproductive Health Key to Achieving Millennium Development Goals,” sexual and reproductive health services must be delivered to developing nations. This is the foundation of the work of reproductive health advocates such as Ipas, which produced the report entitled “Access to Safe Abortion: An Essential Strategy for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals to Improve Maternal Health, Promote Gender Equality, and Reduce Poverty.”

It is clear from the references to ICPD, CEDAW, and the MDG in HB 812’s Explanatory Note and the language of the Bill that abortion is the intended direction of these pieces of legislation.

2. Disguising population control by concocting the term “population development” does not make it more acceptable. The flawed goal of population control is still the overriding framework of HB 17, whereas overpopulation is a fallacy.

In an effort to gain greater acceptance from the public, HB 17 makes reference to “population development” that is defined as being related to “desired fertility size” and reproductive health. However, there is no such term in demographics or economics. There is population, and there is development, but there is no combination of these two ideas that could become population policy. We believe the term has been coined only to attempt to achieve greater acceptance of population control, since the previous term used (“population management”) was also unmasked as population control in the 13th Congress.

HB 17 suggests that a large population is a negative fact. However, consider that the United States (3rd largest at 300 million, growing to 392 million in 2040) and Japan (10th at 128 million, shrinking to 104 million in 2040) are also in the top 12 largest countries. Yet no one suggests their large populations are a problem.

The simplest and most direct illustration of the fallacy of overpopulation is the fact that the most populous areas of the Philippines are also the wealthiest, as shown below:

Top Five Regions by Philippine Population and Gross Domestic Product
Region Population Gross Domestic Product
(Thousand Pesos) (By Rank)
IV Southern Tagalog 11,793,655 171,425,120 2
NCR 9,932,560 330,017,672 1
III Central Luzon 8,030,945 97,470,120 3
VI Western Visayas 6,211,038 77,326,810 4
VII Central Visayas 5,706,953 75,735,126 5
HB 17 also insists that population has a negative impact on economic development. In one of the many examples of this underlying philosophy, Section 3.b. states: “The limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude that makes the allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless.” We assert that this is not proven by studies reviewing the relationship between population and development.

The relationship between population and economic growth has been discussed in various studies that have debunked Thomas Malthus’ flawed predictions in 1798. Malthusian myths were disproved, notably in the 1980s and 1990s, by various economists led by Julian Simon (1932-1998). These economists have demonstrated through demographic data that population growth is likely to exert a positive net impact on economic development or that the benefits of a decline in population growth are limited and occur only when government policies favor poverty decline.
For instance, the United States National Research Council in 1986 reversed its previous 1971 report by saying that “the concern about rapid population growth on resource exhaustion has often been exaggerated.” The Council said it is institutional failure and not population growth that causes resource degradation.

Other studies in the 1980s (among them, the World Bank’s World Development Report in 1984, and the Center for Global Development’s report by Nancy Birdsall) generally tend towards the conclusion of the economist T. N. Srinivasan that “many of the alleged deleterious consequences [of population growth in developing countries] result more from inappropriate policies and institutions than from rapid population growth. Thus policy reform and institutional change are called for, rather than policy interventions in private fertility decisions to counter these effects.”

In other words, there are other determinants of improved economic growth, not slower population growth rates. More recently, Kelley and Schmidt in 1995 went a step further and provided empirical models of economic growth that exposed the short-term and long-term impact of population and concluded that “in 15 or so years, birth-rate reductions have a reverse impact on growth since there will be fewer persons entering the productive work force years.”

In his 2001 book, “Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics,” World Bank economist William Easterly reported that population growth can have more positive than negative effects since it increases the number of ideas and initiatives among people. He said that population growth can also drive technological innovation, because there is greater pressure to optimize available resources.
Another World Bank economist who has studied the population and poverty situation is Geoffrey McNicoll. He said, “The relationship between population growth and poverty is neither obvious nor well established.” He says that the often-repeated claim – that population growth results in poverty – is a case when “common sense views about a particular consequence of demographic change rest on an inconclusive body of research.” He also says, “The prima facie empirical case for the unimportance of
population to economic change has come from cross-country analysis. Scatter plots of countries on axes representing population growth rates versus per capita GNP or more refined indexes of income poverty are famously unpersuasive.”

Even pessimistic opinions about population growth would insist that the impact of population depends on the country’s specific government policies and markets, and not population per se. And in recent years, there has been an increased emphasis on the need to harness the demographic dividend, where “there is an opportunity for governments to capitalize on the consequent demographic transition, where the number of working age adults grows large relative to the dependent population and potentially acts as a major economic spur. Conversely, if the appropriate policy environment is not in place, unemployment and instability may result, and health, education, and social welfare systems may undergo unbearable strain.
Finally, documents from the United Nations (UN) Population Division confirm that population growth does not necessarily lead to income and resource decline. Its report entitled World Population Monitoring 2001 stated that while world population grew from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion persons from 1900 to 2000, world real gross domestic product (GDP, or actual output of goods and services) increased 20 to 40 times, “allowing the world not only to sustain a fourfold population increase but also to do so at vastly higher standards of living.” It also stated that world agricultural production has risen faster than population, real prices of food have declined, and new reserves of non-renewal mineral and fuel resources have been discovered.
If fourfold world population growth in ten years has not led to massive and global food epidemics and a decline in standards of living, then population growth in the Philippines will not cause these dire consequences either.

If it is not population that causes the problem of poverty, what is? Since poverty is a problem of economics, then economic policies must address poverty. Government should be considering effective means to deal with the real reasons for our country’s poverty, which are poor economic administration, widespread corruption, poor investment appetite, and external factors.

For the problem of corruption alone, the World Bank said, “Without success in reducing corruption, there will be a needless waste of resources; public confidence in government will be diminished, weakening efforts toward reform and revenue mobilization; and the effects of corruption frequently hit the poor hardest…”

3. The Philippines is already headed towards replacement-level fertility.

It is also clear from HB 812 and HB 17 that whatever the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) may be, the authors want the TFR to further decline. In the Explanatory Note of HB 812, the TFR of 3.2 is cited based on a survey conducted in 2006, whereas in the Explanatory Note of the proposed HB 2029 in the 13th Congress, the TFR cited was 3.7 based on a survey conducted in 1998. A similar reduction of the TFR from 3.7 to 3.5 appears in HB 17 when compared to HB 16 in the 13th Congress.

Although the TFR has dropped from 3.7 to 3.2, the proponents of HB 812 and 17 are not satisfied. The underlying premise of these Bills is that women’s health and responsible parenthood can only be achieved and defined if replacement fertility is achieved.

They do not seem to have realized that the United Nations and the National Statistics Office are already projecting a continued drop towards replacement level. UN data project the Philippines’ TFR to drop to 2.2 within 2025-2030, or only 20 years from now, and continue falling to hit 1.9 by 2040. This is a significant drop from 7.1 in the 1950s, 5.5 in the 1970s and the current level of 3.2, as shown in the Table below.

This graph is also based on current projections, without any legislation. Enactment of HB 812 or HB 17 would exacerbate the existing negative trend.

The Philippine government projects that the country’s TFR will drop to replacement level of 2.07 during the period 2035-2040, as shown by the National Statistics Office’s report below. While the rate of decline is about five years slower than that of the United Nations’ projections, with forecasted replacement fertility by 2030-2035, there is a clear trend: replacement-level fertility rates are expected for the Philippines.

NSO PROJECTIONS: TOTALFERTILITY RATES, 2005-2040 UN PROJECTIONS: TOTAL FERTILITY RATES, 2005-2040
Period Rate Rate
2005-2010 3.18 3.23
2010-2015 2.96 2.89
2015-2020 2.76 2.61
2020-2025 2.57 2.38
2025-2030 2.39 2.18
2030-2035 2.23 2.01
2035-2040 2.07 1.88

Demographic decline is a negative, not a positive, phenomenon. It reduces economic opportunities, it places a heavy burden on the dependent elderly – who lose the support of an adequate workforce as that workforce shrinks – and it threatens the security of retirements and pensions. Legislators have to look far ahead, if we are not to end up like Singapore, which, 30 years ago, gave “population disincentives” and proclaimed the “Stop at Two” campaign. Starting in 1989, alarmed by its ageing population, Singapore has been giving financial incentives to encourage child-bearing, with no success at reversing the cultural mind-set against larger families. In fact, not one of the more than seventy countries in the world that have fallen below replacement birth levels has been able to reverse the trend. There is no reason why the Philippines will be an exception.

Indeed we are ignoring the alarm bells raised over the impending world population implosion. The international news magazine Newsweek featured the article entitled “Birth Dearth” as its cover story on Sept. 27, 2004. In the article, author Michael Meyer reported on the “new demography,” the phenomenon consisting of dropping fertility rates and shrinking populations worldwide, as noted by sociologist Ben Wattenberg, warns “of what mainstream economists know: that a country cannot have a vibrant economy without a growing population.” In other words, while we are worrying about economic growth being stifled by our population growth, the rest of the world is worrying about the opposite problem.

4. Government-mandated reproductive health care or population control programs interfere with the family’s rights and open up the possibility of abuse.

The notion of introducing “reproductive health rights” is a farce in itself, since the term is a flawed, “verbally engineered” term for the impeding of the natural reproductive process of conception and birth. This attitude of having to “manage” reproductive health perpetuates the anti-life, pro-abortion, pro-choice mentality that will bring about the destruction of marriage and the family.

Moreover, when government mandates reproductive health care programs or population control policies, government tramples upon the basic human right of couples to control their own fertility and

determine their own family size. Government involvement in reproduction is also dangerous because of its potential abuses.

China, for instance, launched in 1979 its severe “One-Child Family Policy” which has since led to a fertility rate of 1.7 through the killing of the unborn and infants who are “unwanted,” because they are girls (female infanticide), or because they are second children. Contraceptive use is at 87% with a heavy reliance on sterilization. Abortions are often forced on women who are pregnant with their second child. The result has been disastrous, not only from a human-rights viewpoint, but from a demographics viewpoint also. The elderly population over 65 years will jump from 5% in 1982 to over 15% by 2025, thus requiring 70% of the elderly to be supported by their children, in the absence of government pension coverage. The ratio of Chinese males to females is estimated at 1.17:1as opposed to the sex ratio of 1.03-1.07 in industrialized countries. All these consequences are causing concerns about the future of China.
India was among the first countries to launch a state-sponsored family-planning program to curb its population growth in the 1950s. The government set targets for condom distribution and mass sterilization, including bonuses for health workers, and then shifted to a widely advertised “two child policy for maternal health care” that put pressure for smaller families. As in China, this has led to female infanticide and an uneven male-to-female sex ratio.
5. Taxpayers should not have to pay for contraceptives they don’t want.

Philippine taxpayers should not be compelled to subsidize or pay for contraception and “reproductive health care services” as mandated by HB 812 and HB 17, Section 10. If indeed the Filipino consumers want them, let the private sector provide the supply at market cost.

Even in the United States, which has a hefty health budget, only 1 in 6 women (17%) rely on publicly funded clinics for contraception and “reproductive health care,” and at most, 1 in 3 women (33%) would be eligible based on their income level. In the Philippines, however, the Bills’ authors would want the state to increase the reliance of women on government-funded contraceptives.

With the current level of government reliance at 58% (down from 70% in 2004) shouldn’t the government step away and permit more women to avail of these “reproductive services” on their own? After all, if it is true that 50.6% or 61% of all married Filipino women want to have no more children, the other 40-50% want to have more. Should almost half of all Filipino women sacrifice other health care benefits of the government for the sake of those who do not want more children? Who should have the power to make decisions about their children – the involved couples or the state?

6. Sex education in school usurps the parents’ role, teaches that children are burdens and not blessings, and is historically proven to be a failure in the United States.

As part of the depopulation agenda of the Bills, classroom-based sex education is proposed to be mandatory in private and public schools (Section 5.b), 5. e), 5.f), and 5.i) of HB 812 and Sections 6 and 78 of HB 17). We object to this plan for several reasons:

a) Undermining parents’ authority. Teaching about human sexuality in the classroom undermines the parents’ authority, rights, responsibility and role to raise and educate their children according to their own beliefs in human dignity and conjugal love. These matters are for the parents to impart privately in their homes. Sex education alienates the child from the parent, because the school could destroy the moral and intellectual formation so carefully nurtured in the loving atmosphere of the home. Parents do not want the state to usurp their roles in forming their children’s character and values.

b) Historically proven failure to meet objectives. Classroom-based sex education is supposed to lead to responsible sexual behavior. However, there is no evidence of its success in promoting responsible sexual behavior. Despite the prevalence of sex education programs for American teen-agers, there has been a substantial increase in the number of teen-age pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. There are now over 40 different STDs, 3 million new cases of STDs among teen-agers each year, and more teen-age births than ever before – 800,000 per year. If indeed classroom-based sex education had fulfilled its objectives, the last three decades in the United States should have seen a decline, not a massive increase, in the number of teen-age pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

c) Poorly trained teachers. We have seen the sample modules of the Department of Education entitled “Lesson Guides on Adolescent Reproductive Health (A Population Education Concept).” It is naïve to expect that adolescents and teachers will always behave with maturity and with an emphasis on the right values during case discussions for sex education. There is a considerable amount of latitude granted to the teachers in discussing sensitive topics such as sexuality, abortion and family values. We would assert that teaching the youth in schools on sex education is not within the competency of the teachers, who are already criticized for their inability to teach basic subjects.

d) Absence of authentic values. While the Bills suggest “education in…values” (Section 5. f). of HB 812), there is an excessive emphasis on contraceptive methods and services, rather than the inculcation of the values of modesty, purity, chastity or morality. The emphasis on contraception in the Bills suggests that as long as the risks of teen-age pregnancy or early marriage are addressed, then sexual behavior becomes acceptable. In addition, HB 17 Section 7a. includes education on the subject of “reproductive health and sexual rights” whereas there is no such thing as “sexual rights.” This term has not been defined in any international or local document.

e) Individual circumstances are disregarded. Teachers engaged in classroom-based sex education have no capacity to know about each student’s particular background, readiness and beliefs. The youth would be exposed to information they may not be ready or willing to receive. Since the lessons are taught in front of both young men and women, this also assaults their natural modesty and inhibitions that lead to mutual respect.

According to HB 17, “…the Population Commission shall provide concerned parents with adequate and relevant scientific materials on the age-appropriate topics and manner of teaching sexuality education to their children. The State recognizes the freedom of parents to decide whether or not to teach sexuality education to their children.” This is a mockery of the Constitutional right and obligation of parents to instill the development of moral character in our children. The State must support this natural and primary right and duty, and not usurp it. This emphasis on the parents’ prerogative is circumvented by HB 17.

It is not paranoia to anticipate that the value system of our country will change due to sex education in classrooms. We have seen that sex education programs are a significant cause of the sexual permissiveness that has already wrought havoc on the teen-age life of Americans. Let us not permit our children to be corrupted with similar programs.

7. Whether or not contraception is widely used, the situation globally is that “half of all pregnancies are unintended.” Increased access does not change this.
According to the authors of HB 812 and HB 17, half of all pregnancies are unintended. Contraception is supposed to address this concern.

However, this situation occurs even in countries with high contraceptive prevalence. According to The Alan Guttmacher Institute, in 2001 (most recent information), 49% or one-half of pregnancies in the United States were unintended – the same rate as the Philippines. This level has not changed since 1994. In fact, almost half (48%) of unintended conceptions in the United States occurred during a month when contraceptives were used. However, more than 9 in 10 women in the United States are already using at least one contraceptive method. The government confirms: “Contraceptive use is virtually universal in the United States…98 percent of women of reproductive age have used one or more methods.”
Because of the high failure rate of contraceptives among American women, 1 in 3 American women have had at least one abortion in their lifetime. Moreover, 54 percent of U.S. women who had an abortion in 2000 were using contraception in the month they became pregnant. Therefore, it is not true that providing contraceptives will allow society to avoid abortions for their unwanted children.

In France, another country with widespread use of contraception, two-thirds of unplanned pregnancies occurred in contraception users. These were among the findings of a research paper published on April 30, 2003 in the European reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction.
Furthermore, birth control advocates in the United States lament that the “burdens of unintended pregnancy” are still there, despite 40 years of contraceptive use: “More than 40 years after the contraceptive revolution began with the approval of the contraceptive pill, the United States lags far behind its social and economic counterparts when it comes to effectively reducing the burdens of unintended pregnancy and of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and related fertility problems. Despite the surge of contraceptive products approved by the FDA in recent years, more can and should be done to help close the gap between Americans’ reproductive health needs and the information, technology and services currently available to them.” In other words, although the United States exhibits such a high contraceptive prevalence rate and is one of the world’s wealthiest economies, the United States pro-choice movement continues to complain that women are still getting pregnant – what they call the “burden of unintended pregnancy.”
This is clear evidence that there will always be claims of “unintended pregnancies” – whether it is due to the inefficacy of birth control or its inaccessibility to women who supposedly want them.
8. Increased usage of contraception leads to the acceptability and increased usage of abortion, despite its intrinsic immorality and illegality.
One of the objectives of HB 812 is the prevention of abortion, as stated in Section 2 and Section 5.e). However, abortion and contraception are “fruits of the same tree.” The close link between abortion and contraception is recognized even by The Alan Guttmacher Institute:
“Abortions will not replace contraceptive use as a means of regulating family size. …Where contraceptive use remains low or ineffective and the motivation for small families and properly timed births is strong or increasing, abortion levels may increase and take some time to moderate.”
The Philippines with its unchanging contraceptive rate of 49%-50% (ever since the 2001 annual

Most Important Reason Given by Filipino Women for Using Contraception (1996)

1. Prevent/delay getting pregnant
2. Help my husband and family
3. Feel better about myself
4. Improve the relationship with my husband
5. Could find a method suitable for me
6. Other people encourage me to practice birth control

Most Important Reason Given by U.S. Women for Having an Abortion (2004)
Reason given Percent (%)
Not ready for a child/timing is wrong (see 1, above) 25%
Cannot afford having a baby (see 1, 2) 23%
Have completed my childbearing; others aredependent on me (see 2, 3) 19%
Problems with relationship; don’t want to be a single mother (see 3, 4) 8%
Too young; not mature enough (see 1, 3) 7%
Interfere with education/career plans (see 1, 2, 3) 4%
Woman has health problem (see 3) 4%
Baby has possible health problem 3%
Pregnancy caused by rape, incest <0.5%
Other (Husband/parents want and others) (see 6) 6%

9. Artificial contraception consists of abortifacients and cancer-inducing, medically unsafe products and services.

HB 812 aims to “provide accurate information and education and counseling…on the full range of legal and medically﷓safe family planning methods.” (Section 5.b). HB 17 wishes the State to “guarantee universal access to medically-safe, legal reproductive health care services, methods, devices and relevant information.” These methods would include the Oral Contraceptive Pill (“the Pill”), Intra-Uterine Devices (“IUD”), and so-called “emergency contraceptives.”

There is nothing “medically safe” in these birth control products. They are all abortifacients. They prevent conception or implantation of the embryo in the uterus, and thereby cause the unborn child’s life to end. Even pro-choice literature confirms this, as evidenced in a research report of the Alan Guttmacher Institute stating that all hormonal contraceptive drugs and devices, including emergency contraceptives, “also may prevent pregnancy either by preventing fertilization by blocking the sperm and egg from uniting or by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine lining.” (underscoring ours) Therefore, even abortion advocates support the view that contraceptives prevent implantation and have an abortifacient capacity.

The reason that these devices are not illegal is that with the influence of the pro-choice movement in the United States, the medical definition of pregnancy was changed in 1972. According to this new, flawed definition, which has found its way in medical literature, pregnancy occurs only if implantation has already occurred; thus, “emergency contraceptives” and the Pill do not interfere with pregnancy.

However, leading medical experts disagree with this view. For instance, Dr. John Wilks said, “I do not use, nor do I accept the minority view, influenced as it is by the politics of abortion, that dates a pregnancy from the time of implantation.” In his many research papers, Dr. Wilks provides evidence that the Pill, IUDs and “emergency contraceptives” thicken the uterine lining and thus interfere with implantation if life has been created, causing the death of the unborn child, often without the knowledge of the mother.

The author of HB 17 seems to have been influenced by this erroneous and unconstitutional belief. In the Explanatory Note of HB 17, the author states, …”this bill does not only protect the life of the unborn from the moment of implantation…” in blatant violation of Article II, Section 12 of the Philippine 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.”

Moreover, after “a thorough review of the published scientific evidence,” the Pill has also proven to be carcinogenic by the World Health Organization. This convincingly contradicts the claim of HB 17 that the State can provide “medically safe” reproductive health goods and services.

Artificial contraception leads to many vicious offenses in society, as it facilitates the sexual revolution that eventually leads to more unexpected pregnancies. As shown by the U.S. experience, so-called unwanted pregnancies then lead to a lowering of morality, and inevitably, abortion becomes an option after contraceptive failure. Where there is contraception, abortion is not far behind, either induced as a medical procedure, or in the form of so-called “emergency contraception.”

10. Encouraging a 2-Child “Ideal Family Size” Policy is unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Our legislators should be faithful to the Constitution in promoting and defending life, the institution of marriage, and the rights of children. However, under Section 11 of HB 17 entitled, “Ideal Family Size,” the State “shall…encourage [couples/parents and individuals” to having the number of children at an affordable and manageable level of two children per family.” This 2-child family policy violates our Constitutional provisions. Limiting the number of members of a family cannot be reconciled with promoting its total development. Nor can the State be sincere in respecting the conjugal decisions of married couples if this endorsement is stated in this manner. Whether or not there is any penalty for larger families, the damage is done in cultural indoctrination of couples towards two children as being the norm or ideal size.

The coercive nature of HB 17 is revealed in two other provisions: in Section 5.h., indigent mothers are designated as targets for free ligation services, and in Section 5.l., the Population Commission is tasked to expand national health insurance coverage to include Pills and such other “reproductive health commodities and supplies.”

Mothers who have just delivered their children are in no condition to provide informed consent, yet this is what HB 17 will force upon them if they deliver in public hospitals. Health insurance is not adequate to cover the most basic of health services, yet HB 17 would require an allocation for health insurance to reimburse users of contraceptives.

11. Prohibited Acts are discriminatory.

Based on the list of Prohibited Acts (Section 7 of HB 812 and Section 15 of HB 17), the support and endorsement of these so-called “reproductive rights” will become mandatory. We will become a society where no one can express and exercise personal opinions and beliefs regarding this matter. Those who express their concerns and fears about the reproductive health care programs of government implemented under HB 17 and HB 812 could even be accused of engaging in “willful disinformation” (Section 15. d) and imprisoned and/or penalized. Even submitting a position paper like this could be a criminal act, punishable by imprisonment, if HB 17 is enacted.

Under these Bills, all health care service providers – which include the private sector – will be required to provide all information “regarding programs and services on reproductive health including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods.” Health care providers are required to provide “the delivery of reproductive healthcare and services” and perform “voluntary sterilizations and other legal and medically-safe reproductive healthcare and services on any person of legal age” even without third party consent or authorization.

This means that government workers and private practitioners in health care would be compelled to dispense family planning products and services, regardless of their personal pro-life and pro-family principles and convictions. Even though conscientious objection is mentioned, the healthcare practitioner is required to refer the patient to another healthcare service provider, thereby rendering as moot his personal, moral objection.

A healthcare practitioner would never consent to a referral that he knows would endanger his patient. Compelling him to do so violates his right of conscientious objection and medical ethics, aside from causing potential adverse medical consequences for his patient. Karen Bauer, President of Pharmacists for Life in the United States, believes that a pharmacist should not only refuse to dispense medication based on conscience, but that providing referrals “would be like saying, ‘I don’t kill people myself, but let me tell you about the guy down the street who does.’” In other words, if a medical worker refers the patient to another practitioner who will then provide the act he morally objects to, he becomes an accomplice to the crime subsequently committed by the patient and his health worker.

The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity also states, “Forcing people to violate their consciences forces them to deny their uniquely constructed self-identities and is unjust.”
Another proposed “Prohibited Act” is a private employer’s possible unwillingness “to provide reproductive health care services and devices to all workers, more particularly the women” whether or not this is required under a Collective Bargaining Agreement. This infringement of the rights of employers is imposed under HB 17, Section 15. c) which states that it is a prohibited act if “Any employer…shall fail to comply with the employer’s obligation under Section 10 [ALFI’s note: this should be Section 12] hereof.” Again, this violates the right of conscientious objection.

Furthermore, under Section 7 of HB 812 and Section 15 a) 2 of HB 17, third-party authorizations will not be required for any health procedures involving sexual or reproductive concerns. This would permit teen-agers to purchase artificial contraceptives, have sterilizations or undergo illegal abortions, or even to sue their parents for not purchasing artificial contraceptives for them. The Bills would permit any court case on reproductive issues to be initiated by teen-age children against their parents. Rather than finding a way to help a promiscuous or pregnant daughter reconcile with the family in her turmoil, the State wishes to further divide the family by secretly offering so-called “reproductive health services” during a daughter’s personal crisis. Should abortion be legalized separately in the future, parental intervention would be illegal.

The Bills would also encourage spouses to undergo sterilizations or acquire contraceptives secretly, thereby destroying the trust between married couples. Even strong marriages could become vulnerable because of secretly obtained “reproductive health services.” In an effort to comply with the legislators’ encouragement of two children, marital animosity would be created by these Bills.

11. More bureaucracy will mean a higher budget and fiscal deficit due to HB 812; HB 17 merely reemphasizes that the Population Commission has been implementing population policies since 1971.

A Reproductive Management Health Council is proposed as the “central advisory, planning and policy-making body for the comprehensive and integrated implementation of all reproductive health care programs and services in the country” under Section 6 of HB 812, just like in HB 2029 and Section 5 of HB 3773. The initial appropriation of P50 million would be consolidated with funds for reproductive health and family planning services.

This would create a new, separate, special bureaucracy for one specific purpose only, further burdening the Department of Health with annual reporting systems and increasing the fiscal deficit with additional budgetary appropriations that could be increased annually by the Department of Health with Congressional approval (Section 10).

On the other hand, HB 17 proposes to utilize the Population Commission as the lead agency in its implementation. This Commission has been operating under RA 6361 since 1971. It is not clear why HB 17 is relevant if all the documents and reports of the Population Commission discuss the same principles. For instance, the most recent Directional Plan of the Population Commission for 2001-2004 states that the Population Commission will act as “champion” in “helping couples to achieve their fertility preferences through [the] Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning Program.”

12. Constitutional violations abound in the Bills’ provisions.

Our legislators should be faithful to the Constitution in promoting and defending life, the institution of marriage, and the rights of children. The following Articles support our views:

“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 parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.” (Art. II, Sec. 12)

“The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. …” (Art. II, Sec. 13)

“The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promotes its total development.” (Art. XV, Sec. 1)

“The State shall defend (1) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood.” (Art. XV, Sec. 3)

We believe that the far-reaching implications of these Bills necessitate referral to other Committees as follows: 1) Committee on Government Reorganization; 2) Ethics and Privileges; 3) Population and Family Relations, 4) Youth and Sports Development; 5) Revision of Laws; and 6) Appropriations.

We hope that you will review our objections carefully and come to realize that in passing any measure that would destroy the security of the Filipino family by moving closer towards legalization of abortion, we would destroy our nation as well.

For the ALLIANCE FOR THE FAMILY FOUNDATION (ALFI):

DIONISIO DONATO T. GARCIANO
President/CEO

References

[1] The Center for Reproductive Rights, “Reproductive Health and Rights Issues: Abortion.” Undated. In http://www.reproductiverights.org/ww_iss_abortion.html

[2] Wikipedia Encylopedia Entry: Reproductive Rights in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reproductive_rights Accessed Oct. 24, 2007.

[3] UNFPA International Conference on Population and Development, Programme of Action, 1995, Chapter VII and Chapter VIII, Points 7.6, 7.19, 7.20, and 8.25 in http://www.unfpa.org/icpd/icpd_poa.htm

[4] Barbara B. Crane and Charlotte E. Hord Smith, “Access to Safe Abortion: An Essential Strategy for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals to Improve Maternal Health, Promote Gender Equality, and Reduce Poverty.” February 2006.

[5] Declaration of the Global Roundtable, Page 7, Countdown 2015: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for All, 2 September 1994, in http://content.ippf.org/output/ICPD/files/4918.pdf

[6] Concluding Comments of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: Philippines, Thirty-sixth Session, 7-25 August 2006, CEDAW/C/PHI/CO/6, 25 August 2006. In http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw36/cc/Philippines_25augrev.pdf

[7] Pozen, Joanna. “The High Price of Compromise.” RH Reality Check, Sept. 18, 2007. In
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/09/18/the-high-price-of-compromise Accessed Sept. 25, 2007.

[8] Clarita Padilla, “Repeal Penalty on Abortion,” May 26, 2006, quoting Letter to the Editor of The Manila Times of November 14, 2005. In http://clararitapadilla.blogspot.com/2006/05/repeal-penalty-on-abortion_26.html Accessed Oct. 8, 2007.

[9] Adam Sonfield, “Working to Eliminate the World’s Unmet Need for Contraception.” Guttmacher Polilcy Review, Winter 2006, Volume 9, Number 1. In http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/09/1/gpr090110.html

[10] UN FPA, “MDGs: Frequently Asked Questions.” In http://www.unfpa.org/icpd/qanda.htm

[11] UN Millennium Project, “Sexual and Reproductive Health Key to Achieving Millennium Development Goals.” In http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/reports/srh_main.htm

[12] Barbara B. Crane and Charlotte E. Hord Smith, “Access to Safe Abortion: An Essential Strategy for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals to Improve Maternal Health, Promote Gender Equality, and Reduce Poverty.” February 2006. In http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/documents/Crane_and_Hord-Smith-final.pdf

[13] U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base, in http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ipc/idbrank.pl Accessed October 24, 2007.

[14] Philippine National Statistics Office, in http://www.census.gov.ph/data/pressrelease/2002/pr02178tx.html and National Statistical Coordination Board, July 2004 data in http://www.nscb.gov.ph/grdp/2003/2003conlev.asp

[15] National Research Council, Committee on Population, and Working Group on Population Growth and Economic Development. Population Growth and Economic Development: Policy Questions (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1986), as quoted in Julian Simon, An Unreported Revolution in Population Economics, July 23, 1990 in http://www.juliansimon.com/writings/ Accessed Oct. 19, 2007.

[16] Srinivasan, T. N. Population growth and economic development. Journal of Policy Modeling, Vol. 10, No. 1, Apr 1988. 7-28 pp. New York, New York.

[17] Kelley, A.C. & Schmidt, R.M. (1995) Aggregate population and economic growth correlations: the role of the components of demographic change, Demography, 32: 543-55, as quoted in “Population and Economic Development” by Allen C. Kelley.

[18] Easterly, William. 2001. Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics. The MIT Press.

[19] McNicoll, Geoffrey. “Population and Poverty: the Policy Issues, Part 1,” January 1999, in http://www.fao.org/sd/WPdirect/WPre0087.htm (underscoring ours)

[20] David Canning, David Elliot Bloom, Jaypee Sevilla. The Demographic Dividend: A New Perspective on the Economic Consequences of Population Change. The Debate Over the Effects of Population Growth on Economic Growth. Rand, 2003. In http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1274/MR1274.ch1.pdf

[21] United Nations, Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “World Population Monitoring 2001: Population, Environment and Development,” 2001.

[22] World Bank, Combating Corruption, Discussion Briefs for the Philippines, September 8, 2004, in http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPHILIPPINES/Resources/DB07-CombatingCorruption-June23.pdf

[23] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision and World Urbanization Prospects: The 2005 Revision, in http://esa.un.org/unpp Accessed Oct. 19, 2007.

[24] National Statistical Coordination Board, Statistics: Population Projections, in http://www.nscb.gov.ph/secstat/d_popnProj.asp and National Statistics Office, Index of Population Projection Statistics, Table 4. Projected Total Fertility Rates, by Five-Year Interval, Philippines 2000-2040 (Medium Assumption), in http://www.census.gov.ph/data/sectordata/popprojtab.html

[25] Michael Meyer, “Birth Dearth” in Newsweek Magazine, September 27, 2004.

[26] Stephen Moore, “Don’t Fund UNFPA Population Control,” Washington Times, May 9, 1999 in http://www.cato.org/dailys/05-15-99.html

[27] Hesketh, Therese et al., “The Effect of China’s One-Child Policy After 25 Years.” The New England Journal of Medicine, September 15, 2005; 353 (11); 1171-6.

[28] The Alan Guttmacher Institute. Get “In The Know”: Questions About Pregnancy, Contraception and Abortion. Fact Sheet. May 2006 in http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/index.html

[29] National Statistics Office (NSO) [Philippines], and ORC Macro. 2004. National Demographic and Health Survey 2003. Calverton, Maryland: NSO and ORC Macro.

[30] Explanatory Note, House Bill 17, 14th Congress.

[31] 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Article II, Section 12.

[32] The Alan Guttmacher Institute is the research and information arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which has as its mission, to “advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and worldwide.”

[33] Finer, Lawrence B., and Henshaw, Stanley K. Disparities in Rates of Unintended Pregnancy In the United States, 1994 and 2001. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, June 2006, 38(2): 90–96 In http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/psrh/full/3809006.pdf

[34] The Allan Guttmacher Institute, “Get ‘In the Know’: Questions About Pregnancy, Contraception and Abortion” in http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/prevention.html

[35] The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Use of Contraception and Use of Family Planning Services in the United States: 1982-2002 A Fact Sheet for Advance Data No. 350” in http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad350FactSheet.pdf

[36] The Allan Guttmacher Institute, “Get ‘In the Know’: Questions About Pregnancy, Contraception and Abortion” in http://www.guttmacher.org/in-the-know/prevention.html

[37] Innovations Report, “Study finds two-thirds of unplanned pregnancies in women using contraception” April 30, 2003 in http://www.innovations-report.de/html/berichte/studien/bericht-18034.html

[38] Report from the meeting, The Unfinished Revolution in Contraception: Convenience, Consumer Access and Choice, convened on October 16, 2003, by the Reproductive Health Technologies Project and The Alan Guttmacher Institute, in http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2004/09/20/UnfinRevInContra.pdf

[39] Fr. Frank Pavone, Abortion and Contraception: Fruits of the Same Tree, Brochure in http://www.priestsforlife.org/brochures/fruitsofsametree.htm

[40] The Alan Guttmacher Institute, Sharing Responsibility: Women, Society and Abortions Worldwide. New York, 1999, in http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sharing.pdf

[41] National Statistics Office September 2007 QuickStat from the Family Planning Survey 2006. http://www.census.gov.ph/data/quickstat/index.html Accessed October 30, 2007.

[42] Kincaid, D. Lawrence. Why Women in the Philippines Practice Family Planning: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis. Sept. 23, 1998. In http://www.jhuccp.org/asia/philippines/Whyfp6.doc

[43] Finer, Lawrence B. et al., Reasons U.S. women have abortions: quantitative and qualitative perspectives, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, September 2005, 37(3): 110–118. In http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf

[44] Kaeser, Lisa. “What Methods Should Be Included in a Contraceptive Coverage Insurance Mandate?” The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy. September 1998 in http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/01/5/gr010501.pdf and Cohen, Susan A., “Objections, Confusion Among Pharmacists Threaten Access to Emergency Contraception,” The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy. June 1999 in http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/02/3/gr020301.html

[45] Wilks, John. The Impact of the Pill on Implantation Factors – New Research Findings. Ethics & Medicine, 2000, Vol. 16, No.1, pp. 15-22. In http://www.trdd.org/ETHMEDE.HTM#N107

[46] World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, “IARC Monographs Programme Finds Combined Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptives and Menopausal Therapy are Carcinogenic to Humans.” Press Release, July 29, 2005.

[47] Stein, Rob. “Pharmacists’ Rights at Front of New Debate.” Washington Post, March 28, 2005, Page A01 in http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A5490-2005Mar27

[48] Collett, Teresa Stanton. “Protecting the Health Care Provider’s Right of Conscience” by The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity in http://www.cbhd.org/resources/healthcare/collett_2004-04-27.htm

[49] Commission on Population, 2000. The Directional Plan of the Philippine Population Management Program 2001-2004, POPCOM, Mandaluyong City.


Advertisements

Comparison of Reproductive Health Bills 5043 and 96 with annotations by Fr. Melvin Castro

Republic of the Philippines

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Quezon City, Metro Manila

FOURTEENTH CONGRESS

FIRST REGULAR SESSION

HOUSE BILL NO 5043

Republic of the Philippines

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Quezon City, Metro Manila

FIFTEENTH CONGRESS

FIRST REGULAR SESSION

HOUSE BILL NO. 96

AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled: Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:
SECTION 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008“. SECTION. 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as the “The Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2010.”
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – The State upholds and promotes responsible parenthood, informed choice, birth spacing and respect for life in conformity with internationally recognized human rights standards.

The State shall uphold the right of the people, particularly women and their organizations, to effective and reasonable participation in the formulation and implementation of the declared policy.

This policy is anchored on the rationale that sustainable human development is better assured with a manageable population of healthy, educated and productive citizens.

The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically-safe, legal, affordable and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, among other underprivileged sectors.

SEC. 2. – Declaration of Policy.- The State recognizes and guarantees the exercise of the universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons, particularly of parents, couples and women, consistent with their religious convictions, cultural beliefs and the demands of responsible parenthood.

Moreover, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment as a health and human rights concern. The advancement and protection of women’s human rights shall be central to the efforts of the State to address reproductive health care. As a distinct but inseparable measure to the guarantee of women’s human rights, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of the welfare and rights of children.

The State likewise 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 State shall address and seek to eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights.

This is dangerous policy.  Centered only on repro health as a policy and all CEDAW agenda.
SEC. 3. Guiding Principles. – This Act declares the following as basic guiding principles:

a. In the promotion of reproductive health, there should be no bias for either modern or natural methods of family planning;

b. Reproductive health goes beyond a demographic target because it is principally about health and rights;

c. Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population development;

d. Since manpower is the principal asset of every country, effective reproductive health care services must be given primacy to ensure the birth and care of healthy children and to promote responsible parenting;

e. The limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to, be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude that makes the allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless;

f. Freedom of informed choice, which is central to the exercise of any right, must be fully guaranteed by the State like the right itself;

g. While the number and spacing of children are left to the sound judgment of parents and couples based on their personal conviction and religious beliefs, such concerned parents and couples, including unmarried individuals, should be afforded free and full access to relevant, adequate and correct information on reproductive health and human sexuality and should be guided by qualified State workers and professional private practitioners;

h. Reproductive health, including the promotion of breastfeeding, must be the joint concern of the National Government and Local Government Units(LGUs);

i. Protection and promotion of gender equality, women empowerment and human rights, including reproductive health rights, are imperative;

j. Development is a multi-faceted process that calls for the coordination and integration of policies, plans, programs and projects that seek to uplift the quality of life of the people, more particularly the poor, the needy and the marginalized;

k. Active participation by and thorough consultation with concerned non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs) and communities are imperative to ensure that basic policies, plans, programs and projects address the priority needs of stakeholders;

l. Respect for, protection and fulfillment of reproductive health rights seek to promote not only the rights and welfare of adult individuals and couples but those of adolescents’ and children’s as well; and

m. While nothing in this Act changes the law on abortion, as abortion remains a crime and is punishable, the government shall ensure that women seeking care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner.

SEC. 3. Guiding Principles. – This Act declares the following as guiding principles:

a. The right to make free and informed decisions, which is central to the exercise of any right shall not be subjected to any form of restraint or coercion,  and free exercise must be fully guaranteed by the State like the right itself.

b. Respect for, protection and fulfillment of reproductive health and rights seek to promote not only the rights and welfare of adult individuals and couples but those of adolescents and children as well.

c. Since human resource is a principal asset of the country, effective reproductive health care services must be given primacy to ensure maternal health, birth of healthy children and their full human development and responsible parenting.

d. The provision of accessible, affordable and effective reproductive health care services is essential in the promotion of people’s right to health.

e. The State shall promote, without bias, all modern natural and artificial methods of family planning that are medically safe, legal and effective.

f. The State shall promote a program that: (1) enables individuals and couples to have the number of children they desire with due consideration to the health of women and resources available to them; (2) achieves equitable allocation and utilization of resources; (3) ensures effective partnership among the national government, local government units and the private sector in the design, implementation, coordination, integration, monitoring and evaluation of people-centered programs to enhance quality of life and environmental protection; and (4) conducts studies to analyze demographic trends towards sustainable human development.

g. The provision of reproductive health care and information shall be the joint responsibility of the National Government and Local Government Units.

h. Active participation by non-government, women’s, people’s, civil society organizations and communities is crucial to ensure that reproductive health and population and development policies, plans, and programs will address the priority needs of the poor, especially women.

i. While nothing in this Act changes the law against abortion, 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.

j. Reproductive health goes beyond a demographic target because it is principally about health and rights.

k. Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population and development.

l. The limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude that makes the allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless.

Again, this reinforces the thrust on repro health as the main concern of the country giving no regard to other health concerns.

Population control introduced.

Abortion definitely endorsed.

Population control rationalized.

SEC. 4. Definition of Terms. – For purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

a. Responsible Parenthood – refers to the will, ability and commitment of parents to respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children more particularly through family planning;

b. Family Planning – refers to a program which enables couple, and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to carry out their decisions, and to have informed choice and access to a full range of safe, legal and effective family planning methods, techniques and devices.

c. Reproductive Health -refers to the state of 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 are afforded equal status in matters related to sexual relations and reproduction.

d. Reproductive Health Rights – refers to the rights of individuals and couples do decide freely and responsibly 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 carry out their decisions; and to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health.

e. Gender Equality – refers to the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex, in opportunities, allocation of resources and benefits, and access to services.

f. Gender Equity – refers to fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men, and often requires. women-specific projects and programs to eliminate existing inequalities, inequities, policies and practices unfavorable too women.

g. Reproductive Health Care – refers to the availability of and access to a full range of methods, techniques, supplies and services that contribute to reproductive and sexual health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health-related problems in order to achieve enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive health care include:

1. Maternal, infant and child health and nutrition;

2. Promotion of breastfeeding;

3. Family planning information end services;

4. Prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications;

5. Adolescent and youth health;

6. Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections (RTIs), HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STIs);

7. Elimination of violence against women;

8. Education and counseling on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health;

9. Treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions;

10. Male involvement and participation in reproductive health;,

11. Prevention and treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction; and

12. Reproductive health education for the youth.

h. Reproductive Health Education – refers to the process of acquiring complete, accurate and relevant information on all matters relating to the reproductive system, its functions and processes and human sexuality; and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy and gender roles. It also includes developing the necessary skills do be able to distinguish between facts and myths on sex and sexuality; and critically evaluate. and discuss the moral, religious, social and cultural dimensions of related sensitive issues such as contraception and abortion.

i. Male involvement and participation – refers to the involvement, participation, commitment and joint responsibility of men with women in all areas of sexual and reproductive health, as well as reproductive health concerns specific to men.

j. Reproductive tract infection (RTI) – refers do sexually transmitted infections, sexually transmitted diseases and other types of-infections affecting the reproductive system.

k. Basic Emergency Obstetric Care – refers to lifesaving services for maternal complication being provided by a health facility or professional which must include the following six signal functions: administration of parenteral antibiotics; administration of parrenteral oxyttocic drugs; administration of parenteral anticonvulsants for pre-eclampsia and iampsia; manual removal of placenta; and assisted vaginal delivery.

l. Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care – refers to basic emergency obstetric care plus two other signal functions: performance of caesarean section and blood transfusion.

m. Maternal Death Review – refers to a qualitative and in-depth study of the causes of maternal death with the primary purpose of preventing future deaths through changes or additions to programs, plans and policies.

n. Skilled Attendant – refers to an accredited health professional such as a licensed midwife, doctor or nurse who has adequate proficiency and the skills to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complication in women and newborns.

o. Skilled Attendance – refers to childbirth managed by a skilled attendant under the enabling conditions of a functional emergencyobstetric care and referral system.

p. Development – refers to a multi-dimensional process involving major changes in social structures, popular attitudes, and national institutions as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of widespread poverty.

q. Sustainable Human Development – refers to the totality of the process of expending human choices by enabling people to enjoy long, healthy and productive lives, affording them access to resources needed for a decent standard of living and assuring continuity and acceleration of development by achieving a balance between and among a manageable population, adequate resources and a healthy environment.

r. Population Development – refers to a program that aims to: (1) help couples and parents achieve their desired family size; (2) improve reproductive health of individuals by addressing reproductive health problems; (3) contribute to decreased maternal and infant mortality rates and early child mortality; (4) reduce incidence of teenage pregnancy; and (5) enable government to achieve a balanced population distribution.

SEC. 4. Definition of Terms. – For the purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

1. Adolescence – refers to a life stage of persons aged 10 to 19.

2. Adolescent Sexuality – refers to, among others, the reproductive system, gender identity, values or beliefs, emotions, relationships and sexual behavior of young people as social beings.

3. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) – refers to a condition characterized by a combination of signs and symptoms, caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which attacks and weakens the body’s immune system, making the afflicted individual susceptible to other life-threatening infections.

4. Anti-Retroviral Medicines (ARVs) – Antiretroviral drugs are medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV.

5. Basic Emergency Obstetric Care – refers to lifesaving services for maternal complications being provided by a health facility or professional, which must include the following six signal functions: administration of parenteral antibiotics; administration of parenteral oxytocic drugs; administration of parenteral anticonvulsants for pre-eclampsia and eclampsia; manual removal of placenta; removal of retained products; and assisted vaginal delivery.

6. Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care – refers to basic emergency obstetric care including performance of caesarian section and blood transfusion.

7. Employer – refers to any natural or juridical person who hires the services of a worker. The term shall not include any labor organization or any of its officers or agents except when acting as an employer.

8. Family Planning – refers to a program which enables couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, acquire relevant information, and have access to a full range of safe, legal, affordable and effective modern natural and artificial methods of preventing and spacing pregnancy.

9. Gender Equality – refers to the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in opportunities, allocation of resources or benefits and access to services.

10. Gender Equity – refers to fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men, and often requires women-specific projects and programs to end existing inequalities.

11. Healthcare Service Providers – refers to (a) health care institution, which is duly licensed and accredited and devoted primarily to the maintenance and operation of facilities for health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease, injury, disability or deformity, or in need of obstetrical or other medical and nursing care; ((b) a health care professional, who is a doctor of medicine, nurse, or midwife; (c) public health worker engaged in the delivery of health care services; and (d) barangay health worker who has undergone training programs under any accredited government and non-government organization and who voluntarily renders primarily health care services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH).

12. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) – refers to the virus which causes AIDS.

13. Male Responsibility – refers to the involvement, commitment, accountability, and responsibility of males in relation to women in all areas of sexual and reproductive health as well as the protection and promotion of reproductive health concerns specific to men.

14. Maternal Death Review – refers to a qualitative and in-depth study of the causes of maternal death with the primary purpose of preventing future deaths through changes or additions to programs, plans and policies.

15. Modern Methods of Family Planning – refers to safe, effective and legal methods to prevent pregnancy such as the pill, intra-uterine device (IUD), injectables, condom, ligation, vasectomy, and modern natural family planning methods which include mucus, Billings, ovulation, lactational amenorrhea, basal body temperature, and Standard Days methods.

16. People Living with HIV (PLWH) – refers to individuals whose HIV tests indicate that they are infected with HIV.

17. Population and Development – refers to a program that aims to: (1) help couples and parents achieve their desired family size; (2) improve reproductive health of individuals by addressing reproductive health problems; (3) contribute to decreased maternal and infant mortality rates and early child mortality; (4) reduce incidence of teenage pregnancy; (5) enable government to achieve a balanced population distribution; and (6) recognize the linkage between population and sustainable human development.

18. Reproductive Health – 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 enjoy responsible and safe sex, that they have the capability to have children and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. This further implies that women and men attain equal relationships in matters related to sexuality and reproduction.

19. Reproductive Health Care – the access to a full range of methods, techniques, facilities and services that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health-related problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive health care include:

a. maternal, infant and child health and nutrition, including breastfeeding

b. family planning information and services;

c. proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications;

d. adolescent and youth reproductive health;

e. prevention and management of reproductive tract infections (RTIs), HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STIs);

f. elimination of violence against women;

g. education and counseling on sexuality and reproductive health;

h. treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions and disorders;

i. male responsibility and participation in reproductive health;

j. prevention and treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction; and

k. reproductive health education for the youth.

20. Reproductive Health Care Program – refers to the systematic and integrated provision of reproductive health care to all citizens especially the poor, marginalized and those in vulnerable situations.

21. Reproductive Health Rights – the rights of individuals and couples to decide freely and responsibly whether or not to have children; to determine the number, spacing and timing of their children; to make allied decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence; to have relevant information; and to attain the highest condition of sexual and reproductive health.

22. Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education – refers to a lifelong learning process of providing and acquiring complete, accurate and relevant information and education on reproductive health and sexuality through life skills education and other approaches.

23. Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) – refers to sexually transmitted infections, and other types of infections affecting the reproductive system.

24. Responsible Parenthood – refers to the will, ability and commitment of parents to adequately respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children by responsibly and freely exercising their reproductive health rights.

25. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) – refers to any infection that may be acquired or passed on through sexual contact.

26. Skilled Attendant – an accredited health professional – such as a midwife, doctor or nurse – who has been educated and trained to develop proficiency in the skills needed to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complications in women and newborns; traditional birth attendants or traditional midwives – trained or not – are excluded from this category.

27. Skilled Birth Attendance – childbirth managed by a skilled attendant plus the enabling conditions of necessary equipment and support of a functioning health system, including transport and referral facilities for emergency obstetric care.

28. Sustainable Human Development – refers to bringing people, particularly the poor and vulnerable, to the center of development process, the central purpose of which is the creation of an enabling environment in which all can enjoy long, healthy and productive lives, and done in a manner that promotes their rights and protects the life opportunities of future generations and the natural ecosystem on which all life depends.

What do they mean by manual removal of placenta? Abortion ba ito.

Anti discrimination provision na ito.

-do-

take note, this is the beginning of the entry of abortion clinics

this makes men jointly responsible in the rh effort, e.g. Sterilization or vasectomy

eto na nga ba.

Na introduce na ang mga programa nila

sugar coated pa yung pop control. bottom line ay reduce population pa rin

wow and ganda ng definition. Akala mo para sa kabutihan ng lahat. Bakit di

ba nag eenjoy ngayon ng safe sex. Why the law?

Naka specify na ang entry ng abortion..

sex education na.

Take note. This launches the program nationwide.

Careful sa language. Ginawa ng skills education. Delikado ito.

SEC. 5. The Commission on Population (POPCOM). – Pursuant to the herein declared policy, the Commission on Population (POPCOM) shall serve as the central planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring body for the comprehensive and integrated policy on reproductive health and population development. In the implementation of this policy, POPCOM, which shall be an attached agency of the Department of Health (DOH) shall have the following functions:

a. To create an enabling environment for women and couples to make an informed choice regarding the family planning method that is best suited to their needs and personal convictions;

b. To integrate on a continuing basis the interrelated reproductive health and population development agenda into a national policy, taking into account regional and local concerns;

c. To provide the mechanism to ensure active and full participation of the private sector and the citizenry through their organizations in the planning and implementation of reproductive health care and population development programs and projects;

d. To ensure people’s access to medically safe, legal, quality and affordable reproductive health goods and services;

e. To facilitate the involvement and participation of non-government organizations and the private sector in reproductive health care service delivery and in the production, distribution and delivery of quality reproductive: health and family planning supplies and commodities to make them accessible and affordable to ordinary citizens;

f. To fully implement the Reproductive Health Care Program with the following components:

(1) Reproductive health education including but not limited to counseling on the full range of legal and medically-safe family planning methods including surgical methods;

(2) Maternal, pen-natal and post-natal education, care and services;

(3) Promotion of breastfeeding;

(4) Promotion of male involvement, participation and responsibility in reproductive health as well as other reproductive health concerns of men;

(5) Prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications; and

(6) Provision of information and services addressing the reproductive health needs of the poor, senior citizens, women in prostitution, differently-abled persons, and women and children in war AND crisis situations.

g. To ensure that reproductive health services are delivered with a full range of supplies, facilities and equipment and that service providers are adequately trained for reproductive health care;

h. To endeavor to furnish local Family Planning Offices with appropriate information and resources to keep the latter updated on current studies and research relating to family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition;

i. To direct all public hospitals to make available to indigent mothers who deliver their children in these government hospitals, upon the mothers request, the procedure of ligation without cost to her;

j. To recommend the enactment of legislation and adoption of executive measures that will strengthen and enhance the national policy on reproductive health and population development;

k. To ensure a massive and sustained information drive on responsible parenthood and on all methods and techniques to prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies, it shall release information bulletins on the same for nationwide circulation to all government departments, agencies and instrumentalities, non-government organizations and the private sector, schools, public and private libraries, tri-media outlets, workplaces, hospitals and concerned health institutions;

l. To strengthen the capacities of health regulatory agencies to ensure safe, high-quality, accessible, and affordable reproductive health services and commodities with the concurrent strengthening and enforcement of regulatory mandates and mechanisms;

m. To take active steps to expand the coverage of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), especially among poor and marginalized women, to include the full range of reproductive health services and supplies as health insurance benefits; and

n. To perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes of this Act.

The membership of the Board of Commissioners of POPCOM shall consist of the heads of the following AGENCIES:

1. National Economic DevelopmentAuthority (VEDA)
2. Department of Health (DOH)
3. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
4. Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
5. Department of Agriculture (DA)
6. Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
7. Department of Education (DepEd)
8. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
9. Commission on Higher Education (CHED)
10. University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI)
11. Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAFI)
12. National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPQ
13. National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW)
14. National Youth Commission (NYC)

In addition to the aforementioned, members, there shall be three private sector representatives to the Board of Commissioners of POPCOM who shall come from NGOs. There shall be one (1) representative each from women, youth and health sectors who have a proven track record of involvement in the promotion of reproductive health. These representatives shall be nominated in a process determined by the above-mentioned sectors, and to be appointed by the President for a term of three (3)years.

SEC. 6. Midwives for Skilled Attendance. -Every city and municipality shall endeavor to employ adequate number of midwives or other skilled attendants to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1)for every one hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year, to be based on the average annual number of actual deliveries or live births for the past two years. SEC. 5. Midwives for Skilled Attendance. – The Local Government Units (LGUs) with the assistance of the Department of Health (DOH), shall employ an adequate number of midwives to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1) fulltime skilled birth attendant for every one hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year, to be based on the annual number of actual deliveries or live births for the past two years; Provided, That people in geographically isolated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access.
SEC. 7. Emergency Obstetric Care. – Each province. and city shall endeavor to ensure the establishment and operation of hospitals with adequate and qualified personnel that provide emergency obstetric care. For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital for comprehensive emergency obstetric care and four (4) hospitals for basic emergency obstetric care. SEC. 6. Emergency Obstetric Care. – Each province and city, with the assistance of the DOH, shall establish or upgrade hospitals with adequate and qualified personnel, equipment and supplies to be able to provide emergency obstetric care. For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital for comprehensive emergency obstetric care and four (4) hospitals for basic emergency obstetric care; Provided, That people in geographically isolated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access.
SEC. 7. Access to Family Planning. All accredited health facilities shall provide a full range of modern family planning methods, except in specialty hospitals which may render such services on optional basis. For poor patients, such services shall be fully covered by PhilHealth Insurance and/or government financial assistance.

After the use of any PhilHealth benefit involving childbirth and all other pregnancy-related services, if the beneficiary wishes to space or prevent her next pregnancy, PhilHealth shall pay for the full cost of family planning for the next three (3) years. The benefit payments shall be channeled to appropriate local or national government health facilities.

This is the funder of all other related pregnancy services (?)
SEC. 8. Maternal Death Review. – All LGUs, national and local government hospitals, and other public health units shall conduct maternal death review in accordance with the guidelines to be issued by the DOH in consultation with the POPCOM. SEC. 8. Maternal Death Review. – All Local Government Units (LGUs), national and local government hospitals, and other public health units shall conduct annual maternal death review in accordance with the guidelines set by the DOH. May statistics pa ata.
SEC. 9. Hospital-Based Family Planning. -Tubal ligation, vasectomy, intrauterine device insertion and other family planning methods requiring hospital services shall be available in all national and local government hospitals, except: in specialty hospitals which may render such services on an optional basis. For indigent patients, such services shall be fully covered by PhilHealth insurance and/or government financial assistance.
SEC. 10. Contraceptives as Essential Medicines. – Hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other allied reproductive health products and supplies shall be considered under the category of essential medicines and supplies which shall form part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and lord hospitals and other government health units. SEC. 9. Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines. – Hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other safe and effective family planning products and supplies shall be part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units. Essential medicine na pala ang lahat ng contraceptives, etc.
SEC. 11. Mobile Health Care Service. -Each Congressional District shall be provided with a van to be known as the Mobile Health Care Service (MHOS) to deliver health care goods and services to its constituents, more particularly to the poor and needy, as well as disseminate knowledge and information on reproductive health: Provided, That reproductive health education shall be conducted by competent and adequately trained persons preferably reproductive health care providers: Provided, further, That the full range of family planning methods, both natural and modern, shall be promoted.

The acquisition, operation and maintenance of the MRCS shall be funded from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of each Congressional District.

The MHCS shall be adequately equipped with a wide range of reproductive health care materials and information dissemination devices and equipment, the latter including but not limited to, a television set for audio-visual presentation.

SEC. 10. Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies. – The DOH shall spearhead the efficient procurement, distribution to LGUs and usage-monitoring of family planning supplies for the whole country. The DOH shall coordinate with all appropriate LGU bodies to plan and implement this procurement and distribution program. The supply and budget allotments shall be based on, among others, the current levels and projections of the following:

a. number of women of reproductive age and couples who want to space or limit their children;

b. contraceptive prevalence rate, by type of method used; and

c. cost of family planning supplies.

DOH ang distribution channel.
SEC. 11. Benefits for Serious and Life-Threatening Reproductive Health Conditions. – All serious and life threatening reproductive health conditions such as HIV and AIDS, breast and reproductive tract cancers, and obstetric complications shall be given the maximum benefits as provided by PhilHealth programs.
SEC. 12. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health Education. – Recognizing the importance of reproductive health rights in empowering the youth and developing them into responsible adults, Reproductive Health Education in an age-appropriate manner shall be taught by adequately trained teachers starting from Grade 5 up to Fourth Year High School. In order to assure the prior training of teachers on reproductive health, the implementation of Reproductive Health Education shall commence at the start of the school year one year following the effectivity of this Act. The POPCOM, in coordination with the Department of Education, shall formulate the Reproductive Health Education curriculum, which shall be common to both public and private schools and shall include related population and development concepts in addition to the following subjects and standards:

a. Reproductive health and sexual rights;

b. Reproductive health care and services;

c. Attitudes, beliefs and values on sexual development, sexual behavior and sexual health;

d. Proscription and hazards of abortion and management of post-abortion complications;

e. Responsible parenthood.

f. Use and application of natural and modern family planning methods to promote reproductive health, achieve desired family size and prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies;

g. Abstinence before marriage;

h. Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other, STIs/STDs, prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other gynecological disorders;

i. Responsible sexuality; and

j. Maternal, peri-natal and post-natal education, care and services.

In support of the natural, and primary right of parents in the rearing of the youth, the POPCOM shall provide concerned parents with adequate and relevant scientific materials on the age-appropriate topics and manner of teaching reproductive health education to their children.

In the elementary level, reproductive health education shall focus, among others, on values formation.

Non-formal education programs shall likewise include the abovementioned reproductive Health Education.

SEC. 13. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education. – Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal educational system starting from Grade Five up to Fourth Year High School using life-skills and other approaches. Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall commence at the start of the school year immediately following one year from the effectivity of this Act to allow the training of concerned teachers. The Department of Education (DEPED), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), TESDA, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Health (DOH) shall formulate the RH and Sexuality Education curriculum. Such curriculum shall be common to both public and private schools, out of school youth, and enrollees in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) based on, but not limited to, the following contents: psycho-social wellbeing, legal aspects of RH, demography and RH and physical wellbeing.

Age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education shall be integrated in all relevant subjects and shall include, but not limited to, the following topics:

a. Values formation;

b. Knowledge and skills in self protection against discrimination, sexual violence and abuse, and teen pregnancy;

c. Physical, social and emotional changes in adolescents;

d. Children’s and women’s rights;

e. Fertility awareness;

f. STI, HIV and AIDS;

g. Population and development;

h. Responsible relationship;

i. Family planning methods;

j. Proscription and hazards of abortion;

k. Gender and development; and

l. Responsible parenthood.

The DepEd, CHED, DSWD, TESDA, and DOH shall provide concerned parents with adequate and relevant scientific materials on the age-appropriate topics and manner of teaching reproductive health education to their children.

Sex education mandated.
SEC. 12. Mobile Health Care Service. – Each Congressional District shall be provided with at least one Mobile Health Care Service (MHCS) in the form of a van or other means of transportation appropriate to coastal or mountainous areas. The MHCS shall deliver health care goods and services to constituents, more particularly to the poor and needy, and shall be used to disseminate knowledge and information on reproductive health. The purchase of the MHCS shall be funded from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of each Congressional District. The operation and maintenance of the MHCS shall be subject to an agreement entered into between the district representative and the recipient focal municipality or city. The MHCS shall be operated by skilled health providers and adequately equipped with a wide range of reproductive health care materials and information dissemination devices and equipment, the latter including, but not limited to, a television set for audio-visual presentations. All MHCS shall be operated by a focal city or municipality within a congressional district. Funding from PDAF pa pala. Dito kaya magkakaron ng vasectomy etc? Parang sa India.
SEC. 13. Additional Duty of Family Planning 0ffice. – Each local Family Planning Office shall furnish for free instructions and information on family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition to all applicants for marriage license. SEC. 14. Additional Duty of Family Planning Office. – Each local Family Planning Office shall furnish free instructions and information on family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition to all applicants for marriage license.
SEC. 14. Certificate of Compliance. – No marriage license shall be issued by the Local Civil Registrar unless the applicants present a Certificate of Compliance issued for free by the local Family Planning Office certifying that they had duly received adequate instructions and information on family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition. SEC. 15. Certificate of Compliance. – No marriage license shall be issued by the Local Civil Registrar unless the applicants present a Certificate of Compliance issued for free by the local Family Planning Office certifying that they had duly received adequate instructions and information on family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition.
SEC. 15. Capability Building of Community-Based Volunteer Workers. – Community-based volunteer workers, like but not limited to, Barangay Health Workers, shall undergo additional and updated training on the delivery of reproductive health care services and shall receive not less than 10% increase in honoraria upon successful completion of training. The increase in honoraria shall be funded from the Gender and Development (GAD) budget of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). SEC. 16. Capability Building of Barangay Health Workers. – Barangay Health Workers and other community-based health workers shall undergo training on the promotion of reproductive health and shall receive at least 10% increase in honoraria, provided that those receiving less than P1,000 monthly shall receive at least 20% increase upon successful completion of training. This increase in honoraria shall be funded from the Gender and Development (GAD) budget and from the national fund on Financial Assistance to Local Government Units or its equivalent as provided for in the annual General Appropriations Act.
SEC. 16. Ideal Family Size. – The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children. SEC. 17. Ideal Family Size. – The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children. Na mention na ang 2 children as the ideal family size.
SEC. 17. Employers’ Responsibilities. – Employers shall respect the reproductive health rights of all their workers. Women shall not be discriminated against in the matter of hiring, regularization of employment status or selection for retrenchment.

All Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) shall provide for the free delivery by the employer of reasonable quantity of reproductive health care services, supplies and devices to all workers, more particularly women workers. In establishments or enterprises where there are no CBAs or where the employees are unorganized, the employer shall have the same obligation.

SEC. 18. Employers’ Responsibilities. – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall ensure that employers respect the reproductive rights of workers. Consistent with the intent of Article 134 of the Labor Code, 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 hospitals, health facilities, and/or health professionals in their areas for the delivery of reproductive health services.

Employers shall furnish in writing the following information to all employees and applicants:

a. The medical and health benefits which workers are entitled to, including maternity and paternity leave benefits and the availability of family planning

services;

b. The reproductive health hazards associated with work, including hazards that may affect their reproductive functions especially pregnant women; and

c. The availability of health facilities for workers.

All employers with 200 employees nakatali na dito.
SEC. 18. Support of Private and Non-government Health Care Service Providers. – Pursuant to Section 5(b) hereof, private reproductive health care service providers, including but not limited to gynecologists and obstetricians, are encouraged to join their colleagues in non-government organizations in rendering such services free of charge or at reduced professional fee rates to indigent and low income patients.
SEC. 19. Multi-Media Campaign. – POPCOM shall initiate and sustain an intensified nationwide multi-media campaign to raise the level of public awareness on the urgent need to protect and promote reproductive health and rights. SEC. 19. Multi-Media Campaign. – The DOH shall initiate and sustain a heightened nationwide multi-media campaign to raise the level of public awareness of the protection and promotion of reproductive health and rights including family planning and population and development.
SEC. 20. Reporting Requirements. – Before the end of April of each year,the DOH shall submit an annual report to the President of the Philippines, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on a definitive and comprehensive assessment of the implementation of this Act and shall make the necessary recommendations for executive and legislative action. The report shall be posted in the website of DOH and printed copies shall be made available to all stakeholders. SEC. 21. Reporting Requirements. – Before the end of April of each year, the DOH shall submit an annual report to the President of the Philippines, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report shall provide a definitive and comprehensive assessment of the implementation of its programs and those of other Government agencies and instrumentalities, civil society and the private sector and recommend appropriate priorities for executive and legislative actions. The report shall be printed and distributed to all national agencies, the LGUs, civil society and the private sector organizations involved in said programs.

The annual report shall evaluate the content, implementation and impact of all policies related to reproductive health and family planning to ensure that such policies promote, protect and fulfill reproductive health and rights, particularly of parents, couples and women.

This ensures the mdg monitoring function.
SEC. 20. Implementing Mechanisms. – Pursuant to the herein declared policy, the DOH and the Local Health Units in cities and municipalities shall serve as the lead agencies for the implementation of this Act and shall integrate in their regular operations the following functions:

a. Ensure full and efficient implementation of the Reproductive Health Care Program;

b. Ensure people’s access to medically safe, legal, effective, quality and affordable reproductive health goods and services;

c. Ensure that reproductive health services are delivered with a full range of supplies, facilities and equipment and that service providers are adequately trained for such reproductive health care delivery;

d. Take active steps to expand the coverage of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), especially among poor and marginalized women, to include the full range of reproductive health services and supplies as health insurance benefits;

e. Strengthen the capacities of health regulatory agencies to ensure safe, legal, effective, quality, accessible and affordable reproductive health services and commodities with the concurrent strengthening and enforcement of regulatory mandates and mechanisms;

f. Facilitate the involvement and participation of non-government organizations and the private sector in reproductive health care service delivery and in the production, distribution and delivery of quality reproductive health and family planning supplies and commodities to make them accessible and affordable to ordinary citizens;

g. Furnish local government units with appropriate information and resources to keep them updated on current studies and researches relating to family planning, responsible parenthood, breastfeeding and infant nutrition; and

h. Perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes of this Act.

The Population Commission, (POPCOM) as an attached agency of DOH, shall serve as the coordinating body in the implementation of this Act and shall have the following functions:

a. Integrate on a continuing basis the interrelated reproductive health and population development agenda consistent with the herein declared national policy, taking into account regional and local concerns;

b. Provide the mechanism to ensure active and full participation of the private sector and the citizenry through their organizations in the planning and implementation of reproductive health care and population and development programs and projects;

c. Conduct sustained and effective information drives on sustainable human development and on all methods of family planning to prevent unintended, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies.

Ang daming trabaho ng DOH at LGU. Mabigat ata ito. Kaya ba nila ito?

Eto pala role ng pop com.  Finally lumabas na ang papel nila.

SEC. 21. Prohibited Acts. – The following acts are prohibited:

a) Any health care service provider, whether public or private, who shall:

1. Knowingly withhold information or impede the dissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;

2. Refuse to perform voluntary ligation and vasectomy and other legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of spousal consent or authorization.

3. Refuse to provide reproductive health care services to an abused minor, whose abused condition is certified by the proper official or personnel of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or to duly DSWD-certified abused pregnant minor on whose case no parental consent is necessary.

4. Fail to provide, either deliberately or through gross or inexcusable negligence, reproductive health care services as mandated under this Act, the Local Government Code of 1991, the Labor Code, and Presidential Decree 79, as amended; and

5. Refuse to extend reproductive health care services and information on account of the patient’s civil status, gender or sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, and nature of work; Provided, That all conscientious objections of health care service providers based on religious grounds shall be respected: Provided, further, That the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible: Provided, finally, That the patient is not in an emergency or serious case as defined in RA 8344 penalizing the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency and serious cases.

b) Any public official who prohibits or restricts personally or through a subordinate the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning;

c) Any employer who shall fail to comply with his obligation under Section 17 of this Act or an employer who requires a female applicant or employee, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to involuntarily undergo sterilization, tubal ligation or any other form of contraceptive method;

d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 14 of this Act; and

e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.

SEC. 22. Prohibited Acts. -The following acts are prohibited:

a) Any healthcare service provider, whether public or private, who shall:

1. Knowingly withhold information or restrict the dissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health, including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;

2. Refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of third party consent or authorization. In case of married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses shall be preferred. However in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail. In the case of abused minors where parents and/or other family members are the perpetrators as certified to by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), no prior parental consent shall be necessary; and

3. Refuse to extend health care services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, or nature of work; Provided, That, the conscientious objection of a healthcare service provider based on his/her ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected; however, the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another healthcare service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible; Provided, further, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in RA 8344 penalizing the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency and serious cases.

b) Any public official who, personally or through a subordinate, prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning; or forces, coerces or induces any person to use such services.

c) Any employer or his representative who shall require an employee or applicant, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to undergo sterilization or use or not use any family planning method; neither shall pregnancy be a ground for non-hiring or termination of employment.

d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 15 of this Act; and

e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.

SEC. 22. Penalties. – The proper city or municipal court shall exercise jurisdiction over violations of this Act and the accused who is found guilty shall be sentenced to an imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine ranging from Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president, treasurer, secretary or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration. An offender who is a public officer or employee shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service.

Violators of this Act shall be civilly liable to the offended party in such amount at the discretion of the proper court.

SEC. 23. Penalties. – Any commission of the foregoing prohibited acts or violation of this Act 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) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the competent court; Provided That, if the offender is a public official or employee, he or she shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service and forfeiture of retirement benefits. If the offender is a juridical person, the penalty shall be imposed upon the president or any responsible officer. An offender who is an alien shall, after service of sentence, be deported immediately without further proceedings by the Bureau of Immigration.
SEC. 23. Appropriations. – The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act for reproductive health and family planning under the DOH and POPCOM together with ten percent (10%) of the Gender and Development (GAD) budgets of all government departments, agencies, bureaus, offices and instrumentalities funded in the annual General Appropriations Act in accordance with Republic Act No. 7192 (Women in Development and Nation-building Act) and Executive Order No. 273 (Philippine Plan for Gender Responsive Development 1995-2025) shall be allocated and utilized for the implementation of this Act. Such additional sums as may be necessary for the effective implementation of this Act shall be Included in the subsequent years’ General Appropriations Acts. SEC. 24. Appropriations. – The amounts appropriated in the current annual General Appropriations Act for reproductive health and natural and artificial family planning under the DOH and POPCOM and other concerned agencies shall be allocated and utilized for the initial implementation of this Act. Such additional sums necessary to implement this Act; provide for the upgrading of facilities necessary to meet Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care standards; train and deploy skilled health providers; procure family planning supplies and commodities as provided in Sec. 10; and implement other reproductive health services, shall be included in the subsequent years’ General Appropriations Acts. Na simplify na ang source of funding.  Kasi nadistribute na earlier sa other sources.
SEC. 24. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – Within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act, the Department of Health shall promulgate, after thorough consultation with the Commission on Population (POPCOM), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), concerned non-government organizations (NGOs) and known reproductive health advocates, the requisite implementing rules and regulations. SEC. 25. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – Within thirty (30) days from the effectivity of this Act, the Department of Health, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Education, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in sustained and meaningful consultation with non-government, women’s, people’s, and civil society organizations, shall jointly promulgate, the rules and regulations for the effective implementation of this Act. At least 30% of the members of the drafting committee shall come from aforesaid organizations. Full dissemination of the Implementing Rules and Regulations to the public shall be ensured. 30% from NGO’s?  Ang bigat ng role nila.
SEC. 25. Separability Clause. – If any part, section or provision of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in full force and effect. SEC. 26. Separability Clause. – If any part or provision of this Act is held invalid or unconstitutional, other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in force and effect.
SEC. 26. Repealing Clause. – All laws, decrees, Orders, issuances, rules and regulations contrary to or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly. SEC. 27. Repealing Clause. All other laws, decrees, orders, issuances, rules and regulations which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended or modified accordingly.
SEC. 27. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of national circulation. SEC. 28. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.