We may hear or read news about the Reproductive Health Bill now known as the Reproductive Health Law on newspapers, televisions, radios and even on the internet, right? Though, it is now a law- underwent three readings and also signed by the President of the Philippines, His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III, many are still arguing about it. There are people who say that this newly signed law will not be good and will not help the Philippines. There are also people who are in favor and support the law. People are murmuring this and that, these and those.
But the question is “DO we really know the provisions under the said RH Law? ” or should I say, “DO we really understand the law? ” That’s the weakness of us, Filipinos, we don’t understand the lawfully yet we keep on murmuring. I don’t say that I am pro-RH but we should first atleast understand before we give our opinions in order not to be misunderstood or misinterpreted. So, as to fully understand the law, I will discuss in the proceeding paragraph the provisions under this very controversial and most debated RH Law. The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Act of 2012 other the Republic Act No. 0354, informally known as the Reproductive Health Law, is a law here in the Philippines, which guarantees the universal access to methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education and maternity care. Under Section 2 of the law which is the Declaration of Policy, it is the duty of the State to recognize and guarantee the rights of all persons, including our right to equality and nondiscrimination, which means the State treats all people- rich or poor, young or old- equally and without injustice. Another right the government ensured us under Section 2 of the law is our right to health which includes the reproductive health.
This means the government will ensure us to give their best in providing us with the best quality healthcare services, applying equally the laws concerning health, etc. Another the government also recognizes our right to choose and make decisions for ourselves in accordance to our religious convictions, cultural beliefs, and the demands of responsible parenthood, meaning the government cannot sue us just because of our beliefs and we can also choose when to have a child because the government gives the right to make decisions.
Also under this Declaration of Policy is the statement that it is the duty of the State to protect and streghten the family as a basic autonomous social institution and equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. Moreover, the State also ensures the promotion of gender equality and the nondiscrimination of homosexuals. In here, the women’s rights are protected. Also, the state recognizes marriage as an inviolable social institution and the foundation of the family, which in turn is the foundation of the nation. Enumerated here are the rights of the Sate.
Section 3 is the Guiding Principles for Implementation. Under this section, the State, summary ensures all people that the State is there to be the guardian of the right of every human person. Here, it is clearly stated that abortion is still illegal and punishable by law, yet the government because it is the guardian of our rights, ensure that all needing care for post-abortive complications and all other complications arising from pregnancy, labor and delivery and related issues shall be treated and counseled in a humane, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner in accordance with law and medical ethics.
Section 4 is the Definition of Terms in which intriguing terms are defined such as, Abortifacient, Gender equality, Gender equity, Reproductive Health (RH), etc. Section 5 of the law states the Hiring Skilled health Professionals for Maternal Health Care and Skilled Birth Attendance. In here the State ensures the people that they hire an adequate number of nurses, midwives and other skilled health professionals for maternal health care and skilled birth attendance to achieve an ideal skilled health professional-to-patient ratio taking into consideration DOH targets.
The government also provides nurses, midwives or any healthcare professional in isolated areas such as those areas away from civilization,. So as not to discuss all the sections of this bill, I shall summarize the major provisions stated in the Bill not including the provisions in the preceding this paragraph. The Bill states that age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education is required from grade five to fourth year high school using “life-skills and other approaches.
Also under the bill, any person or public official who prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically safe reproductive health care services will be punished according to the law. Now that the provisions have been discussed, I shall now discuss the opinions of different people about this Law. There are those people in favor of the law. They say that this law will help the Philippines’ population will be reduced, which means a lower poverty percentage because most big families are poorer than those who only have one to two children. They also say that the use of contraception will lower the rate of abortions.
Another point they say is that the bill gives the people the choice on whether they will use the reproductive health, enabling the people, especially the poor to have the number of children they want and can care for. Let us now take the side of those who are against the bill. They argue that the law is based on the wrong economics because there are still other alternatives on how to solve our problems with the economy. Another point they argue is that the government is budgeting, high in the contraceptives. Also, they argue that those contraceptives, according to studies can increase the risk of having cancer.
And now I shall take my stand on this law. To be honest, I am still in doubt of this law, thus I’m neutral yet somebody told me that to stand neutral is like I do not exist in this world. So, because I exist, I am in favor of this law. In my opinion, this law will be a step in the development of our economics not as a stepping stone for the legalization of abortion. It is very obvious that the high population if the Philippines really affect our economy. Thus, implementing this law will help us lessen our population, meaning our economy may progress. Also, I believe that this law will lessen poverty in big families.
In the Philippines, I observe that bigger families are poorer than those families with only two to three children. Therefore, the RH Law will help people to control childbirth by means of family planning programs and thus, families or heads of the family can now invest more in their children’s education, health and daily needs because they only have less children to focus on. Another reason why I am in favor of this law is that this law does not convince people to really go on to family planning. It is the choice still in the family yet they should think before they do it. Think not of their future, but think of the future of their children.