Welga ng Kababaihan urges lawmakers to pass Reproductive Health Bill

A day before several lawmakers deliver their respective sponsorship speeches on the controversial bill promoting the use of both artificial and natural means of family planning, among others, a network of more than 50 non-government and people’s organizations advocating women’s and people’s rights today urged other members of the House of Representatives to affirm women’s right to reproductive self-determination, and to support the immediate passage of the Reproductive Health Bill.

The Welga ng Kababaihan, which includes the Freedom from Debt Coalition Women’s Committee, stressed that it is a woman’s right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to her sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

In a statement of support to House Bill 5043 or An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development, the group said the RH Bill embodies many aspects of the principle of reproductive health as a woman’s right.

Central to overall health

“The RH Bill promotes sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflects a commitment to women’s social and economic well-being, and affirms the moral capacity of women and men to make sound decisions about their lives,” the group said.

It added that because reproductive health is central to overall health, fundamental aspects of women’s well-being are compromised when reproductive health is ignored.

“Women are placed in bondage to reproduction and biology if only ‘natural family planning’ is tolerated,” the group stressed.

Right to Choose

“The RH Bill makes it the responsibility of the state to protect the right to choose, not to make decisions for individuals. Women’s right to choose is a basic part of exercising control over their lives. The Bill provides for women to be informed and to services that will ensure women’s ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights,” the women’s group said.

However, reproductive rights are only likely to be exercised effectively and responsibly by women when certain other economic and social rights and entitlements have been realized, it said.

“The conditions under which choices are made are as important as the actual content of women’s choices: the right to choose is a meaningless abstraction if women are powerless to choose,” the group explained.

Recognizing health complications

The group supports the RH Bill because it “recognizes the catastrophic health consequences of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.”

“Poverty is not only implicated in these deaths, it is also often its direct cause. The RH Bill acknowledges the reproductive health needs of vulnerable young and poor women and the removal of legal as well as attitudinal punitive measures against those who have undergone poorly managed abortions,” it said.

Integral to social and economic health

The RH Bill acknowledges that reproductive and sexual health is integral to social and economic health, the group said.

“Fertility control must be part of a broader program which seeks to: improve women’s health and education; provide women with productive work; promote gender equity, especially by placing equal responsibility for reproduction and child-rearing on men; and, reorient structural social, economic and development processes towards an equitable distribution of the nation’s, and the world’s, productive assets,” it said.

Exercising reproductive options

The group believes that the RH Bill affirms that human sexuality and gender relations are closely interrelated and together affect the ability of men and women to achieve and maintain sexual health and manage their reproductive lives.

“The differential power between men and women in general, and husbands and wives in particular, is a major factor in women’s ability to exercise reproductive options. Those who have most at stake in every pregnancy should be allowed a decisive voice and choice on their own behalf,” it said.

Welga ng Kababaihan

Aside from FDC Women’s Committee, members of the Welga ng Kababaihan include: AKBAYAN, Alab Katipunan, Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), ANAWIM, Bagong Kamalayan, BUDYONG – PLKP, BUKLOD, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) – Kababaihan, Center for Empowerment and Resource Development (CERD), Center for Migrants Advocacy (CMA), Centro Saka Inc. (CSI), Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), Confederation of Independent Unions (CIU), Damayan ng mga Pilipinong Api (DAMPA), Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD), Integrated Rural Development Foundation (IRDF), International Gender and Trade Network- Asia (IGTN).

Jubilee South, Kaalagad, KABAPA, KAKAMMPI, Kalayaan – Housing, Kalayaan – Madza, KASAMA-PILIPINAS, Katipunan para sa Pagpapalaya ng Sambayanan (KALAYAAN!) – Women, Kilusang Kababaihang Mangingisda, KPML, Labor Education Research Institute (LEARN), LAKAMBINI – PAKISAMA. MAKALAYA, NGOs for Fisheries Reform (NFR), PADAYON, PAKISAMA, Pambansang Kongreso ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan(PKKK), Pambansang Tagapag-ugnay ng mga Manggagawa sa Bahay (PATAMABA) PANGISDA-KKM.

Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Philippine Ecumenical Action for Community Empowerment (PEACE), Foundation, Inc., Philippine Network of Rural Development Initiatives (Philnet-RDI), Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) – Gender Desk, PIGLAS Kababaihan, PKKK-K!, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK), SANLAKAS Women, SARILAYA, SDK, Social Watch, Ugnayan ng Kababaihan sa Pulitika (UKP), WomanHealth Philippines, Inc., Women’s Crisis Center (WCC), Women’s Education Development Productivity and Research Organization (WEDPRO), Womenspace, and Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO).

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2 thoughts on “Welga ng Kababaihan urges lawmakers to pass Reproductive Health Bill

  1. Here are some of the potential consequences of the passage into law of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill (HB O5043) which have dawned upon me; to wit:

    1.0 BIG BUSINESS, BIGGER MONEY. If RH Bill passes into law, condom suppliers may earn from the Philippine government (which will be mandated to distribute free condoms to 4.9 million youth aged 15-27), PhP 2.548 billion every year. (Or 4.9 million youth times 1 sex act per week times 52 weeks per year times condom usage of 1 piece per sex act times supplier’s price of P10 per piece of condom.) The assumption of a youth engaging in sex at the average of once a week, I am afraid, is in order and conservative. It will be unthinkable for a young student to obey the reminder of his RH teacher or older relatives that abstinence is the most effective birth control method when that young student is aware, the government is duty-bound to provide him or her with free condom for his or her sexual cravings anytime, anywhere. Condom supply is therefore a big business if RH Bill passes into law. Nevertheless, what is bigger money is when government canvassers, signatories of purchase orders, receivers of condom deliveries, as well as check payment signatories and releasers may connive with condom suppliers to price the condom at P 100 per piece instead of P 10. The over price of P 90 per piece of condom will be distributed among the involved government officials. Therefore, due to the passage of the RH Bill, there is an opportunity for a PhP 25.48 billion condom scam to happen.

    2.0 BOARS AND GILTS. These 4.9 million youth who are recipients of the government’s free supply of condoms may naturally crave for sex like animals (considering the additional enticement from the immodest mass media and the internet pornography). The young male may act like boar while the young female behaves like gilt that is in heat. This promiscuity or multiple sexual relationships, is probably just a take off point. The Law of Diminishing Extra Satisfaction (as adopted from the psychological and economic law of diminishing marginal utility) that governs pure human and animal endeavors including sexual relations will be fully operational. In other words, if sex will be a preoccupation of the Filipino youth, then the satisfaction that a young male derives having sex with female partner/s, will decrease or wane eventually. He then ventures to partner sexually with his fellow male/s to seek new level of satisfaction. He may push further by engaging in bisexual activities. But most likely he will end up as a pure homosexual. A young female may also follow the same path as she craves for sex and sexual satisfactions. She may graduate as a pure lesbian. But this scenario will not be glaring overnight. It will take a generation – ten years span. This may then translate to the need of a new advocacy – to support the passing into law of the bill on same-sex marriages and divorce in the country.

    3.0 POPULATION REDUCTION. The ultimate aim of RH Bill, I understand, is achieving economic prosperity (particularly for the poor) however through population reduction approach. In case the RH Bill is passed, its success will be measured therefore by, among others, whether its respective population reduction target (PRT) is attained. And the critical factor in attaining PRT is the effective distribution and use of condom of the 4.9 million Filipino youth in particular. Effective means here, making a condom available for free, on demand of the youth, either male or female, anywhere, anytime. As mentioned above, this will cost the Philippine government, PhP 2.548 billion every year. If the government will have limited or doesn’t have that amount of taxpayers’ money (for condom purchase and distribution) then the full attainment of the PRT will be jeopardized. Thus RH Law may prove to be ineffective to reduce population in the country. If this is the case, other population reduction measures or Bills will be therefore sought. So there will be a future need to support for the passage into law of Pro-abortion Bills as well as of Pro-euthanasia Bills.

    So then, to all the RH Bill advocates, if your support for the passage into law of RH Bill (which may lead to additional opportunity for corruptions in the Philippine government, to transformation of the Filipino youth as homosexuals and lesbians, to eventual murder of unborn babies and to future mercy-killing of senior citizens, etc.) makes your Mama proud of you, then go full speed ahead of your RH Bill advocacy. Otherwise, please resign as a RH Bill supporter and lobby harder for our legislators to vote against RH Bill.

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