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Procreative Rights and Reproductive Wrongs

Procreative Rights and Reproductive Wrongs

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Published by Dr. Liza Manalo
This article exposes the truth about womens' rights, reproductive health, population programs, sex education, and the pro-choice movement.
This article exposes the truth about womens' rights, reproductive health, population programs, sex education, and the pro-choice movement.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Dr. Liza Manalo on Nov 02, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/14/2012

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PROCREATIVE RIGHTS AND REPRODUCTIVE WRONGS[1]
Part I-I
NTRODUCTION
 Despite the alarms and doomsday bells touched off worldwide by the crashof the global financial system, the Philippine political system has managedto give its undivided attention to something completely unrelated --- HouseBill 5043, otherwise known as
 An Act Providing For A National Policy OnReproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development  And For Other Purposes.
This is a consolidation of four reproductive health(RH) bills originally filed in the House of Representatives. Six other like-minded bills had been filed in the Senate, but are still with six committees.They have yet to be consolidated into a single text.[2] The public debate has been passionate and polarizing, a puzzle toboth sides. To the proponents, the question is, why should anyone be sosqueamish about "reproductive health" when nearly the entire world hascome to terms with it, and freely practices contraception, sterilization andeven abortion? Some countries have even legalized euthanasia. What hashappened to the exceptional ability of Filipinos to adapt to the latest fadsand fashions coming from the West? To its opponents, the question is, whyon earth are we being force-fed with RH when the world is about to blowup, and only our dynamic and vibrant population can possibly save us?In this paper, we shall examine the real issues involved, and whythe bill has proved so divisive.W
HAT
 
IS
"
REPRODUCTIVE
 
HEALTH
"?In its plain meaning, reproductive health (RH) refers (or ought torefer) to a person's health in both body and mind, in the mature andresponsible use of his or her reproductive organs and faculties; its primaryconcern is the safe, licit and natural generation and proper upbringing of anew human being (a child).But as a United Nations' verbal construct, "reproductive health" or"reproductive rights" refers to what an individual wants to do with his orher body and sexuality, including but not limited to the "right to abortion."This language was formally incorporated into official U.N. usage at the1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) inCairo; it has gained wide official currency since.Thus, when some women, who had been victims of China's "one malechild policy," heard it for the first time at the 1995 Fourth World Conferenceon Women in Beijing, they literally danced for joy, believing they wouldfinally be able to bear as many children as they wanted ---- only to be toldpromptly that the phrase meant "the right not to reproduce at all."
 
As used in HB 5043, "reproductive health" is not concerned with thesafe, licit and natural generation and moral upbringing of any new humanbeing. Its main thrust is the very opposite ---- how to prevent pregnancyand reproduction through contraception and sterilization. The bill, strictlyspeaking, is an anti-reproduction bill.W
HAT
 
ARE
 
THE
 
MAIN
 
PROPOSALS
 
IN
HB 5043?1. A State program of contraception and sterilization that willrequire married couples to contracept or sterilize themselves beforeengaging in marital intercourse, and make contraceptives andsterilization devices available as "essential medicine" even tounmarried individuals. Tubal ligation, vasectomy, and other familyplanning methods requiring hospital services shall be made availablein all national and local government hospitals;2. Mandatory sex education for children from Grade V until highschool, without need of parental consent;3. Mandatory reproductive health care services, upon demand, for"abused minors" and "abused pregnant minors" without parentalconsent, even when there is no showing that the parents are the onesabusing the minor concerned;4. All collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) to provide for freedelivery of a "reasonable quantity of reproductive health careservices, supplies and devices to all workers" by the employer. Theemployer shall have the same obligation where there is no CBA or theworkers are unorganized;5. An amendment to the law on marriage requiring couples to obtaina certificate from the local family planning office certifiying that theyhad "received adequate instructions and information on familyplanning, responsible parenthood, breast feeding and infantnutrition" before they could get a marriage license;6. A State program promoting the two-child family as the idealfamily size for all;7. The Commission on Population (Popcom), with an expandedboard of 14 commissioners, mostly department heads, and as anattached agency of the Department of Health (DOH), to act as the"central planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring bodyfor the comprehensive and integrated policy on reproductive healthand population development, which includes, among other things, "amassive and sustained information drive on responsible parenthoodand
on all methods and techniques to prevent unwanted, unplanned 
 
and mistimed pregnancies" 
; "prevention of abortion and
management of post-abortion complications
; and provision of information andservices addressing the reproductive health needs of the poor, seniorcitizens,
women in prostitution
, differently-abled persons and womenand children in war crisis situations";8. A Mobile Health Care Service (MHCS) van to deliver health caregoods and services to every congressional district;9. An "intensified" multi-media campaign "to raise the level of publicawareness on the urgent need to protect and promote reproductivehealth and rights."There are two distinctly positive provisions, but they are not mandatory:1. "Every city and municipality shall
endeavor 
to employ adequatenumber of midwives or other skilled attendants to achieve aminimum ratio of one for every 150 deliveries per year, to be basedon the average annual number of actual deliveries or live births forthe past two years; 2. "Each province and city shall endeavor to ensure theestablishment and operation of hospitals with adequate andqualified personnel that provide emergency obstetric care. For every500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital forcomprehensive emergency obstetric care and four (4) hospitals forbasic emergency obstetric care."W
HAT
 
ARE
 
THE
 
PROHIBITED
 
ACTS
?It shall be unlawful for any health provider to:1. Knowingly withhold information or impede thedissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrectinformation regarding reproductive health programs andservices, including the right to 'informed choice,' and access to afull range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planningmethods;2. Refuse to perform voluntary ligation and vasectomy andother legal and medically-safe reproductive health care serviceson any person of legal age on the ground of lack of spousalconsent or authorization;3. Refuse to provide reproductive health care services to anabused minor, whose abused condition is certified by the properofficial or personnel of the Department of Social Welfare andDevelopment (DSWD) or to duly DSWD-certified abused
 pregnant 
minor on whose case no parental consent in necessary;

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