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Nothing in the Constitution prohibits the reproductive health (RH) bill from being enacted into law, its

author in the Senate said on Wednesday. In the second part of her co-sponsorship speech on the controversial measure, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago argued that the bill upholds the rights to information, privacy, and of parents over their children's education. Santiago said the Constitution's "sanctity of life" clause found in article 2, which opponents of the bill have often cited, does not mention "reproductive health." "If there is no applicable provision in the Constitution, the implication is that the power has been reserved to the people in their sovereign capacity," she said. "Thus if there is no prohibition in the Constitution, then it is deduced that the people's representatives in the Congress are free to legislate on the matter." Santiago added that the RH bill is mandated by the Bill of Rights, particularly Article 3 Section 7, which says that the right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. The RH bill provides for universal access to information on reproductive health services. "Critics might argue that the right to information under section 7 was meant to cover only official records, but there is nothing in section 7 or in the Records of the Constitutional Commission to support this view," Santiago said. "To make information on reproductive health accessible to the rich but not to the poor would be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause." The senator also said the RH bill upholds couples' right to privacy in terms of sex, marriage, and procreation, as it gives them the power to choose their preferred family planning method. Citing US Supreme Court decisions, she explained that the government has no power to forbid the use of contraceptives by adults. "However, the state has the power to restrict the manufacture and sale of contraceptive devices to ensure that the products meet health, safety, and anti-abortion standards," Santiago said. She added that the bill, if enacted into law, would uphold parents' right over their children's education. Santiago pointed out that Senate Bill 2865 provides for age-appropriate reproductive health education. "If there is any objection ... it can easily be met by a potential amendment which in effect shall adopt the option for parents provided in the Constitution for the teaching of religion in public elementary and high schools," she said. Lastly, Santiago said passing the RH bill would fulfill the Philippines' obligations under international law. She reminded her colleagues in the Senate that the country is party to several treaties upholding parents' basic human right to freely and responsibly choose the number and spacing of their children. The senator mentioned the 1968 Proclamation of Teheran; 1976 International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights; 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discriminatiom Against Women; and the 1994 Programme of Action of International Conference on Population and Development.

"If we fail to pass the RH bill, we are breaking our contract with other states," Santiago said

HB 5043 forces employers to provide abortifacients and other contraceptives to employees. Section 17 of the proposed bill states: 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. Employers, therefore, are not given any choice despite the fact that distribution of these artificial and abortifacient contraceptives may be against their conscience or religion Held: IT DOES NOT ENDORSE ABORTIFACIENTS. Hormonal contraceptives are BFAD-approved,
medically safe and legal. They do not cause a medical abortion or hidden abortion as claimed by critics of the bill. The primary mechanism of pills and injectables is to suppress ovulation. If no egg is released, how can there be an abortion? They also prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. If fertilization is avoided, how can there be a fetus to abort? Articles in peer-reviewed medical journals testify that IUDs do not cause abortions because they avoid fertilization. A recent study revealed that not a single fertilized egg was recovered from the fallopian tubes of women using IUDs proving that they are amazingly successful in preventing fertilization. The UNDP, UNFPA and WHO have submitted to the House of Representatives an expert opinion on the mechanisms of modern contraceptives and they state that contraceptives cannot be labeled as abortifacients as none of these methods have been shown to cause abortions. The bill is truly anti-abortion. It will tremendously reduce the incidence of abortion in the country which in 2002 has been recorded to be about 470,000 even as the UN has estimated that the incidence could have escalated now to about 800,000. Data also show that it is not single women and teenagers but poor, married, Catholic women in their 20s who most often undergo abortions because they cannot afford another child. The Fallacy of the Beginning of Life. Identification of the precise time when life begins is recklessly claimed by some people who can only be called delusional. The truth is that there is no accepted, authoritative finding accepted by the medical and scientific professions on when life begins, much less on when the soul begins. The Constitution Article 2 Sec. 12 provides that the state shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. Conception is the act of becoming pregnant or of creating a child in the womb. It could be defined as the process by which a set of human cells becomes human with characteristics defined as human life. Conception is not an exact scientific term. The issue is whether conception begins at fertilization or at implantation. Fertilization is the process of penetration of the egg cell by the sperm cell, and the combination of this genetic material to form the fertilized egg or zygote. Implantation is the attachment of a fertilized ovum on the wall of the uterus. According to the statement issued in August 2011 by the Universal Health Care Study Group, which is a part of the National Institutes of Health in UP Manila: No one equates conception with fertilization. Moreover: All contraceptives, including hormonal contraceptives and IUDs, have been demonstrated by laboratory and clinical studies, to act primarily prior to fertilization.

To summarize, conception begins only after fertilization, but there is no precise scientific definition of the precise moment when the set of cells can be called human. Delimiting a specific time frame is simply not realistic at this time. This is the logical fallacy of affirming the consequent, meaning it affirms the consequent in order to prove the antecedent. It is also the fallacy of amphiboly, meaning the fallacy of ambiguous construction. The Fallacy of Population Imperialism. It is claimed that the US needs widespread access to the mineral resources of less developed countries like the Philippines. But population pressure and the anti-imperialist attitudes of the youth stand in the way of the American hegemony. Therefore, births in certain countries in the Philippines should be limited, and the RH bill is just a form of US imperialism. This scenario is highly likely, and I would not put it past the US to develop this strategy. However, family planning is not only an advocacy of the US, but also of the entire United Nations. In addition, the best economists of the country, who just happen to be UP professors, issued in 2008 a paper entitled Population, Poverty, Politics, and the RH bill. It supports an RH law as an integral part of the strategy for development and poverty reduction. The Economics 27 said categorically: A rapidly growing population has a negative impact on economic development. And they noted: Contraceptive use remains extremely low among poor couples, because they lack information about, and access, to them. To demonize lower population growth because the U.S. advocates family planning for developing countries is a logical fallacy. This is the fallacy of argumentum ad populum, appealing to popular anti-American prejudice instead of presenting relevant material. The Argument that Pro-RH Advocates are Sinful or Stupid. Anti-RH groups use various personal insults against us, as if name-calling will suffice to stop or even reduce maternal mortality. This is the fallacy of argumentum ad hominem, or undermining an opponents argument by insults calculated to substitute personal traits for arguments on the merits. I will stop here, but I have just shown you that the RH debate in Congress is a long-winded theater art on how to trivialize an important national policy. I suspect that the debate will not end by the time budget season begins, and all pending bills will be shelved. If we allow the critics to have their way, RH will be a work in progress, until climate change brings about another global flood and obliterates all of human civilization, including those who think that a few mothers dying everyday from childbirth complications is a mere negligible factor in the grander scheme of things, like the coming 2013 elections. Enough! Send an email to every single senator and congressman, tell him you are watching, and that you will not vote for him forevermore if he is anti-RH. Not only that: campaign actively against anti-RH creatures. Take our campaign to Facebook, Twitter, Google, blogs, and every form of social media. If any of the news media purposely fail to present a balanced presentation of the RH debate, email the editor and appeal to the ethics of the journalism profession. Today we mark the centennial of the great UP college of law. At one time, I earned a gold medal here as Best Debater. In commemoration, Sen. Pia Cayetano and I challenge any UP law graduate in the Senate to a debate on RH, in any neutral public forum to be shown on TV, before a university audience. Let the young people decide the social legislation of this country. There is a mother of seven in a hovel in a squatters area near you. She is old beyond her years, her eyes are dimmed by despair. She is undernourished, and so are her children. Her husband is an itinerant manual worker, and cannot always afford to put food on the table, never mind buying medicines or paying for school. The government health worker has warned the couple that another pregnancy might pose a risk to the life of mother

and child. But the couple do not know how to prevent pregnancy. Will you leave mother and child to die, because of mere ignorance? I do not want this mother to die nine months from today. I refuse to allow it! I might never see her, but as a Filipina, I lift her hand, and pray with her: THE BILL DOES NOT LEGALIZE ABORTION AND WILL NOT LEAD TO ITS LEGALIZATION. The measure repeatedly underscores that abortion is illegal, criminal and punishable, and is not part of the menu of legally permissible and medically safe family planning methods. Moreover, the use of contraceptives will not lead to the legalization of abortion. Catholic countries like Panama, Guatemala, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Paraguay and Ireland all prohibit abortion as a family planning method even as they vigorously promote contraceptive use. Muslim and Buddhist countries like Indonesia and Laos have likewise liberalized the use of contraceptives but still continue to criminalize abortion. There is also an inverse correlation between contraceptive use and abortion. The regular and correct use of contraceptives drastically reduces abortion rates since unplanned and unwanted pregnancies are avoided. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, effective contraceptive use can reduce rates of abortion by as much as 85%. Consequently, women do not have to resort to abortion and the State will find no need to legalize abortion.