Hontiveros defends RH Bill, cites benefits

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Saturday, November 26, 2011


THE advocacy campaign for the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill continues in Cebu despite minimal support from local legislators and church leaders.

Akbayan Party-list spokesperson Risa Hontiveros said the approval of the RH Bill would mean a marked reduction in abortion cases, fewer deaths of women caused by complications related to pregnancy, and improved health services.

“The RH Bill is pro-choice, pro-life and pro-chance,” Hontiveros told students of Cebu Technological University (CTU).

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“Women should be able to make their own decisions. Health conditions have to be improved,” said Hontiveros, a former represantive of the party-list group.

She underscored that the benefits enumerated in the proposal include additional funds for public health services.

Population control?

Hontiveros also said the bill does not promote population control but population management, wherein families are expected to be educated in terms of health, education and employment issues.

The core elements of the proposal include creating a comprehensive policy and the establishment of an age-appropriate adolescent sexual education.

Leaders of the Catholic Church have opposed RH bills for years because of provisions that counter basic teachings.

They are against the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011, particularly the provisions on adolescent reproductive health education, the use of artificial contraceptives and the penalty clause of imprisonment and fines.

‘Poison’ In a separate interview, anti-RH advocate Dr. Rene Bullecer said women, mothers and children need “augmented facilities and supplies for health and not poisons like oral contraceptives.”

“(I) Hope Akbayan and other pro-death party-lists supporting RH will stop lying to millions of our dear Filipina women on the pro-death and anti-women provisions of the RH bill," he added.

Bullecer, Human Life International country director, also said the additional funds for health services are welcome.

But he said that from the current P700-million budget for population management, the allotment is expected to skyrocket to over P6 billion.

“That's a lot of money and a good source of corruption later on,” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 26, 2011.

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