THE Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD) expresses strong opposition on the call of a group for Congress to pass a law that would legalize abortion in the Philippines.

However, the group is pushing for the passage of the proposed Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development bills, which are currently pending in Congress.

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These bills will allow couples to have access to legal and medically safe family planning methods that will reduce unplanned pregnancies, which eventually will lessen the incidence of abortions in the country, said PLCPD.

Legalization of abortion is not the right approach to address the increasing number of eleven (11) mothers dying every day due to pregnancy and pregnancy-related complications, according to the group.

The legal and culturally-sensitive approach in reducing maternal deaths is for women and couples to practice family planning, provide skilled birth attendants to every delivery, and establish basic and emergency obstetric care, which is accessible in urban and rural settings, the group said.

PLCPD further emphasized that voluntary family planning can reduce maternal deaths by 20 to 35 percent (WHO, 1995). These can be “institutionalized” by the enactment into law of the proposed RH bills, they stated.

PLCPD and authors of RH bills stressed further that the proposed measure does not consider abortion as a family planning method.

In fact, the Guiding Principles of the bill explicitly states that "nothing in this Act changes the law on abortion".

PLCPD, however, emphasizes that though abortion is not legal, the government should ensure that all women needing post-abortion care must be treated in a humane and non-judgmental manner.

“We call on the media and the public not to confuse the campaign for the legalization of abortion in the Philippines as part of the reproductive health advocacy campaign,” the group stressed.

To reiterate, abortion is not part of PLCPD's proposed measures on reproductive health and that the organization is not a part, and will not be a part, of any group that will call for the legalization of abortion in the Philippines, the legislators said.

PLCPD is an advocacy institution of lawmakers committed to harness the efforts of the members of the Philippine congress in legislating progressive policies on population and development.

It was organized as a non-stock, non-profit, non-partisan organization in 1989 by a group of progressive legislators from the Senate and House of Representatives.

In the Senate, the group is chaired by Senator Rodolfo Biazon with Senator Panfilo Lacson as vice-chairman.

In the Lower House, Representative Nerissa Corazon Soon-Ruiz (6th District of Cebu) is the chairperson of the committee. Other prominent members of the group are Minority Leader Representative Edcel Lagman (Albay) and Representative Janette Garin (1st District, Iloilo). (TED/PR)