Teodora Position Paper re: the RH Bill

POSITION PAPER

 

ON

 

HOUSE BILL NO. 96

 

By

 

Teodora: In Defense of the Authentic Woman, Inc.

Prefatory Statement

House Bill No. 96 of the Fifteenth Congress (First Regular Session) contains provisions that are:

(1) anti-women;

(2) anti-life;

(3) anti-family; and

(4) contrary to Sections 12 and 15, Article II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies) and Section 9, Article XVI (General Provisions) of the 1987 Constitution, which provide as follows:

“Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.

x       x       x

“Section 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.”

x       x       x

“Section 9. The State shall protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products.”

In view of the foregoing provisions of the 1987 Constitution, TEODORA: In Defense of the Authentic Woman, Inc., together with other pro-life movements and organizations, hereby most respectfully presents the grounds of its vehement opposition to the passage of House Bill No. 96, otherwise known as “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH, RESPONSIBLE PARENTHOOD AND POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”.

 

Issues, Arguments and Discussion of Offensive Provisions

 

  1. 1. SEC. 9. Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines.

  • Childbearing and the prevention thereof are not diseases which family planning supplies are supposed “treat”. These are natural processes and functions of all women.

 

  • Extensive studies[1] of the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer have shown that hormonal contraceptives and injectables are carcinogenic.

 

  • This provision contradicts Section 17[2] of Republic Act No. 9710 (An Act Providing for the Magna Carta of Women) on Comprehensive Health Services where due respect shall be accorded to “the right of women to protection from hazardous drugs, devices, interventions, and substances.”

 

  1. 2. SEC. 13. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education.

 

  • This denies mothers and fathers of their constitutional parental right to teach sexuality and values to their children (Grade 5 to 4th Year High School), within their choice of specific socio-cultural, psychological, moral and religious context as well as their prerogative to decide the proper time to introduce this topic to their children.  This is not saying that sex must be considered taboo in family conversations.  This is just to stress the fact that parenthood necessarily includes personal gauging of the readiness of children to appreciate and comprehend the various stages of sexuality and its nuances.

 

  • This denies said children the liberty of enjoying their innocence and childhood, on a well-founded presumption with constitutional and statutory bases. They are too young to make decisions for themselves. Exposure to a clearly sensitive and sophisticated topic such as sex and sexuality truly require physical and psychological readiness as well as mature decision-making with the guidance of their mother and father. Furthermore, such exposure to the topic of sex and sexuality might unnecessarily awaken the curiosity of said children and trigger their fertile and wild imagination leading them to experimentation with undesirable consequences.   Too early exposure may desensitize children and divest sexuality of its moral and sacred character.

  1. 3. SEC. 17. Ideal Family Size.

This provision of law disregards the freedom of choice.  It is an encroachment on the right of mothers and fathers to decide the number of children they desire to raise and nurture.

Conclusion

 

Thus, if this Bill should be passed into law and implemented, it shall unconstitutionally:

 

1.      expose women to serious and actual physical violence and long-term deleterious health problems through the prescription and ingestion of carcinogenic contraceptive drugs and substances;

 

2.      deny “the natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing” of their children with respect to sex education; and

 

3.      adversely affect the over-all health (physical and psychological) and well-being of women in particular and families in general.

 

Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

13 December 2010

 

TEODORA: In Defense of the Authentic Woman, Inc.

Deborah N. Rodrigo

NCR Coordinator

 

 


[1] IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 91 (Combined Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptives and Combined Estrogen-Progestogen) 2007.

[2] Sec. 17. Women’s Right to Health. – (a) Comprehensive Health Services. – The State shall, at all times, provide for a comprehensive, culture-sensitive, and gender-responsive health services and programs covering all stages of a woman’s life cycle and which addresses the major causes of women’s mortality and morbidity: Provided, That in the provision for comprehensive health services, due respect shall be accorded to women’s religious convictions, the rights of the spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions, and the demands of responsible parenthood, and the right of women to protection from hazardous drugs, devices, interventions, and substances.

Access to the following services shall be ensured:

(1) Maternal care to include pre- and post-natal services to address pregnancy and infant health and nutrition;

(2) Promotion of breastfeeding;

(3) Responsible, ethical, legal, safe, and effective methods of family planning;

(4) Family and State collaboration in youth sexuality education and health services without prejudice to the primary right and duty of parents to educate their children;

(5) Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections, including sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and AIDS;

(6) Prevention and management of reproductive tract cancers like breast and cervical cancers, and other gynecological conditions and disorders;

(7) Prevention of abortion and management of pregnancy-related complications;

(8) In cases of violence against women and children, women and children victims and survivors shall be provided with comprehensive health services that include psychosocial, therapeutic, medical, and legal interventions and assistance towards healing, recovery, and empowerment;

(9) Prevention and management of infertility and sexual dysfunction pursuant to ethical norms and medical standards;

(10) Care of the elderly women beyond their child-bearing years; and

(11) Management, treatment, and intervention of mental health problems of women and girls. In addition, healthy lifestyle activities are encouraged and promoted through programs and projects as strategies in the prevention of diseases.

(b) Comprehensive Health Information and Education. – The State shall provide women in all sectors with appropriate, timely, complete, and accurate information and education on all the above-stated aspects of women’s health in government education and training programs, with due regard to the following:

(1) The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth and the development of moral character and the right of children to be brought up in an atmosphere of morality and rectitude for the enrichment and strengthening of character;

(2) The formation of a person’s sexuality that affirms human dignity; and

(3) Ethical, legal, safe, and effective family planning methods including fertility awareness.

 

 

Speaking my mind

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