MANILA, Philippines—The House of Representatives on Tuesday continued to tackle amendments on the Reproductive Health Bill, with the main proponent of the measure continuing to reject amendments from its opponents.
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman kept on shooting down succeeding amendments, among them one that seeks to remove medical assistance meant for women suffering from complications after abortion.
Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez accused it of encouraging women to have abortion since “they know that they will be taken care of.”
Lagman pointed out that it was not meant to condone abortion and offered a compromise by inserting the phrase “without condoning the act of abortion,” which was accepted despite objections from Rodriguez.
This would be followed by objections and comments to the provision on post-abortion care, which proved to be a contentious issue between the two sides.
Batangas Representative Hermilando Mandanas’ proposal to add “and other complications” was accepted.
Other amendments that were turned down included the term “underpopulation,” the line “protection of the life of the unborn from conception,” limiting local government units’ (LGUs) role in implementing the RH Bill, the deletion of “population and development” and the definition of “responsible parenthood.”
But Lagman did not disagree to everything and accepted Rodriguez’s proposed amendment to take out a portion of a provision on reproductive spacing that, he said, would violate poor families’ right to bring forth children just because they lacked resources. This was supported by Golez, who said that the provision should not prohibit couples from having children due to economic reasons.
Lagman clarified that the portion had not been intended as a prohibition. They all agreed to include a line that seeks to “analyze demographic trends including sound population policies.”
Also accepted were a definition of gender equality and equity and Garcia’s definitions of contraceptive device and drug as stated in Republic Act 4729, which regulates contraceptives distribution and sale.
The legislators reached page 12 of the 27-page bill before session was adjourned by 9:55 p.m.
The House of Representatives is expected to put the RH Bill to a vote on Wednesday.
With the impending vote, the leadership of the Liberal Party met with some of its members from the lower chamber of Congress and urged them to vote for the RH Bill, which President Benigno Aquino III supports.
Originally posted: 9:07 pm | Tuesday, December 11th, 2012