MANILA, Philippines – Voting 13-8 with no abstention, the Senate on Monday approved on second reading the controversial Reproductive Health bill.
It was Senator Pia Cayetano, head of the Senate committee on health, who moved to approve Senate Bill 2865 known as “An act providing for a national policy on reproductive health and responsible parenthood.
The 13 senators who voted in favor of the bill were: Edgardo Angara, Joker Arroyo, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Franklin Drilon, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Teofisto Guingona III, Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos Jr., Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, and Ralph Recto,
The eight who voted against it were: Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senators Gringo Honasan, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Manuel “Manny” Villar, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV.
Senators Serge Osmena III and Lito Lapid were absent during the voting.
The Senate immediately proceeded to vote on third and final reading.
Under the bill, Reproductive Health was defined as the “state of complete physical, mental well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.”
“It implies that people are able to have a safe and satisfying sex life, that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so,” it said.
“This further implies that women and men attain equal relationships in matters related to sxual relations and reproductions.”
The proposed legislation mandates the state to respect “individual’s preferences and choice of family planning methods that are in accordance with their religious convictions and cultural beliefs, taking into consideration the state’s obligations under various human rights instruments.”
“Each family shall have the right to determine its ideal family size provided however that the state shall equip each parent with the necessary information on all aspects of family life, including reproductive health and responsible parenthood in order to make that determination,” it said.
No person , under the bill, should also be denied information and access to family planning services whether natural or artificial .
“Provided that minors will not be allowed access to modern methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or guardians,’ it said.
The bill likewise provides for “age and development-appropriate reproductive health education to adolescents, which shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal education system…”