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RH bill hurdles 2nd reading at Senate




06:08 PM December 17th, 2012

By: Maila Ager, December 17th, 2012 06:08 PM

Senate of the Philippines. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JESS YUSON

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…”

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