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Pia Cayetano stresses necessity of reproductive health to poor women

/ 10:04 PM August 06, 2013

Senator Pia Cayetano INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Pia Cayetano reiterated Tuesday that the main objective of the stalled Reproductive Health law is to make quality health services necessary for family planning available to members of the marginalized sector.

“There are people asking why the RH [law] is targeted on unprivileged citizens. It’s because rich people are already enjoying access to contraceptives [and] doctors,” Cayetano said.

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She said the RH law protects the right of women to plan the future of their families, as well as what’s best for their health, noting that there are pregnancies that put the life of women at risk.

“Ang ginagawa lang ng gobyerno sa RH law ay bigyan ng information ang mga magulang para makapag plano nang maigi, at mabuhay nang maigi ang mga anak,” Cayetano said.

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Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, who represented the government during the third session of the oral arguments on the controversial law, said women have enjoyed the right to use non-abortifacient contraceptives since under the 1935 Constitution.

In 1996, Jardeleza said Republic Act 4729 allowed the sale of contraceptive drugs and devices dispensed by a pharmacist upon a doctor’s prescription.

“The RA4729 has never been questioned,” he said, nor was “any FDA [Food and Drugs Administration]-issued certificate” of product registration has been questioned.

“We respectfully emphasize that the RH Law only seeks to subsidize, for the benefit of the poor, women, the marginalized and the vulnerable, contraceptives which have always been legally available for 50 years to their more affluent counterparts,” he added.

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