“In many aspects, the RH bill is in agreement with many positions of the UMC with regard to family planning, responsible parenthood and other related issues” — United Methodist Church
By DANILDA L. FUSILERO
KIDAPAWAN CITY, Cotabato, Philippines — Two Mindanao solons and two protestant churches here urged for the speedy passage of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.
Saying that it is “long overdue,” Gabriela Women’s Party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said the current sixth version of the RH Bill is what the country needs.
Speaking before a Theological Forum on Reproductive Health Bill held at the Southern Philippines Methodist College, Rep. Ilagan said the country needs a comprehensive reproductive health policy to ensure sustainable health care for poor Filipino women.
In that same forum, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the United Methodist Church (UMC) presented its seven-page statement of support for the passage of the bill.
It cited the “sanctity of human life,” the rights of all people including women and children, and the family. It also called for the conduct of education on human sexuality and family life, including rights of children; counselling for married and would-be married couples on responsible parenthood; afford access to comprehensive health care and nutrition among pregnant women, among others.
“In many aspects, the RH bill is in agreement with many positions of the UMC with regard to family planning, responsible parenthood and other related issues,” the statement concluded.
UMC calls on its members to support the bill and cooperate with its full implementation should the bill became a law.
Meanwhile, Cotabato incumbent and reelectionist Rep. Nancy Catamco also defended the RH bill, describing it as a legislative measure to empower women to choose freely. In a press conference on Monday, Catamco also expressed hopes of passing the bill before the 15th Congress ends.
“The bill provides an informed choice for women and the couples. It talks about responsible parenting; it’s not an imposition on what family planning method one should adopt,” stressed Catamco, a co-author of the RH bill.
Rep. Ilagan of Gabriela criticized personalities and institutions blocking the passage bill saying that “the bill is not about abortion and abortifacients. It’s a bill which advances poor Filipinos’ rights and access to reproductive health care,” she pointed out.
Salient points of the controversial RH bill include: accessible reproductive health care with a full-range of choices of RH care supplies; training of midwives and other birth attendants and an increase of honoraria for barangay health workers; emergency obstetric care; maternal and newborn health care in crisis situation; mobile reproductive health care; age-appropriate sexuality education; sexual and reproductive health programs for persons with disabilities; maximum benefits for life-threatening reproductive health conditions like breast/reproductive tract cancers and HIV/AIDS ; and pro-bono services for indigent women, among others.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund Philipines, 11 Filipino mothers die every day due to maternity-related causes. (Danilda L. Fusilero/davaotoday.com)