RH Bill Part 1

As Filipino pride, Manny Pacquiao joins his peers in the political arena he had a few things to say about the RH Bill. It occurred to me then that maybe the reason why people still think the Bill constitutes murder is that they haven’t read the damn thing. Either they never thought about consulting a document they are stubbornly against (idiots) or just didn’t bother to (out of fear that it might make sense).

So, I decided to post the thing here. Complete with the latest authors amendments. Yeah its gonna be a bitch to read but so are the inane protests that shout dropping sperm is abortion. Higlighting important points along the way.

Sec. 2 Declaration of Policy

The State recognizes and guarantees the exercise of the universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons, particularly of parents, couples and women, consistent with their religious convictions, cultural beliefs and the demands of responsible parenthood. Toward this end, there shall be no discrimination against any person on grounds of sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, political affiliation and ethnicity.

Moreover, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment as a health and human rights concern. The advancement and protection of women’s human rights shall be central to the efforts of the State to address reproductive health care. As a distinct but inseparable measure to the guarantee of women’s rights, the State recognizes and guarantees the promotion of the welfare and rights of children.

The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically-safe, legal, affordable, effective and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information and education thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, among other underprivileged sectors.

The State shall eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights.

Sec. 3 Guiding Principles

The following principles constitute the framework upon which this Act is anchored:

  1. Freedom of choice, which is central to the exercise of right, must be fully guaranteed by the State;
  2. Respect for, protection and fulfillment of reproductive health and rights seek to promote the rights and welfare of couples, adult individuals, women and adolescents;
  3. Since human resource is among the principal asset of the country, maternal health, safe delivery of healthy children and their full human development and responsible parenting must be ensured through effective reproductive health care;
  4. The provision of medically safe, legal, accessible, affordable and effective reproductive health care services and supplies is essential in the promotion of people’s right to health, especially of the poor and marginalized;
  5. The State shall promote, without bias, all effective natural and modern methods of family planning that are medically safe and legal;
  6. The State shall promote programs that: (1) enable couples, individuals and women to have the number and spacing of children and reproductive spacing they desire with due consideration to the health of women and resources available to them; (2) achieve equitable allocation and utilization of resources; (3) ensure effective partnership among the national government, local government units and the private sector in the design, implementation, coordination, integration, monitoring and evaluation of people-centered programs to enhance quality of life and environmental protection; (4) conduct studies to analyze demographic trends towards sustainable human development and (5) conduct scientific studies to determine safety and efficacy of alternative medicines and methods for reproductive health care development;
  7. The provision of reproductive health information, care and supplies shall be the joint responsibility of the National Government and the Local Government Units (LGUs);
  8. Active participation by non-government, women’s, people’s, civil society organizations and communities is crucial to ensure that reproductive health and population and development policies, plans, and programs will address the priority needs of the poor, especially women;
  9. While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner; (get off her back you Pilates)
  10. There shall be no demographic or population targets and the mitigation of the population growth rate is incidental to the promotion of reproductive health and sustainable human development;
  11. Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population and development;
  12. The limited resources of the country cannot be suffered to be spread so thinly to service a burgeoning multitude making allocations grossly inadequate and effectively meaningless;
  13. Development is a multi-faceted process that calls for the coordination and integration of policies, plans, programs and projects that seek to uplift the quality of life of the people, more particularly the poor, the needy and the marginalized; and
  14. That a comprehensive reproductive health program addresses the needs of people throughout their life cycle.

Sec. 4 Definition of Terms

For the purposes of this Act, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

Adolescence refers to the period of physical and physiological development of an individual from the onset of puberty to complete growth and maturity which usually begins between eleven (11) to thirteen (13) years and terminating at eighteen (18) to twenty (20) years of age;

Adolescent Sexuality refers to, among others, the reproductive system, gender identity, values and beliefs, emotions, relationships and sexual behavior at adolescence;

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) refers to a condition characterized by a combination of signs and symptoms, caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which attacks and weakens the body’s immune system, making the afflicted individual susceptible to other life-threatening infections;

Anti-Retroviral Medicines (ARVs) refer to medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV;

Basic Emergency Obstetric Care refers to lifesaving services for maternal complications being provided by a health facility or professional, which must include the following six signal functions: administration of parenteral antibiotics; administration of parenteral oxytocic drugs; administration of parenteral anticonvulsants for pre-eclampsia and eclampsia; manual removal of placenta; removal of retained products; and assisted vaginal delivery;

Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care refers to basic emergency obstetric care including deliveries by surgical procedure (caesarian section) and blood transfusion;

Employer refers to any natural or juridical person who hires the services of a worker. The term shall not include any labor organization or any of its officers or agents except when acting as an employer;

Family Planning refers to a program which enables couples, individuals and women to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, acquire relevant information on reproductive health care, services and supplies and have access to a full range of safe, legal, affordable, effective natural and modern methods of limiting and spacing pregnancy;

Gender Equality refers to the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in opportunities, allocation of resources or benefits and access to services;

Gender Equity refers to fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men, and often requires women-specific projects and programs to end existing inequalities;

Healthcare Service Provider refers to (1) health care institution, which is duly licensed and accredited and devoted primarily to the maintenance and operation of facilities for health promotion, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals suffering from illness, disease, injury, disability or deformity, or in need of obstetrical or other medical and nursing care; (2) a health care professional, who is a doctor of medicine, a nurse, or a midwife; (3) public health worker engaged in the delivery of health care services; and (4) barangay health worker who has undergone training programs under any accredited government and non-government organization and who voluntarily renders primarily health care services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH);

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) refers to the virus which causes AIDS;

Male Responsibility refers to the involvement, commitment, accountability, and responsibility of males in relation to women in all areas of sexual and reproductive health as well as the protection and promotion of reproductive health concerns specific to men;

Maternal Death Review refers to a qualitative and in-depth study of the causes of maternal death with the primary purpose of preventing future deaths through changes or additions to programs, plans and policies;

Modern Methods of Family Planning refer to safe, effective and legal methods, whether the natural, or the artificial that are registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the DOH, to prevent pregnancy;

People Living with HIV (PLWH) refer to individuals who have been tested and found to be infected with HIV;

Poor refers to members of households identified as poor through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or any subsequent system used by the national government in identifying the poor.

Population and Development refers to a program that aims to: (1) help couples and parents achieve their desired family size; (2) improve reproductive health of individuals by addressing reproductive health problems; (3) contribute to decreased maternal and infant mortality rates and early child mortality; (4) reduce incidence of teenage pregnancy; and (5) recognize the linkage between population and sustainable human development;

Reproductive Health refers to the state of complete physical, mental and social 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;

Reproductive Health Care refers to the access to a full range of methods, facilities, services and supplies that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health-related problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations. The elements of reproductive health care include the following:

(a) family planning information and services;

(b) maternal, infant and child health and nutrition, including breastfeeding;

(c) proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications;

(d) adolescent and youth reproductive health;

(e) prevention and management of reproductive tract infections (RTIs), HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STIs);

(f) elimination of violence against women;

(g) education and counseling on sexuality and reproductive health;

(h) treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions and disorders;

(i) male responsibility and participation in reproductive health;

(j) prevention and treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction;

(k) reproductive health education for the adolescents; and

(l) mental health aspect of reproductive health care.

Reproductive Health Care Program refers to the systematic and integrated provision of reproductive health care to all citizens especially the poor, marginalized and those in vulnerable and crisis situations;

Reproductive Health Rights refer to the rights of couples, individuals and women to decide freely and responsibly whether or not to have children; to determine the number, spacing and timing of their children; to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence; to have relevant information; and to attain the highest condition of sexual and reproductive health;

Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education refers to a lifelong learning process of providing and acquiring complete, accurate and relevant information and education on reproductive health and sexuality through life skills education and other approaches;

Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI) refers to sexually transmitted infections, and other types of infections affecting the reproductive system;

Responsible Parenthood refers to the will, ability and commitment of parents to adequately respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children by responsibly and freely exercising their reproductive health rights;

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) refers to any infection that may be acquired or passed on through sexual contact;

Skilled Attendant refers to an accredited health professional, such as midwife, doctor or nurse, who has been educated and trained in the skills needed to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complications in women and newborns, to exclude traditional birth attendant or midwife (hilot), whether trained or not;

Skilled Birth Attendance refers to childbirth managed by a skilled attendant including the enabling conditions of necessary equipment and support of a functioning health system, and the transport and referral facilities for emergency obstetric care; and

Sustainable Human Development refers to bringing people, particularly the poor and vulnerable, to the center of development process, the central purpose of which is the creation of an enabling environment in which all can enjoy long, healthy and productive lives, and done in a manner that promotes their rights and protects the life opportunities of future generations and the natural ecosystem on which all life depends.

Sec. 5 Midwives fro Skilled Attendance

The Local Government Units (LGUs) with the assistance of the DOH, shall employ an adequate number of midwives through regular employment or service contracting, subject to the provisions of the Local Government Code, to achieve a minimum ratio of one (1) fulltime skilled birth attendant for every one hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year, to be based on the annual number of actual deliveries or live births for the past two (2) years; Provided, That people in geographically isolated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access.

Sec. 6 Emergency Obstetric Care

Each province and city, with the assistance of the DOH, shall establish or upgrade hospitals with adequate and qualified personnel, equipment and supplies to be able to provide emergency obstetric and neonatal care. For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital with comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care and four (4) hospitals or other health facilities with basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care; Provided, That people in geographically isolated and depressed areas shall be provided the same level of access.

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