Magna Carta ≠ RH

 

With talks and debates about the RH Bill becoming so heated, there are more and more parties coming out declaring their stances but recently an anti-RH liegislator declared that the RH Bill is redundant because its provisions were already covered under the Magna Carta for women Sections 17 and 19. Well, in a short while you’ll find that this is not so.

Zambales Rep. Maria Milagros Magsaysay said that if lawmakers who have been pushing for the passage of the bill aim to providing women access to contraceptives, it is already included in the Magna Carta for Women.

“May existing law na protect health of women. If they want to have women to access to pre-natal and post-natal care, it is already in the Magna carta, it is an existing law we passed during the 14th Congress,”

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I’ve posted both those parts here.

(a) Comprehensive Health Services. – The State shall, at all times, provide for a comprehensive, culture-sensitive, and gender-responsive health services and programs covering all stages of a woman’s life cycle and which addresses the major causes of women’s mortality and morbidity: Provided, That in the provision for comprehensive health services, due respect shall be accorded to women’s religious convictions, the rights of the spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions, and the demands of responsible parenthood, and the right of women to protection from hazardous drugs, devices, interventions, and substances. Access to the following services shall be ensured:

(1) Maternal care to include pre- and post-natal services to address pregnancy and infant health and nutrition;

(2) Promotion of breastfeeding;

(3) Responsible, ethical, legal, safe, and effective methods of family planning;

(4) Family and State collaboration in youth sexuality education and health services without prejudice to the primary right and duty of parents to educate their children;

(5) Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections, including sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and AIDS;

(6) Prevention and management of reproductive tract cancers like breast and cervical cancers, and other gynecological conditions and disorders;

(7) Prevention of abortion and management of pregnancy-related complications;

(8) In cases of violence against women and children, women and children victims and survivors shall be provided with comprehensive health services that include psychosocial, therapeutic, medical, and legal interventions and assistance towards healing, recovery, and empowerment;

(9) Prevention and management of infertility and sexual dysfunction pursuant to ethical norms and medical standards;

(10) Care of the elderly women beyond their child-bearing years; and

(11) Management, treatment, and intervention of mental health problems of women and girls.

In addition, healthy lifestyle activities are encouraged and promoted through programs and projects as strategies in the prevention of diseases.

(b) Comprehensive Health Information and Education. – The State shall provide women in all sectors with appropriate, timely, complete, and accurate information and education on all the above-stated aspects of women’s health in government education and training programs, with due regard to the following:

(1) The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth and the development of moral character and the right of children to be brought up in an atmosphere of morality and rectitude for the enrichment and strengthening of character;

(2) The formation of a person’s sexuality that affirms human dignity; and

(3) Ethical, legal, safe, and effective family planning methods including fertility awareness.

Sec. 19 is actually a section on marriage and has one line on the subject of Reproductive Health that says:

(c) the joint decision on the number and spacing of their children and to have access to the information, education and means to enable them to exercise these rights;

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All of the highlighted above are indeed included in the RH Bill (which I’ve also posted yesterday in full). And if you would look at both it is clearly seen that Sections 17 and 19(c) offer no specific methodolgy or guidelines for doctors or healthworkers to follow.

These are a few points on which the Magna Carta failed to cover.

(a) Sec. 5 outlines the hiring or employ of midwives to assist in the delivery of babies

(b) Sec. 6 mandates that all hospitals be upgraded with personnel and equipment in order to provide the best neo-natal and emergency obstetric care.

(c) Sec. 7 does the Magna Carta one better. not only does it provide for a full range of family planning methods (like in Magna Carta Sec. 17 (3)) it also states that these measures will covered and paid for by PhilHealth.

(d) Sec. 8 ensures evacuation centers/refugee samps equipped to respons to gender-based violence.

(e) Sec. 9 provides a review of all deaths during delivery (not covered in the Magna Carta)

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I could go on and on but this post is already getting way too long. Saying that the RH Bill is a redundant copy of the Magna Carta is completely false. If anything, it is an expansion of the Magna Carta. An apt (in my opinion) analogy would be: The Magna Carta would tell you that a car could go relatively fast; while the RH Bill will tell you its maximum speed, the times it takes to reach that speed, and how the engine can produce that much power.

Not to defame Rep. Magsaysay but to a lawmaker this should be relatively simple to notice. True there are still a lot more points that the RH Bill can affors to be more specific on but it sure beats the over-generality of the Magna by a mile, which may help the problem of implementation as she earlier offered as the main problem.

Specifics, its nitty-gritty and a bitch to read but they make all the difference.

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