Thursday, October 7, 2010

Reproductive Health: More than Family Planning

After the incident that involves Carlos Celdran where he raised a board with a DAMASO on it, he was brought in jail and awakens the silent supporters of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill that will celebrate its 7th year in congress undelivered and not properly discussed. Last year the bill died a natural death where during its deliberation there is no quorum until the last congress closed. The FORUM for Family Planning and Development Inc hosted a discussion at the Annabel’s in Tomas Morato last October 5 to present the stand of the RH Advocates and to discuss what is the importance of the passage of the bill with the Roman Catholic hierarchy is opposing and warns the present government to do civil disobedience if ever they support the act.

Present in the forum were Gabriella Partylist Representative Luz Ilagan, AKBAYAN Partylist Representative Kaka Bag-ao, Alternative Law Group Coordinator and the present lawyer of Carlos Celdran Attorney Marlon Manuel, Executive Director of Health Action Information Network and Nation Coordinator of Catholics for Reproductive Health Movement Dr. Edelina dela Paz, President of Forum for Family Planning and Development Mr. Benjamin de Leon, Executive Director of Linangan ng Kababaihan Dr. Junice Demeterio Melgar, and National President of Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines Beth Angsioco.

During the discussion it was highlighted that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is supporting the idea of having comprehensive maternal health care for the country. His support started after his return from the UN Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, but a rumor came in that the Roman Catholic Church will excommunicate him if ever he supports the bill. This rumor leads to more heat up discussion between two parties the RH Advocates and those who oppose the bill. According to Gabriella Rep. Ilagan they wanted the church to consider the call of the majority that is now favoring the need of reproductive heath in the country which was seconded by Akbayan Rep Bag-ao who sends a letter to the President Aquino asking him to take the lead and certify the bills that pertains to the establishment of a national policy on reproductive health. Right now there are 6 RH related bills pending in the congress.

According to reports every day there are 11 mothers died during child birth and most of the cases is because of hemorrhage, infection and weak pregnancy, which according to Dr. dela Paz it can be prevented if only that mother has the choice. In areas like those in the poverty line, in every family the minimum number of child is at least 5 or more, and for some they reaches more than 8 or 9. This is where the need of family planning came in, but for others the natural method the Roman Catholic is proposing doesn’t work 100% that is why others takes the artificial contraception came in, and it was strongly opposed by the Roman Catholic.

Family Planning, this is how most supporters see the Reproductive Health, for those against it is abortion. Here are the ten elements of RH that all promote the health and welfare of each person according to Department of Health in 1998:

1. Family Planning
2. Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition
3. Adolescent Reproductive Health
4. Elimination of Violence Against Women
5. Prevention and Treatment of HIV and AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections
6. Prevention and Management of Post-Abortion Complications
7. Reproductive Tract Infections and Cancers and Other Gynecologic Conditions
8. Prevention and Treatment of Infertility and Sexual Disorders
9. Men’s Reproductive Health
10. Educatio0n and Counseling on Sexuality and Sexual Health

Reproductive Health is giving everyone a choice, according to Benjamin de Leon, it is a matter or right and RH it’s a matter of health for women where people had spoken in various surveys that there is a need of comprehensive reproductive health. De Leon statement was supported by Beth Angsioco who is a good friend of Celdran and according to her its about time to passed the RH Bill as she shows the T-Shirt with a DAMASO sign which will be sold in support of Celdran’s case and to the RH Bill campaign.

Editor’s Note:

It’s been a year since I show my support to the reproductive health bill, and sadly I saw its death on the last congress and still I put my hope on our congressmen this year that they will pass this. Our country needs a comprehensive maternal health care that will protect women from maternal mortality and also will answer child mortality and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexual transmitted infection. The sad part of this campaign is that the Roman Catholic hierarchy is opposing the said possible solution that will answer those problems in the community. I am sure that they saw families in their parochial where most of those in the poverty have more than five children per family, where parents could not support them properly and some mothers die during pregnancy. Let me end this part with my stand on RH, no mothers should die in giving birth, we should have a comprehensive maternal healthcare that requires both local and national government to establish health centers in all baranggays especially in the rural areas to take care of women and men who needs reproductive health care, and also for children, RH education doesn’t talks about things that most conservative is thinking but giving them the idea on their reproductive right and how to take care and be responsible. If only people should broaden their perspective and we will lessen early pregnancy, maternal and child mortality and prevent the spread of sexual transmitted infection. I am Pro-LIFE and Pro-CHOICE.

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