Delayed legislation, delayed protection of lives. No future in that.
6 March 2012
Two days before the World March of Women during the International Women’s Day on 8
March, women and men, urgently hoping for a positive vote for a Reproductive
Health law the soonest time, will once again go to the Senate to listen to the interpellation
on Senate Bill No. 2865 or RH bill.
Amnesty International Philippines joins individuals
and groups from all walks of life in their call for the government to enact a
Reproductive Health law as a step to fulfill its obligations to promote and protect
reproductive and sexual rights of its citizens and remove barriers to maternal
health and access to reproductive health information, goods and services.
Amnesty International said that the International Women’s day would have been a
significant day to enact a reproductive health law.
is a missed opportunity not to enact the reproductive health law before March
8, the International Women’s Day! The RH law would have been one of the best gifts
for mothers on March 8,” declared Dr.
Aurora Parong, Director of Amnesty International in the Philippines.
Dr. Parong said that “Reproductive rights include
women’s rights to make decisions about their reproductive lives free of
coercion, discrimination and violence. It is about ensuring women’s access to
comprehensive reproductive health information and services to end preventable
maternal deaths. We can protect the mothers and decrease the number of mothers
dying because of child birth through a
reproductive health law. “
Amnesty International appealed to the Senate President
Juan Ponce Enrile, to once and for all allow all questions and concerns to be
asked, answered and clarified, then end the interpellations to move on to the
next step towards the voting of the RH bill. The human rights organization
noted that it has been more than a decade that a bill on reproductive health was first
proposed. Last year, Senator Enrile had expressed concerns about the bill’s
impact on population, development and security.
“We welcome the
honorable Manong Johnny’s efforts to continue the Senate
deliberations on the RH bill even while the impeachment trial is not finished. We understand that as Senate
President, it is his duty to provide for a venue for senators to interpellate
and clarify concerns, including his concerns which he said will impact on the
future of the Philippines as a nation.
The RH law is not only
for women, it is for couples and family. We would like to reiterate that
further delay in the passage of a reproductive health law would be a delay in
the protection of mothers and babies. When a mother dies, a family is deprived
of a mother’s nurturing love and care.” Dr.
International Philippines emphasizes that when
women living in poverty have no access to emergency obstetric care because of lack
of information, or because it is expensive, or because it is not available in
their area, maternal deaths will continue and the Philippines will not achieve
its Millenium Development Goal 5. It is the government’s duty to protect women and girls from preventable deaths
and for them to enjoy their right to life and develop their full potentials as
“A delay in legislation is a delay in the improvement of the lives of
women living in poverty. Healthy women and children can contribute to the strengthening
of our economy and to our development as a nation. If passed, the law would make a
positive contribution towards ensuring Filipinos’ human rights, thus also
ensuring a good economic future for the country. When a woman is clueless on how to
plan a family, clueless on how to make ends meet for a big family and clueless
on how to avoid disease while pregnant, she does not become an asset to society
but is engulfed in the vicious cycle of deprivation and human rights abuse. The
generations after her will face deprivation,
exclusion, insecurity and voicelessness and these will perpetuate poverty. We
don’t think that there is a bright future in that, Manong Johnny.” Concluded Dr.
Amnesty International leaders will hand over today an urgent appeal to
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to
“ensure that sexual and reproductive rights are respected for all women, men
and families regardless of social status, sexual orientation, age or religion
by ensuring the passage of a reproductive health law” immediately. The petition was signed by 1,000 members and supporters of Amnesty International. In December last year,
a similar petition signed by 2,000 people was sent to the Senate President’s
office. The human rights organization has been conducting information and education
on sexual and reproductive rights, as part of human rights, in ious parts of