6 August 2012
Amnesty International Philippines said in a statement that the running numbers game at the Philippine Congress of 143 representatives in favor of the Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill) is a good sign that some legislators have the political will to uphold women’s rights.
“The continued vigilance of the women’s movement and human rights organizations in the Philippines has led us to this day when more people are aware of maternal health and sexual reproductive rights resulting to more representatives at the Congress understanding the need to pass the Reproductive Health Bill. A yes vote to the RH bill is a vote for human rights,” Dr. Aurora Parong, Amnesty International Philippines Director said.
Amnesty International has produced reports on Maternal Health featuring the situation of women around the world and the importance of recognizing women’s rights as human rights. It has reiterated that while women have the intrinsic right to life, they are dying needlessly because they still do not have the information, resources and services to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health. They face financial and social barriers in their access to reproductive health care and until now do not have the right to determine when they will become pregnant because of the denial of access to contraception and control over their bodies.
“The battle towards attaining the number of RH Bill supporters has been continuing for decades. Experts in the country and all over the world have spoken on ious grounds, from statistics to medical science and economics. We must remember that this is not a numbers game. We should not forget that we cannot just debate without end because this is about the lives of women and our children. For everyday of debate and playing the numbers, 15 women die due to childbirth in our country,” explained Dr. Parong.
Amnesty International noted that the news and social media has played a big part in information-sharing. The group said that now, it is up to the Congress to give women their fair share of the law despite opposition from constituents who may matter in the number of votes in the 2013 elections. Amnesty International Philippines is calling on the Congress to look beyond the elections and think strategically for the country.
“The show of force of individuals who oppose the reproductive health bill is small compared to 300,000 cases of pregnancy-related deaths of women all over the world, that’s one woman every 90 seconds, 15 of those deaths, each day, are Filipino mothers. To Congress representatives, you can end deadly inequalities and fatal flaws in our domestic laws which are barriers to a woman’s access to maternal health and reproductive rights. End the debate. Pass the RH Bill now!” Dr. Parong concluded.
Amnesty International maintains that a law on Reproductive Health is an obligation of the Philippine government to enact, in compliance with its UN commitments to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and other human rights treaties – Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).