Ex-DOH chief hopes critics accept new RH Bill

Posted at 10/19/12 7:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral is pinning her hopes that a new version of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill in the House of Representatives will be more acceptable to critics.

Speaking to ANC, Cabral said the slightly watered-down version of the RH measure remains true to its essence of informed consent and giving RH services to poor women.

“I think it supports the principles of the Reproductive Health Bill. It does not give the government [power] over how many children a family should have. It remains the choice of the family. I m hoping that this will be acceptable enough to them so we can pass it,” she said.

The new version of the RH Bill guarantees public access to relevant information on medically safe reproductive health care services that do not prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum. It also provides funding support to promote modern natural methods of family planning.

Cabral said the new bill does not ban modern contraceptives such as condoms, birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs).

“Contraceptives mentioned such as condoms, pills, IUDS and the like all work by preventing fertilization and not by blocking implantation so they should be part of the menu of contraceptives. All of these are contraceptives that prevent the meeting of the egg and the sperm,” she said.

She said this could be a sticking point for anti-RH hardliners who oppose all  forms of artificial contraception.

“I think some hardliners are going to insist that all methods of contraception except natural family planning are actually weapons of abortion. This has been proven false by all scientific evidences we have,” she said.

She, however, said the time for debates is over since RH Bill proponents have bent over backwards just to accommodate critics.