EDITORIAL – Waiting for P-Noy’s push (The Philippine Star)

(The Philippine Star) | Updated November 12, 2012 – 12:00am

In his last State of the Nation Address, President Aquino mentioned only a handful of priority measures that he wanted Congress to pass. One was the Reproductive Health bill. The RH measure has since become stuck in legislative gridlock, with its opponents resorting to their favorite way of killing a proposal – not through sound arguments, but through disinformation or refusing to discuss the issue.

This measure has been debated to death, and its proponents have repeatedly debunked disinformation about the bill. The measure does not endorse abortion. Contraception means conception is prevented; nothing is conceived so nothing is killed. It does not call for the free distribution of condoms to anyone in need; the government does not have that kind of money in the first place. Pope Benedict XVI himself has said condom use can save lives by preventing the spread of HIV.

What the RH bill seeks to address is the reality of women dying from one pregnancy too many, and of women including teenagers resorting to abortion because they lack access to RH counseling. The bill seeks to address the fact that women with sufficient financial means and education do not need the RH bill, because they already know the options available and can make informed choices on their reproductive health.

This is a basic human right that all women, regardless of income status and educational attainment, should enjoy. Access to reproductive health care is also among the commitments made by the country under the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Women legislators are among the principal endorsers of the measure. Several male lawmakers are, like the male shepherds of the Catholic Church, the biggest opponents.

President Aquino should not join the ranks of the misogynists. He has the credibility to push the passage of the RH bill, and he should not hesitate to throw his weight behind the measure. The bill not only will save women’s lives but is also necessary if he wants the benefits of economic growth to be felt at the grassroots.

By 5thdistrictpangasinan Posted in Others

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