By way of background, there have been five RH Bills filed with the 15th Congress—(a) the 28-section House Bill No. 96, introduced by Hon. Edcel C. Lagman; (b) the 25-section House Bill No. 101, introduced by Hon. Janette L. Garin, M.D.; (c) the 24-section House Bill No. 1160, introduced by Hon. Rodolfo G. Biazon; (d) the 7-section House Bill No. 1520, introduced by Hon. Augusto Boboy Syjuco, PhD; and (e) the 36-section House Bill No. 3387, introduced by Gabriela’s Hon. Luzviminda C. Ilagan, Anakpawis’s Hon. Rafael Mariano, ACT Teachers’ Hon. Antonio Tinio, and Kabataan Partylist’s Raymond Palatino.
The Consolidated RH Bill proposes to enact “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.” Its Declaration of Policy appears laudable as it declares that (i) the State recognizes and guarantees “the exercise of the universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons, particularly of parents, couples and women, consistent with their religious convictions, cultural beliefs and the demands of responsible parenthood” and, toward this end, “there shall be no discrimination against any person on grounds such as sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, political affiliation and ethnicity”; (ii) the State recognizes and guarantees “the promotion of gender equality, equity and women’s empowerment as a health and human rights concern” and “the promotion of the welfare and rights of children”; (iii) the State likewise guarantees “universal access to medically-safe, legal, affordable, effective and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information and education thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, among other underprivileged sectors”; and (iv) the State shall “eradicate discriminatory practices, laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of reproductive health rights”.
So, why then are there vehement oppositions to the Consolidated RH Bill, especially from certain church leaders and stalwarts?