Manila, Philippines (4E) – Two houses of the Philippine Congress ironed out the kinks in the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill and ratified Wednesday night.
The measure now awaits Philippine President Benigno Aquino Jr.’s signature which is expected by the end of the year.
The proposed legislation seeks to improve public access to reproductive health services, including natural and artificial family planning options. It also promotes better maternal care, responsible parenthood, and youth education on sexual and reproductive health issues.
The influential Catholic Church has been opposing the bill.
In the bicameral committee, the lawmakers approved provisions that state that a requirement is needed of parental consent from minors who are not yet married or are with children; mandatory reproductive health education for those aged 10 to 19 years old; and the responsibility of the national government to assist local government units in the distribution of RH services.
The bicameral meeting was described as conciliatory