Philippine president signs reproductive measure into law

Bernadette Carreon – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Manila, Philippines (4E) – Philippine President Benigno Aquino on the weekend signed into law the Reproductive Health measure drawing flak from the Catholic Church,

As promised , the controversial bill is now a law before 2012 ended.

On Saturday, Malacañang confirmed Aquino had signed into law last Dec. 21 the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 as Republic Act 10354.

The measure became controversial due to its provisions allowing artificial contraception. The Catholic Church and “pro-life” groups accept only natural family planning.

Catholic Church officials however had vowed to fight the new law, saying the fight is not yet over.

The RH Law guarantees universal access to methods on contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care.

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, co-sponsor of the bill in her opinion column with CNN in justifying the bill stated, “many poor women do not receive information on how to receive reproductive health care. Our underprivileged women have to accept standards lower than what they need, want, or deserve. According to the Department of Health, the mortality rate for Filipino mothers increased to 221 per 100,000 live births in 2011 from 162 per 100,000 live births in 2009. But not only do the women suffer, the children do, too. The children remain undernourished and undereducated because their parents are ignorant about reproductive health care and choices.”

She said what made it controversial was the Catholic Church opposition not because it is “dangerous.”

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