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  • Understanding the RH Law in 6 Questions

    Now that the hotly-debated RH Bill has been ratified, it’s time to become familiar with this new law.
    by Atty. Nikki Jimeno .
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • Your questions on the RH Law answered:

    1. Is it true that the RH Law legalizes / encourages abortion?

    2. Will it make sex education a requirement in my child’s high school curriculum?

    3. Some say that with the RH Law, we will end up like Singapore, with an aging population. What are the possibilities of this happening?

    4. Will my minor child be able to purchase contraceptives legally under the RH Law?

    5. Supporters are saying that the RH Law “empowers women”. Specifically, how does it benefit women?

    6. How does the government propose to educate / instruct the poor about the RH Law, to ensure proper implementation?

    1. Is it true that the RH Law legalizes / encourages abortion?
    No, absolutely not. RA 10354 repeatedly declares the State’s policy to protect the right to life and the rights of unborn children. It also unequivocally declares that abortion is illegal, and it prevents the sale and use of abortifacient drugs or devices. Here are some of the pertinent provisions:

    “SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy.
    Pursuant to the declaration of State policies under Section 12, Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, it is the duty of the State to protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution and equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.

    The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically-safe, non-abortifacient, effective, legal, affordable, and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies which do not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and relevant information and education thereon according to the priority needs of women, children and other underprivileged sectors, giving preferential access to those identified through the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) and other government measures of identifying marginalization, who shall be voluntary beneficiaries of reproductive health care, services and supplies for free."

    SEC. 3. Guiding Principles for Implementation. This Act declares the following as guiding principles:
    (c) Since human resource is among the principal assets of the country, effective and quality reproductive health care services must be given primacy to ensure maternal and child health, the health of the unborn, safe delivery and birth of healthy children, and sound replacement rate, in line with the State’s duty to promote the right to health, responsible parenthood, social justice and full human development;

    (h) The State shall respect individuals’ preferences and choice of family planning methods that are in accordance with their religious convictions and cultural beliefs, taking into consideration the State’s obligations under various human rights instruments;

    (j) While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortive complications and all other complications arising from pregnancy, labor and delivery and related issues shall be treated and counseled in a humane, nonjudgmental and compassionate manner in accordance with law and medical ethics;

    SEC. 4. Definition of Terms.
    (s) Reproductive health rights refers to the rights of individuals and couples, to decide freely and responsibly whether or not to have children; the number, spacing and timing of their children; to make other decisions concerning reproduction, free of discrimination, coercion and violence; to have the information and means to do so; and to attain the highest standard of sexual health and reproductive health: Provided, however, That reproductive health rights do not include abortion, and access to abortifacients.

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    SEC. 9. The Philippine National Drug Formulary System and Family Planning Supplies.
    The National Drug Formulary shall include hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies. The Philippine National Drug Formulary System (PNDFS) shall be observed in selecting drugs including family planning supplies that will be included or removed from the Essential Drugs List (EDL) in accordance with existing practice and in consultation with reputable medical associations in the Philippines. For the purpose of this Act, any product or supply included or to be included in the EDL must have a certification from the FDA that said product and supply is made available on the condition that it is not to be used as an abortifacient.

    These products and supplies shall also be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national hospitals: Provided, further, That the foregoing offices shall not purchase or acquire by any means emergency contraceptive pills, postcoital pills, abortifacients that will be used for such purpose and their other forms or equivalent.”

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