Pro- and anti-RH Bill advocates face off in Senate hearing

Advocates for and against the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill faced off in the Senate hearing held October 18, reports During the discussion headed by the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Health Undersecretary Alex Padilla said, "The central issue is not the number of children a family can have but the quality of life given to children." He said, "Couples must be equipped with information on available options for family planning and responsible parenthood (for them to make) informed choices with respect to their religious and social norms, and human rights."

Padilla added that the DOH is committed to significantly reducing maternal and child deaths, and making health services accessible for everyone by 2015. He said these are part of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). According to, Senator Pia Cayetano, the committee chair, wanted to focus on the RH Bill’s connection with achieving the MDGs. However, "the Senate discussion took a life of its own" when it veered towards the debate on when conception begins.  

Former Senator Joey Lina said contraceptives are "inherently abortifacient (and thus) in conflict with the constitution." He said the devices "prevent the implantation of fertilized ovum to the uterine wall." Dr. Santiago Del Rosario, chairman of the Committee on Ethics and Medical Practice, refuted this, saying, "Pills are given to prevent ovulation so there’s nothing for sperms to fertilize."

Pro-life advocate, former Senator Francisco Tatad said, "The real issue here is not the freedom of the woman to use contraceptives but (the expansion of) the power of the state into areas of human life where it has no business at all."


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