RH as HR Forum

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By Christine Joy Sarmiento, Mulat Pinoy Community Manager

Senators Cayetano and Defensor-Santiago with Dr. Raul C. Pangalangan and Dr. Esperanza Cabral

Reiterating that reproductive health is part of a people’s human rights, Senators Miriam Defensor–Santiago and Pia Cayetano campaigned for the passage of the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill in front of fellow lawyers and students. Together the senators challenged the audience to join the movement for the passage of the Senate Bill 2865, also known as the Reproductive Health Bill.

Cayetano explained that the bill would help Filipinos, especially adolescents, “as young and vulnerable as they are,” attain and enjoy their right to health, specifically right to reproductive health.

“RH bill is not a bill that will teach 9-year-olds how to use a condom. Neither does it promote sexual activity among the youth or promote promiscuity among adults,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano also enumerated the features of the bill, like promoting access to skilled health professionals; upgrading health facilities; training skilled health professionals; addressing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD); giving people free choice to various family planning methods; and promoting age- and development-appropriate reproductive health education.

Sen. Pia Cayetano

Meanwhile, Santiago used romantic and funny pick-up lines, and even brought actress Heart Evangelista to the forum to catch the students’ attention. Santiago said, “Reproductive rights constitute the totality of a person’s constitutionally-protected rights relating to the control of his or her procreative activities.”

Santiago further explained that reproductive rights refer to “the cluster of civil liberties relating to pregnancy, abortion, and sterilization. She added that it is also the personal bodily right of a woman to decide whether to become pregnant or bear a child.

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Both senators emphasized that the bill is not pro-abortion and it is not a move to control population growth.

Before the forum ended, the two senators invited the forum to stand up and raise their fists as a symbol of joining and strengthening the campaign for the passage of the reproductive health bill.

The two lady senators spoke in a forum entitled, “RH as HR” held at the University of the Philippines College of Law last September in front of fellow lawyers, policy makers and various students from different colleges and universities in the metro.

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