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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Introduction to the Comprehensive Reproductive Health Bill

Photo from Pinoy Weekly/ Macky Macaspac

FRAMEWORK

1. Women’s reproductive health problems and concerns are addressed against the backdrop of Philippine society beset with unequal distribution of wealth. The social inequality between the ruling and the exploited classes coupled with government's corruption and its neglect to deliver essential social services is the core basis of poverty, and not overpopulation.

2. Reproductive health must be addressed as basic human rights and an integral part of comprehensive health and not be reduced to population-control premise. The RH Bill is presented with a positive framework and provisions that will basically benefit women, especially the poor. Pro RH bill legislators and advocates must work together to make the bill consistent on the premise of advancing reproductive health rights in a comprehensive, accessible, acceptable, and democratic manner

3. The struggle for advancing reproductive health care does not end by enacting a law on repro health. Like any other law, its implementation lies on the political will of authorities especially the national government. Ultimately, women’s organized, collective and determined action can pressure any government entity – from barangay up to Malacañang – to act on the need to address women’s rights, reproductive health care included. 


OBJECTIVES OF THE GWP RH BILL ADVOCACY

1. Push for a national law providing access to information and reproductive health care services; and 2. elevate as a state responsibility the need to disseminate information and provide services for reproductive health care. 

The RH bill must be consistent with its assertion that reproductive health care must be the responsibility of the national government. As such, the implementation of programs regarding reproductive health must be undertaken by the Department of Health and the Department of Education and not be placed under the aegis of the Commission on Population, a government agency that historically and by its very name, simply formulates policies and oversees/monitors implementation of programs related to population and population control. 

SALIENT POINTS OF THE GWP RH BILL

Declaration of State Policy and Principles – Consistent with the Magna Carta of Women, and cognizant of primary health care as the key toattaining a level of health that will permit its people to lead a socially and economically productive life, as part of development in the spirit of social justice.

Guiding Principles – Basic principles of Human Rights

Scope of Application – Applies to all Filipino females, throughout the various stages of their life cycle.

Components – Covers reproductive health issues of girls and women, from birth to post menopause.

UNIQUE ELEMENTS

1. Minimum Reproductive Health Standards for Public Lying-in Clinics and Hospitals – the Department of Health should promulgate a set of minimum Reproductive Health standards for public lying-in clinics and hospitals, which shall be included in the set of criteria for accrediting these health facilities. Reproductive health care programs and services at the primary health care level should be reinforced through promulgation of appropriate policies, capacity building programs and resource investments.

2. Employers’ Responsibilities – Employers are obliged to ensure proper protection of women workers handling or working with chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm. Employers are obliged to monitor pregnant working employees among their workforce and ensure that they are provided paid half-day prenatal medical leaves for each month of the pregnancy period that the pregnant employee is employed in their company or organization. These paid prenatal medical leaves shall be reimbursable from the SSS or GSIS, as the case may be.

3. Mothers with infants and preschool children - Barangay day care centers should prioritize enrollment of infants andpreschool children of teenage and primi mothers who need to find work for their family’s economic survival and for working mothers.

4. Sexual and Reproductive Health programs for persons with disabilities (PWDs) - City and Municipalities must ensure that barriers to reproductive health services for persons with disabilities are obliterated by a) providing physical access, and resolving transportation and proximity issues to clinics, hospitals and places where public health education is provided, contraceptives are sold or distributed or other places where reproductive health services are provided; b) adapting examination tables and other laboratory procedures to the needs and conditions of persons with disabilities; b) increasing access to information and communication materials on sexual and reproductive health in Braille, large print, simple language, and pictures; c) providing continuing education on inclusion rights of persons with disabilities among health-care providers; and d) undertaking activities to raise awareness and address misconceptions among the general public on the stigma and their lack of knowledge on the sexual and reproductive health needs and rights of persons with disabilities.

5. Mental health services as essential component of Reproductive Health Care Programs - Mental health is related to many aspects of Sexual and Reproductive Health. These include, among others, perinatal depression and suicide, mental health and psychological consequences of gender-based violence, or HIV/AIDS, feelings of loss and guilt after miscarriage, stillbirth, or unsafe abortion. Measures to promote the mental and psychological well-being of pregnant mothers should be incorporated into the health programs of lying-in clinics and public hospitals.

6. Sexuality and Reproductive Health Education - Regular educational seminars and activities on sexuality and reproductive health must be implemented by public health centers and lying-in clinics, the costs for which should be sourced from the LGU GAD budget.

7. Infertility - The capabilities of lying-in clinics and public hospitals to counsel women and couples with infertility problems must be enhanced. Fertility work up programs must be implemented in at least one tertiary public hospital per municipality of city.

8. Making reproductive health procedures affordable and accessible to marginalized women of menopausal or post-menopausal age  - Hysterectomy or hormonal replacement therapy for menopausal or post-menopausal women, pap smears, and related reproductive health procedures required by women of menopausal or post-menopausal agemust be affordable and accessible to marginalized women. It should be considered among the medical procedures that can be applied for health financing through the PhilHealth.

9. Programs for women with cancer of the reproductive system - Marginalized women seeking medical treatments for any cancer of the reproductive system should be eligible for PhilHealth financing for such treatments. They and their families must be supported through educational and counselling programs at public hospitals.

10. Research on reproductive health issues, including appropriate fibromyalgia diagnosis and treatment among Filipino womenThe Department of Health, through its Maternal and Health program, must promulgate researches on fibromyalgia and other relevant health issues affecting women’s reproductive health.

11. Pro Bono Services for Indigent Women - Private and non-government reproductive health care service providers, including but not limited to gynecologists and obstetricians, are mandated to provide at least 200 hours annually of reproductive health services ranging from providing information and education, to rendering medical services free of charge to indigent and low income patients, especially to pregnant adolescents. 

12. Penalties and Sanctions – Any person who is found guilty of violating any Section of this act shall be fined a penalty ranging from One Hundred Thousand Pesos (PhP100,000.00) to Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (PhP300,000).




Special thanks to Pia Graduce, Chief of Staff of Congresswoman Emmi de Jesus (Gabriela Women's Party Representative) for this primer.

Click here to read the full text of HB 3387 also known as Comprehensive Reproductive Health Bill filed by the Gabriela Women's Party co-authored by Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Kabataan and ACT Teachers Party.

You may also visit and add the official facebook page of Gabriela Women's Party for more information.

17 comments:

  1. Kuya jaime, may i copy this one? We need this in our study. Sem break na po kaya we are in hurry to finish our study. Matagal na po akong naghahagilap ng ganitong material pero wala po sa iba. I cant even see the site of Gabriela. I also browse the facebook page of Gariela pero wala din po.

    Pls.. allow me to use this. Super salamat po talaga! and salamat sa material nito. I owe u!

    ReplyDelete
  2. salamat sa impormasyon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Karen ,ang OA mo naman. Joke o sige po. Its free naman e. hehehe salamat din sa pagbisita. Friend ba kita sa facebook? Paano mo ito na-browse e kakapost ko lang nito sa FB and twitter?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ummm kuya nakababad kasi kami ngayon sa net dahil pinapaspas namin tong project. Mabuti nga at bigla kang nagpost. thanks po talaga.

    Nga po pala, i googled the site of gabrieala pero wala po talaga. Meron sila pero outdated.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah ganon ba? yeah down ang server ngayon ng Gabriela but they are working on it na. Anyway, sa gabriela staff din naman galing ang material na ito. Hehehe Salamat uli!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think the passing of Comprehensive Reproductive Health Bill will benefit a lot people especially women. I hope it will be approved soon for women protection.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sana linawin nman sa TV sa pamamagitan ng news ang tungkol sa RH Bill na to pra hindi malito ang mga mamayan at malaman din ang kahalagahan nito sa kababaehan..

    ReplyDelete
  8. sana maging matagumpay kayu

    ReplyDelete
  9. RH Bill is really controversial. The Catholic Church on one hand and the government on the other. Though I'm a Catholic, I still believe and agree that the RH Bill should be approved. Not only for men but also for women who are actually the one more affected.

    Health Blog

    ReplyDelete
  10. ...UmmmPHT.say no to RH Bill..save our future,,!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. sana nga!,dapat nga talagang linawin sa tv ang isyung ito sapagkat itoy napakahalaga sa bawat mga kababaihan na malaman nila ang tungkol dito.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for sharing the idea there would be some apprehensions from segment but i am up for it.
    infertility center Mexico

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks :)kailangan ko to para sa Term Paper ko :]

    ReplyDelete
  14. im still undecisive with this issue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. catherine mones bustosJune 30, 2012 at 9:54 PM

      well better know the both sides before judging :)

      Delete
  15. Hi! I could have sworn I've visited your blog before but after going through some of the articles I realized it's new to me. Regardless, I'm certainly happy I found it and I'll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!
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