RH Bill: silver bullet to rising maternal deaths

July 13, 2012

PHILIPPINES – Sen. Pia Cayetano believes the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill would give priority to the plight and burden of Filipino mothers.

In a statement on World Population Day on Wednesday, Cayetano said this year’s theme of “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services” emphasizes the need for an RH law to help bring down the number of maternal deaths.

“On World Population Day, let’s prioritize the plight and burden of Filipino mothers,” she said.

“They are the ones who risk their life to bear new life, carry the primary burden of ensuring the health, education and welfare of their children, and balance the family’s meager resources to survive from day-to-day.”

Cayetano said the situation of Filipino mothers has gone from bad to worse over the past few years as indicated in the rise of maternal deaths.

“This should be reason compelling enough for any fair-minded legislator to support the enactment of the RH bill, which would allow mothers universal access to reproductive health services of the government,” she said.

“As more and more of our colleagues are enlightened on the importance and urgency of implementing a national reproductive health policy, we expect the RH bill to finally hurdle the obstacles and see passage soon after Congress reopens its session.”

Cayetano said the RH bill would prevent more maternal deaths by expanding access to the following services: natural and artificial family planning services to allow mothers to plan and space their pregnancies; prenatal care to ensure the mother’s health and nutrition, and allow for early detection of complications; safe and modern birthing facilities manned by health professionals to ensure safe deliveries; and postpartum services to monitor and address complications after delivery.

“Based on the FHS, prevalence in the use of modern contraceptives is much lower for married women belonging to poor households compared to those belonging to non-poor households,” she said.

Cayetano said a disparity exists in the use of contraceptives between married women with little or no education and those with higher levels of education.

“What these figures prove is that clearly, there’s a very huge unmet need for reproductive health services for women in general, but more so, for those who come from the poorest families and those who are less educated,” she said.

“There clearly is an urgent material need for an RH Law, but its hard-line critics refuse to see the reality. They refuse to lift a finger to help alleviate the condition of Filipino mothers despite the alarming rise in maternal deaths. It’s high time we end this vicious cycle where mothers are callously denied access to reproductive health services, which is their right and need. It’s high time to pass the RH bill.”

Cayetano and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago are the principal authors of the RH bill.

It would be considered for approval on second reading when Congress resumes session later this month.

Source: ABS-CBN News


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