Miriam: Abortion to Remain a Crime Under RH Bill

KIMBERLY JANE TAN, GMA NEWS August 17, 2011 6:04pm

Despite the assertion of groups against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Wednesday said that abortion will remain a crime under the controversial measure now pending in Congress.

“Under the Penal Code, abortion is a crime, and it will remain a crime under the RH bill,” Santiago said during the third part of her co-sponsorship speech of Senate Bill No.2865 or The Reproductive Health Act of 2011.

Under SB 2865, the state shall guarantee universal access to medically safe, legal, affordable, and quality reproductive health services, methods, devices, supplies, and relevant information on the matter.

Oppositors of the RH bill, however, have repeatedly asserted that devices like contraceptives induce abortion.

“Contraceptives are not abortifacient,” said Santiago, adding that the issue had been laid to rest as early as 2006 during deliberations on House Bill No. 4643, which had sought to declare contraceptives as abortive.

She said a position paper released by the World Health Organization even categorically stated that “none of these methods have been shown to cause the abortion of an implanted fetus [and] therefore they cannot be labeled as abortifacients.”

Moreover, Santiago said that the passage of the RH bill will actually reduce the incidents of abortion.

“The Act will provide full information to any mother on the entire menu of family planning options, making it unnecessary for the mother to resort to abortion. Hence, pregnancy will result in a wanted child, not an unwanted child that the mother might be forced to abort,” she said.

She said that a study by the Guttmacher Institute and UN Population Fund showed that there were 3.371 million pregnancies in the country in 2008, of which 1.82 million were unintended. Of these unintended pregnancies, she said 570,000 women had induced abortions, 1 million had mistimed or unwanted births, 900,000 were hospitalized due to complications of abortions, while 3,700 died.

But Santiago said that a 2010 study by the Guttmacher Institute and UN Population Fund showed that maternal deaths could be slashed by 70 percent if the world doubled investment in family planning and pregnancy-related cases.

The senator said that it will only cost the government P3 billion a year to implement the RH law, compared to the P21 billion needed for the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

“This is considered modest. The RH program is simpler and less costly to administer,” she said.

Santiago said that 23 million women aged 15 to 49 years old stand to benefit from the RH bill.

The Senate will begin its debates on the RH bill on Monday. – KBK, GMA News

Source: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/229710/news/nation/miriam-abortion-to-remain-a-crime-under-rh-bill

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