23 Medical Groups Urge Congress to Pass RH Bill

By Philip C. Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
2:38 am | Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and 22 other health groups on Tuesday urged Congress to approve the reproductive health (RH) bill.

In a press conference at the Philippine General Hospital, the 23 health care professional organizations, representing 100,000 doctors and nurses, and 167,000 midwives, expressed their support for the RH bill.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye [to the controversy] because we are part of the life-saving solution,” the PMA said in a statement.

“As health care providers we simply cannot be reduced to being for or against the bill because our obligation has and will always be about saving lives, and the longer we stay quiet, the more lives are lost,” it added.

Life-giving provisions

The group presented a manifesto calling for the protection of seven “life-giving” provisions in the RH bill.

These include the provision saying that the “state protect the individual’s freedom to decide what family planning method s/he wants to use (whether natural or artificial), that the bill should have explicit statements against induced abortion, and that the state should protect a couple’s right to decide on their ideal family size.

“The state should recognize and respect religious rights and convictions of both patients and caregivers [and] RH education should include value formation, and [should] be age-appropriate,” the manifesto said.

It said that the provision for reproductive health services should be improved while guidelines on the use of specific contraceptives, including warnings on safety, should be left to the discretion of the Food and Drug Administration.

“This will allow recommendations to evolve as scientific knowledge advances,” it added.
Besides the PMA, the other groups that signed the manifesto included former Health Secretaries Alberto Romualdez and Esperanza Cabral, former PMA president Santiago del Rosario, Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, Philippine Society of Newborn Medicine, Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines, Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina Inc. and National Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

Other signatories were the Department of Health, Philippine College of Physicians, Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine, Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, UP School of Health Sciences (Palo, Leyte), Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association, UP Manila College of Nursing, Ortoll Reproductive Primary Health Care Center, University of the Philippines Manila, Philippine Society of Hypertension, Child Protection Unit, Philippine General Hospital, National Institute of Health, Philippine Family Planning Consortium, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital and Asia Pacific Center for Evidence-Based Medicine.

Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/322657/23-medical-groups-urge-congress-to-pass-rh-bill

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