By Lilybeth G. Ison
MANILA (28-Dec-2012/PNA) – President Benigno Aquino III has signed into law the Responsible Parenthood Act.
House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II, in a text message to the Philippines News Agency on Friday, said the President — without fanfare — signed Republic Act no. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood Act on Dec. 21, 2012, the same day that the Chief Executive signed RA no. 10353 or the “Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012.”
Under the controversial measure, which had languished in Congress for 13 years, the State shall give access to adolescents for age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate reproductive health education.
The bill also allows full access to reproductive health services to all except minors “unless they have the written consent of parents and except on certain cases for minors when the minor is already a parent or they had a miscarriage.”
It also expands the practice of the midwifery profession. After appropriate training, midwives will be allowed to administer lifesaving drugs especially in areas where there are no doctors.
It would also provide women the choice to determine the number of their children, give teenagers protection from unplanned pregnancies and educate citizens about sexual health.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the proponents of the bill at the House of Representatives, earlier said the implementation of the RH law is the responsibility of both the national government and local government units.
Under the law, private health facilities are mandated to extend family planning services “principally to paying patients but also free services to indigent patients,” he said.
Meanwhile, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad earlier said the ultimate aim of the RH was to ensure “equal opportunity for responsible parenthood among all Filipino families.”
Aside from ensuring health of the mothers and their babies, Abad said the RH Act also ensures that the State “will have wider expenditure space for critical budgetary items, including education, health care, and economic services.”
The government is spending billions of pesos to subsidize the basic needs of severely impoverished families, majority of which are burdened by more children than their parents can afford to raise.
Through the Responsible Parenthood Act, Abad said, the government aims to properly educate married couples so they have a larger understanding of the choices available to them, allowing them to raise families they can properly manage and attend to. (PNA)