The online news portal of TV5
A leading supporter of the reproductive health bill on Thursday mocked ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's opposition to the proposed measure, reminding her that she herself used contraceptive pills when she was a young mother.
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, a former Arroyo ally, said her “rejection of the RH bill is a departure from her admission that she used contraceptive pills when she was a young mother, presumably to limit the number of her children and for birth spacing.”
“She made this candid admission in March 2003 at a luncheon with pro-family planning legislators in Malacanang,” Lagman added.
Lagman said the former leader’s opposition to the bill amounts to depriving women “of the same right she herself enjoyed and the choice of availing themselves of non-abprtive contraceptives.”
“If a woman of means has the right to contracept, why should she deny other women, particularly in the marginalized sectors, from using contraceptives to meet their fertility goals and desired family size,” he added.
Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, is currently out on bail after close to eight months in hospital detention. Since she was released two weeks ago, she showed up twice at the session hall in the House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, seven of her colleagues in the minority bloc withdrew their support for House Bill 4244 or the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Development Act.
Lagman said the withdrawal of some minority members as co-authors of the RH bill was “a mere partisan support” for the former president.
“Many of those who withdrew as co-authors are long-standing RH advocates like Rep. Danilo Suarez who has been a consistent and vocal co-author for three Congresses dating back to the 13th Congress.
Arroyo has not articulated her specific objections to the RH bill except invoking her Catholic faith, Lagman said, adding that she has not pointed out as well her specific objections to the bill.
“Virtually all women in the topmost quintile of Philippine society have the number of children they want to have, which is two, as documented by the latest 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS),” he said.
Among the poorest 10 percent of women of reproductive age, a whopping 44 percent of pregnancies are unwanted [2006 Family Planning Survey conducted by the Department of Health (DOH), according to him.
“The bottom line is, if women are given the chance to make responsible family planning decisions, they almost always decide to have smaller families and their children will invariably be healthier, better educated and have at least a fighting chance of living full and dignified lives,” he said.