In a historic vote, Philippines political leaders passed a Reproductive Health Bill on a second reading after 14 years of debate in Congress. The bill aims to provide universal access to basic health services, including contraception and information on sexual and reproductive health.
The sponsor of the bill, Albay province Representative Edcel Lagman, said that the bill was about more than just reproductive health, but about “human rights, maternal and infant health and sustainable development.”
“The choice belongs to couples and women who shall freely and responsibly determine the number of their children” he told fellow lawmakers, maintaining that the bill “addresses the population issue” but was not on “population control.” He stated, “Let us have children by choice, not by chance.”
Though contraceptives are available, 70% of the Philippines population cannot afford to pay for birth control and reproductive health services through a private medical system and instead depends on heavily subsidized care. The bill has received a lot of controversy, especially given that the Philippines population is 80% Catholic.
The Reproductive Health Bill will take three days before it is put to a vote for third and final reading.
To learn more about the bill, click here.