Target: Philippines Government
Goal: To encourage the government of the Philippines to enact policy that will protect the health and reproductive rights of women
Recently, the Filipino government passed a law increasing protections for women’s reproductive health. The bill—the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act (also called the RH Bill)—successfully removes numerous barriers for women’s access to sexual health care. Following the RH Bill’s passing, women will see increased access to modern contraceptives and to sexual health information that was formerly denied to them.
There is no refuting that with the passing of the RH Bill, the Philippines took a crucial, necessary step towards the modernization of reproductive rights and sexual healthcare policy and law. However, in spite of this recent progress, there are still glaring holes in women’s healthcare policy as a whole.
“This law is an important step toward protecting women’s rights to reproductive health,” said Polly Truscott, Deputy Asia-Pacific Director at Amnesty International. “However, the law falls short in protecting the reproductive health rights of girls.”
Although the law takes measures to deliver sexual health information, it does so with conditions attached. The RH Bill mandates that sex education will only be delivered to deemed age-appropriate students, and not without with parent consent. It also makes it possible for adolescents under the age of 18 to access birth control and other contraceptives, but again, parental consent is required. Furthermore, the original version of the bill contained provisions addressing after-abortion care and counseling. Since abortions in any and every case are illegal in the Philippines, these provisions were removed before the bill was passed.
The government of the Philippines ought to be commended for this recent advancement in safeguarding women’s reproductive rights and sexual health. However, the Philippines must be encouraged to go even further to protect women and girls based on international human rights standards. The precondition requiring girls under the age of 18 to acquire parental consent before receiving sexual education and contraception needs to be dropped from the law. And more notably, the ban on abortion must be lifted and abortion law must be brought in line with international standards. Sign below to urge the Philippines government to take these steps forward for women and girls.
Dear Government of Philippines,
The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act that was passed recently is a commendable step forward for women’s reproductive rights and sexual health.
However, this law by itself falls short in bringing women’s reproductive and sexual healthcare up to international standards. There is still a cumbersome amount of work to be done here.
We encourage you to rethink the policies in the RH Bill that require parental consent for minors to obtain sexual education and contraception. These preconditions will only serve to thwart the desired outcome of this new law—to increase sexual health education and promote and protect women’s reproductive health. The issue of abortion must also be revisited. As of right now, abortion is illegal and banned in all cases in the Philippines. Abortion law must be updated and brought in line with international human rights standards, as well.
Please consider these revisions and take the necessary steps to protect the reproductive and sexual health of women and girls.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Roberto Verzo via Wikimedia