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Philippines: Population Conference Leads to New Legislation

At least 10 Filipina women die everyday while giving birth, United Nations Population Fund Country Representative Suneeta Mukherjee told participations of the Second National Multi-Sectoral Policy Conference on Population and Human Development. Mukherjee stated that, of the approximately 3 million pregnancies each year, half are unintended or unplanned, and one out of three of these unplanned pregnancies end in abortion. She suggested that the Philippines craft a clear national policy on population, rather than keep the current policy of relying on local governmental units to address the issue. “What we want is informed choice and responsible parenthood,” she said.

During the conference, Representative Darlene Antonino-Cistodio stated that a reproductive health bill might be passed. Subsequently, Rep. Edcel Lagman filed House Bill 17, the Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population Management Code of 2007. The proposal is a newer version of a 2004 reproductive health bill that failed in the last Congress. Supporters, however, are hopeful that the bill will pass in this Congress.

Rep. Janette Gain is also working to pass reproductive health legislation. Gains, a physician, said her Reproductive Health Care Act is centered on educating the public on reproductive health and allowing couples to choose family planning methods. “The point here is to educate people on what method is most suitable to them,” she said.

Sources:

Sun Star 8/21/07; Inquirer 8/23/07

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