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Gabriela likes population control provision out of RH bill

MANILA, Feb. 20, 2012–In a statement released Saturday, Gabriela party list admitted that the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, pending in both chambers of Congress, is neither pro-poor nor pro-women.

“The RH bill cannot be genuinely pro-poor and pro-women for as long as it espouses population control, which blames poverty on women’s bodies, fertility and population,” Gabriela stated in its Facebook page.

This development took place after renewed interest in dialogues surfaced following Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle expressed his personal view that he is open to the possibility of discussing RH with government representatives as long as a true spirit of dialogue will guide the discussions.

“Ako naman, ito personal [opinion] ko na ito, not CBCP. Kung may opportunities pa for study and dialogue, sana nga matuloy pa” the prelate said in a news conference last week.

Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan expressed interest particularly in the issue of maternal deaths stating, “The DOH reports 50 maternal deaths were recorded in Metro Manila in January alone. This prompts us to resume deliberations and pass the RH bill without delay.”

However, this is in stark contrast to ‘11 maternal deaths per day’ which was the basis of RH advocates’ call to push the bill to address maternal deaths.

The party list group admitted its preference for the removal of population control provisions in the legislative measure. According to Ilagan, “the population control provision defeats the objective of creating a health-based, rights-based RH policy.”

The solon further expressed the urgent need to address maternal health care.

“Women, especially those in poor, far-flung communities need access to reproductive health care services ranging from maternal care, pre-natal care and post-natal care as well as menopausal care that go beyond the distribution of contraceptives and population control mechanisms.” (CBCP for Life)