The principal author of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, laughs with other pro-RH lawmakers after the session last Dec. 11.  Photo by John Paul R. Autor

12 December 2012, 5:57 p.m. – A STAUNCH opponent of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill on Tuesday said the measure would likely be junked, citing the number of solons against the measure.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez claimed majority of House members would vote against the RH. He did not, however, reveal the figure.

“We have the numbers, some are just silent, but when the voting comes, we are confident. We have already made a survey,” Rodriguez told the Varsitarian in a chance interview.

Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia backed Rodriguez, saying some lawmakers identified as “pro-RH,” especially members of the ruling Liberal Party, might “switch sides.”

“The Liberals in Congress will vote for the passage of the bill, following pressure from the President, but anti-RH lawmakers have been talking to some lawmakers,” Garcia told the Varsitarian. “I hope that the bishops and those with us will get in touch with them.”

“The way I look at it, it is against religion—[the state promotion of] contraceptives, IUDs, and condoms. It is against the fundamental pennant of our church,” he added.

Amendments to the bill, which will continue today, have reached page 12 out of 27.

On Tuesday, Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas and Garcia proposed to delete the mention of “abortion” in the bill.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, main author of the bill, rejected the amendment, saying: “We have to call a spade a spade.”

Lagman, however, pointed out that it is not meant to tolerate abortion. He offered a compromise by putting the phrase “without condoning the act of abortion,” which was then accepted.

Mandanas’ proposal to add the phrase “and other complications” was accepted.

Lagman continued to shoot down other amendments, including defining the term “underpopulation,” the “protection of the unborn from conception,” the deletion of “population and development,” and limits to the role of local government units in implementing the RH bill.

But Lagman accepted a proposal to provide a clear definition of gender equality.

Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez also suggested an amendment that stated: “There shall be no demographic and population targets and the mitigation, promotion and/or stabilization of the population growth rate shall not be a consideration to the advancement of Reproductive Health.”

Lagman did not accept the amendment. Golez said the rejection shows that the RH bill is really a “population control bill.” The amendment was put to a vote and rejected by the plenary through a voice vote.

Rodriguez also sought the inclusion of the definition of “abortifacient,” which means “any drug or device that induces abortion or the destruction of the fetus inside the mother’s womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted on the mother’s womb.”

Lagman agreed with the amendment, provided that a drug is declared an abortifacient “upon determination of the Food and Drug Administration.”

The House of Representatives will attempt to end discussions and vote on the controversial bill today.
Today’s session is expected to be packed with anti-RH supporters, especially the clergy, nuns, and pro-life advocates. Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn. Reden D. Madrid and Nikka Lavinia G. Valenzuela


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