Sotto insists Senate version of RH bill carries provisions open for misinterpretation

September 6, 2011 10:01 pm 

MANILA, Sept. 6 -– Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III said on Tuesday that the Senate’s version of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill carries provisions that are open for misinterpretation making abortion acceptable in the Philippines.

During the resumption of deliberations of the Senate Bill No. 2865, Sotto pointed out the probable misunderstanding in its implementation, in the event of its enforcement into law, specifically paragraphs “i” and “j” under Section 3 of the bill.

Paragraph “i” says that “while this Act does not amend the penal law on abortion, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgemental and compassionate manner,” while paragraph “j” states that “each family shall have the right to determine its ideal family size, provided, however, that the State shall equip each parent with the necessary information on all aspects of family life including RH in order to make that determination.”

“If enacted into law, will this mean that if a certain couple only want to have two children but the mother will become pregnant, does this mean that the State shall equip that parent with the means to abort the child? We have to be careful about the interpretation of this bill especially if we have personalities, organizations that are backing this up, that are pro-abortion. We just want to make sure that the interpretation is correct,” Sotto said.

The Majority Leader said that these concerns were being laid out “because we might only regret in the end our decision in approving it for overlooking some crucial details that are open for misinterpretation of some sectors.”

Sotto said that one of the cause-oriented groups in the country was connected with an international organization that has incessantly been lobbying worldwide for the liberalization and eventual repeal of all laws restricting access to abortion.

He referred to the group Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

”IPPF, for more than three decades, has repeatedly and an ambiguously calls for the legalization of abortion in countries where the procedure is currently unlawful and this is reflective in all its policy statements as described in its vision or 2000 strategic plan “which is considered to be the marching orders for all member organizations,” Sotto said.

”It is alarming to know that despite being connected to an org that promotes abortion, FPOP is one of the partners of the DOH family planning program,” he said.

Moreover, according to Sotto, the local lobby group was given P25 million by the IPPF in 2010.

”A check on FPOP’s website will also lead to its links with the group called Women on Wage Organizations, an international organization that is fighting for the legalization of abortion worldwide and, in it, one will find a link that says HELP which is for women seeking for an abortion,” the senator said.

“You will see in bold letters a phrase ‘sexual health services and abortion clinics worldwide’ and you will find a long list of countries that services abortion. Surprisingly one of those countries is the Philippines and when you click on the link Philippines, you will be directed to the FPOP,” he said. (PNA) DCT/RMA/jfm


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