RH bill founders in Philippines

Although it is claimed that a majority of members of the Phiilippines House of Represesntatives support the controversial Reproductive Health bill, the bill failed to come to a vote in the house because there were not enough legislators present to form a quorum.  There are now doubts that the bill will pass during this legislative session. [Vancouver Sun]


Substitute RH bill in circulation

A new version of the controversial Reproductive Health bill is being circulated among Filipino lawmakers.  The substitute bill, proposed by the sponsor of the original bill, is reported to include a number of changes responsive to concerns of the bill’s opponents.  Some of the proposed changes deals with sections of the bill that could have an adverse impact on health care workers opposed to some birth control methods for reasons of conscience.  The bill’s author is now prepared to remove the provision that threatens objectors with prosecution if they speak out, and to exempt denominational hospitals from a requirement to provide services that contravene their religious ethos. [Inquirer]

Philippines Senate amends Reproductive Health bill

In an attempt to break a deadlock, the Philippines Senate has removed provisions of its version of the Reproductive Health bill that were thought to promote abortion and contraception.  President Benigno Aquino wants the bill passed because he considers it essential to his economic development programme, but the bill remains highly controversial. [Philippine Daily Inquirer] [The Guardian]

Professors at Catholic university in Philippines support Reproductive Health bill

192 professors of the Jesuit Ateneo de Manila University from its Loyola Schools, School of Medicine and Public Health, Law School and School of Government have signed a declaration affirming support for the controversial Reproductive Health bill.  The declaration states that the bill “is a vital piece of legislation that needs to be passed urgently” and asserts that the key principles of the bill are compatible with Catholic social teaching.   [Declaration]

Mandatory referral untouched by amendments proposed to Philippines bill

Among amendments proposed to House Bill 4244, the controversial Reproductive Health Bill, it is proposed that health care workers still be forced to refer for services to which they object for reasons of conscience, though “Without in anyway agreeing or endorsing the family planning service or procedure required by the persons concerned.”  [Sun Star]

Debate ends on Philippines bill

The Philippines House of Representatives has voted to end 19 months of debate on the Reproductive Health Bill.  It is expected to pass before the end of the month[Philippine Star]. The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)  intervened in the controversy in the, insisting that the bill should be passed.  The country is divided on the bill.  It is strongly opposed by the Catholic Church. [Philippine Star]

Catholic bishops in Philippines urge resistance to controversial bill

Philippines House Majority Leader Rep. Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II of Mandaluyong has announced that debates will end on the the Reproductive Health bill on 30 July, and there will be a vote in the house on August 7.  The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is urging Catholics to express their opposition to the bill through protests and novenas.   [Philippine Daily Inquirer]

Controversial bill moves forward in Philippines

Senate Bill 2865, a controversial Reproductive Health bill, will progess to the amendment stage in the Philippines Congress. House Bill 4244 or the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health And Population And Development Act Of 2011, is the House counterpart of the Senate bill.[Philippine Star]  The latter includes provisions problematic with respect to freedom of conscience.

Controversial Philippines bill may see action by month’s end

The Majority Leader in the Philippines House of Representatives and the House Speaker are reported to be in agreement that the controversial Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill) should be voted on before a five week Congressional recess that begins on 23 March.[Philippine Star]