Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Having no RH law is pro-abortion


The absence of framework on reproductive health in the Philippines is anti-poor, anti-women, anti-children, anti-development, and pro-abortion, said Ambassador Alistair MacDonald, head of the Delegation of the European Commission to the Philippines.

At the Reproductive Health Forum, the ambassador reiterated the call of the European Union at last year’s Philippine Development Forum for access to family planning methods for Filipinos.

In that statement, the EU said the country’s continued rapid population is exhausting its resources and slowing economic growth.

“It also threatens the sustainability of rural livelihoods and is inexorably destroying the remaining natural forest and marine habitats. The poor are paying the highest price, both individually and collectively,” it said.

“The European Union therefore calls for the effective implementation of a comprehensive national family planning policy, promoting access to family planning methods,” it added.

MacDonald prefaced his speech on the topic saying that while he is not a Filipino citizen but a friend of the Philippines, the “grim statistics” are known by many advocates of the RH bill. He also noted that the while reproductive health is a sensitive issue here, his views appear to be supported by the average Filipino, as results of survey on the topic show.

“I am a friend of the Philippines, a friend of development and the fight against poverty in the Philippines, and I hope that you might therefore be interested in the comments which I would like to offer,” he said.

MacDonald explained that the continued absence of a reproductive health law affects the poor more than the rich, pointing out that while the total fertility rate of the richest 20 percent of the Philippine population is two, the rate for the poorest 20 percent is 5.9.

He said women, particularly mothers, suffer without a law ensuring their health.

“The maternal mortality ratio in the Philippines has fallen only very slowly, to reach 162 in 2008, still three times the MDG (Millennium Development Goal) target of 52 by 2015,” he said.

Like the United Nations, the EU diplomat said he thinks the Philippines is unlikely to meet its MDG commitment under the present set-up.

MacDonald said children die in large numbers because of unplanned pregnancies.

“It is frightening to think of the opportunities which children here are being denied because of the strain on health services, on education services, and the lack of employment opportunities, in a country which is straining at the seams,” he said.

The EU ambassador said that as a development strategy, having more people only promotes exploitation, trafficking, and misery.

“Cheap labor and low wages, associated with a rapidly rising population, are not a way to promote development, to encourage higher-skilled employment, to allow families to give their children the opportunities that they deserve,” he said.

MacDonald said a high rate of abortion is the real-world effect when the state does not provide such services. He said latest estimates show that of 3.6 million total pregnancies in the Philippines in 2007, more than half or about 1.9 million were unplanned; and 25 percent of these unplanned pregnancies, or 500,000, ended in abortions.

“Here in the Philippines in the 21st century, these high if often invisible rates of abortion are a direct and ineluctable consequence of the unavailability of modern methods of contraception,” he said.

The EU envoy congratulated the advocates of the RH bill in Congress for their efforts to get the measure passed. He said that if they become successful, the Philippines would be on the right track to solving poverty, promoting maternal and child health and family

“When you succeed, you will have done a tremendous service for the people of the Philippines, and for the voters of the Philippines,” he said. By Veronica Uy - INQUIRER.net

No comments: