As the controversy surrounding the Reproductive Health Bill intensifies, people whose lives are on the line speak up. The Reproductive Health and Advocacy Network (RHAN) will hold a media event to demonstrate the tragic impact of the Catholic bishops' pronouncements on the Reproductive Health Bill and to ventilate the resistance of sectors who are most affected by prohibitions against reproductive health.
Taking on the theme, "Contraception: Sin or Survival?" the event (procession-press con) highlights the death of women from unplanned pregnancy and childbirth and the tragic consequence of these deaths on children and the entire family. The press conference will feature reproductive health champions from the House of Representatives; the Quezon City Council; the academe; the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups and community youth.
"The Reproductive Health Bill does not advocate abortion. Only bishops with no reading comprehension skills would misread the bill," said Danton Remoto, Chairperson of Ang Ladlad, the national organization of LGBT Filipinos.
Shiela Conde, a youth organizer in an urban poor community in Apelo Cruz, Pasay City, lamented, "I see more and more teenage girls as young as fourteen years old getting pregnant and going through near death experience like their mothers because of unintended pregnancy." She added, "These are poor women who want to avoid pregnancy but don't know how."
Joining the panel in the conference are Quezon City Councilor Joseph Juico and Congresswoman Janette Garin who both have their share of the Catholic bishops' reprimand for being champions of the Reproductive Health measure.
RHAN, a coalition of 40 NGOs and peoples' organizations, is the country's largest network working for reproductive health and rights. One of its main objectives is the passage of a national legislation on reproductive health.