Philippine RH Bill Approved

Malacanang on Saturday confirmed that President Benigno Aquino III has signed the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10354.

"Today, Republic Act No. 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, has been published online in the Official Gazette, after being signed by President Aquino on December 21, 2012. The law will take effect 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation," said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte in a statement.

Valte said the passage into law of the Responsible Parenthood Act "closes a highly divisive chapter of our history — a chapter borne of the convictions of those who argued for, or against this Act, whether in the legislative branch or in civil society."

At the same time, she said, the Act "opens the possibility of cooperation and reconciliation among different sectors in society: engagement and dialogue characterized not by animosity, but by our collective desire to better the welfare of the Filipino people."

"This is the mark of a true democracy: one in which debate that spans all levels of society is spurred by deeply-held beliefs and values, enriching and elevating public discourse, as we all work together to find ways to improve the lives of our fellow citizens," she said.

House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II, in a text message to the Philippines News Agency on Friday, said the President signed RA No. 10354 or the "Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012" on Dec. 21, the same day that the Chief Executive signed RA No. 10353 or the "Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012."

Under the Responsible Parenthood Act, which had languished in Congress for 13 years, the State shall give access to adolescents for age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate reproductive health education.

The bill also allows full access to reproductive health services to all except minors "unless they have the written consent of parents and except on certain cases for minors when the minor is already a parent or they had a miscarriage."

It also expands the practice of the midwifery profession. After appropriate training, midwives will be allowed to administer lifesaving drugs especially in areas where there are no doctors.

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