RH Bill: Senate releases own version (SB 2865)

While the highly controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill is being deliberated in the lower house, the Philippine Senate has released its own version of the measure. A consolidated Senate Bill (SB 2865) entitled “AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A NATIONAL POLICY ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT” was filed.

[Full text of Senate Bill 2865 has been embedded below.]

Senate's RH Bill, in substitution of SB 2378 authored by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and SB 2768 filed by Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senator Pia Cayetano’s Senate Resolution 238, all of which agree to provide information and access to all Filipinos, “without bias”, all methods of family planning that have been proven safe and effective.

It was released by the Senate committees on Finance, Health and Demography, and Youth, Women and Family Relations.

In an interview, Senator Pia Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said: “We are not promoting abortion, we are not legalizing abortion, and we will emphasize that the reproductive health bill will be a law that save lives.”

In her official statement, Cayetano clarified that the consolidated RH Bill will not amend the penal law on abortion, but will only mandate the government “to ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counselled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner.”

Aside from Senators Lacson, Santiago and Cayetano, reports said that the RH Bill is also supported by senators Edgardo Angara and Bongbong Marcos, for a total of 5. At least 12 signatures are needed to bring the committee report to the plenary.

Update: On Tuesday, June 7th, Committee Report No. 49 for the RH Bill was reportedly signed by 20 senators. According to Senator Sotto in a televised coverage of the discussion for the committee report's approval, Senator Santiago informed him that she will sponsor the measure in the plenary this coming July.

Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile and majority leader Tito Sotto have already expressed their opposition to the RH Bill earlier.

RH Bill Senate Bill 2865