Press Release
September 6, 2011

Press release of Senator Vicente C. Sotto III

Senate's version of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill carries provisions that are open for misinterpretation making abortion acceptable in the Philippines, Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III said today.

Sen. Sotto, during Monday's resumption of deliberations on the measure that Senate Bill No. 2865, pointed out the probable misunderstanding in its implementation, in the event of its enforcement into law, specifically paragraphs "i" and "j" under section 3.

Paragraph "i" says that "while this Act does not amend the penal law on abortion, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counselled in a humane, non-judgemental and compassionate manner," while paragraph "j" states that "each family shall have the right to determine its ideal family size provided, however, that the State shall equip each parent with the necessary information on all aspects of family life including RH in order to make that determination."

"If enacted into law, will this mean that if a certain couple only wants to have two children but the mother will become pregnant, does this mean that the State shall equip that parent with the means to abort the child? We have to be careful about the interpretation of this bill especially if we have personalities, organizations that are backing this up, that are pro-abortion. We just want to make sure that the interpretation is correct," Sen. Sotto emphasized.

The Majority Leader further added that his these concerns are being laid out "because we might only regret in the end our decision in approving it for overlooking some crucial details that are open for misinterpretation of some sectors."

Sen. Sotto, during his interpellation with the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Pia Cayetano, revealed that one of the cause-oriented groups in the country is connected with an international organization that has incessantly been lobbying worldwide for the liberalization and eventual repeal of all laws restricting access to abortion.

The Majority Leader referred to the group Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

IPPF, for more than three decades has repeatedly and an ambiguously calls for the legalization of abortion in countries where the procedure is currently unlawful and this is reflective in all its policy statements as described in its vision or 2000 strategic plan "which is considered to be the marching orders for all member organizations," Sen. Sotto said.

"It is alarming to know that despite being connected to an org that promotes abortion, FPOP is one of the partners of the DOH family planning program," he added.

Moreover, according to Sen. Sotto, the local lobby group, was given $617,000 or P25 million by the IPPF in 2010.

A check on FPOP's website will also lead to its links with the group called Women on Wage Organizations, an international organization that is fighting for the legalization of abortion worldwide and in it, one will find a link that says HELP which is for women seeking for an abortion, the senator said.

"You will see in bold letters a phrase 'sexual health services and abortion clinics worldwide' and you will find a long lists of countries that services abortion. Surprisingly one of those countries is the Philippines and when you click on the link Philippines, you will be directed to the FPOP," he said.

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