Press Release
September 12, 2011

Transcript of interview with Sen. Pia S. Cayetano
Senate Plenary

Topic: RH Bill's Section 3 (Guiding Principles), Paragraph (j) mandating the government to ensure care for women with post-abortion complications

Q: Do you think there would be bigger debates about this provision [Section 3, Paragraph (j)] because you're saying the bill itself is not pro-abortion, but there is a provision which allows post-abortive care?

SPSC: It is the human right of every person to health care, and that includes a mother. And whether the mother had spontaneous abortion or intentional abortion, she deserves human care. It has nothing to do with the fact that the act that she committed was a crime. It has to do with the fact that she now needs medical care. And under all ethical standards that I know of, even in war, you're supposed to offer human care to the enemy.

So I cannot, for the life of me, imagine that we are questioning a provision that simply recognizes a fact that happens in our country na hindi nga nabibigyan ng human care. I cannot believe that we can even question the right of this woman to human care. I am actually amazed, to be perfectly honest, that some people choose to twist the meaning of this provision because although I'm a lawyer and I do recognize that sometimes, the way lawyers write may be misunderstood by the layman, I have always prided myself in telling my legal staff to write it [a bill's provisions] simply so we lessen the room for confusion. And when you look at this, while this Act does not amend the penal law on abortion, so meaning to say, as is, and mga batas natin sa abortion, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortive complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner.

So for the life of me, I cannot see how this can still be interpreted to mean that we are opening the doors to abortion. Now, having said that, I totally respect the legislative process. Which means part of the records, well, not part, all of the records will be used to help understand the meaning. Tama lang naman that this is put on public record. I have no problem with bringing it up, but I do know for the fact, because I've heard it so many times in the hearings; questions were also asked by reporters na 'yan daw ang sinasabi ng mga anti-RH,' that's where I express my aghast. It's one thing to say, 'Can we put on the record what does this mean?' No problem. But if it's said in a manner, which it has been said many times, as if we are now trying to circumvent the law on abortion, that to me is very malicious and that to me shows utter disrespect for the rights of a human, which in this case is a mother who lost her child.

Q: Meron na bang opposition [to this provision] during the hearings, when we started?

SPSC: Yes this has been mentioned many times. This is one of those provisions na madalas na binabanggit. In fact even before this was taken up in the Senate, narinig ko na yang question na yan in the House and even before pa.

Unfortunately in this country, mabanggit lang kasi yung word na 'abortion,' ang connotation is 'ay pro-abortion yan!' Is it not possible that this bill is even strengthening the laws on abortion? Is it not possible that this bill, in fact, will lessen abortion because I even said that in my sponsorship speech, that by passing this law by providing women with information, so that they know. Even assuming that you will use a purely natural family planning method -- whether it is because of your Christian faith, or lack of money to buy, basta yun ang pinili mo, natural, and sinunod mo talaga -- just by providing a woman with that information, you will lessen her chances of getting pregnant and bringing forth an unwanted child, di ba? Because that is when they then consider resorting to abortion: "Ay nabuntis ako, it is unwanted, what do I do now? Pababayaaan ko? I'll do something to myself, di ba?"

In fact, this bill will lessen abortions but they refuse to see that. Because it will. That, paninindigan ko. That is not an opinion; that is a fact. Because when women have options that will prevent them from getting pregnant, I cannot for the life me--this part is the opinion--think of a woman who will choose, "Ay hindi, yung mode of contraceptive ko is abortion." Even in countries where abortion is allowed, the reaction you'll always see from a woman, this is the same reaction you see in movies, TV shows, books, magazine articles, the reaction is, "Oh shoot, nabuntis ako!" And even in other countries where abortion is legal, and even if they do resort to an abortion, it's a last resort, di ba? Kasi hindi naman primary mode of contraception yun eh.

Q: You'll give a lot of thought before you resort...

SPSC: Yes. So to make it appear that it is the objective of the bill [opening the doors to abortion] -- and I'm taking it a step further, to make it also appear that certain groups here who have expressed support for the bill and have affiliations with organizations outside the country will bring in 'a tide of abortion' here -- is simply refusing to see the primary intention of this bill.

News Latest News Feed