Press Release
November 15, 2016

Hontiveros to LGUs: Respect and fully implement RH law

PASAY CITY - Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday called on the local government of Sorsogon City to respect the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (Republic Act 10354), also known as the RH Law, after a Commission on Human Rights (CHR) report indicated that it withheld artificial contraceptives from women residents in the last four years.

"Sorsogon City Mayor Sally Lee, who is otherwise known as an advocate of women's participation in societal affairs, should immediately answer the serious allegations made by the CHR. Withholding artificial contraceptives from women is an insult to the hard work of Filipino women's movement who waited 13 long years for the passage of the RH Law," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros, who is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, said that the RH Law is a landmark piece of legislation that solidified reproductive health rights and choices.

"The government must provide free access to family planning commodities to poor women nationwide to help address the country's high maternal mortality rate. Our women should be given the widest array of options on how to plan and manage their families. Withholding access to contraceptives is a clear violation of the law," Sen. Hontiveros said.

It was reported that the CHR has documented reports that women in far-flung barangays in Sorsogon City were denied reproductive health products and services. The documentation likewise reported of unwanted pregnancies and instances that women gave up their babies for adoption as a result of the denial of RH services.

"We want the Sorsogon City government to explain and be accountable to these alleged violations. It is our moral and civil obligation to ensure that we continue to respect, protect and uphold women's rights. The refusal to implement the RH Law is an utmost disrespect to the choices of women regarding family planning methods in accordance with the law. Kailangan may sumagot at may managot sa mga paglabag na ito," she added.

Hontiveros vowed to ensure the full funding of the RH Law in the proposed 2017 National Budget.

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