Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Thoughts on the Reproductive Health Bill

In government hospitals, we get to see the real state of health care in our country. I remember a particular duty when I scrubbed for a Caesarean Section, the patient, Juanita (not her real name), a 15 year old barrio lass, lay anxiously on the operating table. One can't help but feel pity for someone so young to undergo one of the most life-changing events in the life of a woman with so little knowledge or experience. Teenage pregnancies are considered high risk pregnancies, and with little to no prenatal check-ups, may contribute to statistics of maternal mortalities because of complications.

Juanita's case is only one of the many examples wherein education about sexuality and reproductive health could have helped. The recent clamor about the Reproductive Health Bill was largely centered on the Catholic Church's protest over artificial contraception as a means to control the burgeoning population. I am a Catholic myself, and have been schooled mostly in Catholic schools from Elementary, Secondary to Tertiary level, however being a nurse also means I have to be a patient advocate. It is not in my position to tell people that artificial contraception "is bad" and that natural methods "are good"- but rather provide all the information about both methods without bias and allow the patient to decide for themselves. Section 3, No.5 of House Bill 4244 states precisely that.

Note that HB 4244 also recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, however those women who are needing care post abortion (remember, there is a difference between an induced abortion and a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion- though in both cases involves the expulsion of the products of conception and the fetus before the age of viability) must be treated without judgment. Another favorable provision in the RH bill is the mention of Gender Equality- which was defined as "absence of discrimination on the basis of a person's sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in opportunities, allocation of resources or benefits and access to services."

Going back to Juanita's case, I begin to wonder- had she been aware of the changes in her body as an adolescent- the fertility cycle, the risks of pregnancy, the enormous responsibility of being a parent, the cost of milk, diapers, and clothes, and the cost of education- had she been aware of all these, would she make the same decision? Not to pass judgment here, because there could be a number of reasons and circumstances why that pregnancy occurred, but my point is: if teenagers were aware not only of the risks but also the responsibilities, would that prompt them to be more prudent with their actions? The argument that age-appropriate sex education in school (Section 16 in HB 4244) undermines the role of parents to provide this to their children may not always be true in all families. From my own experience growing up, my parents and grandparents were so conservative that sex was an "off-limits" topic, and I would usually learn more about “the flowers and the birds" from friends and classmates. In sex education, the purpose is not to titillate or spill out lewd details, but merely to present in clinical manner, the facts about human sexuality.

The RH bill gives couples a chance to determine for themselves the size of their family, so that each child would be provided well with basic needs and education. Stating unbiased facts about both natural and artificial planning also ensures that people will make informed decisions in reproductive health. Indeed, a progressive country begins with healthy and responsible parents who plan and provide for their families- so I am personally for the RH Bill to be enacted as law.

Image source


rdsean said...

very well said, thaddie.. :) RH bill is definitely a guide for us to be more responsible of parenting, sex, and of our country. PRO

Thad said...

Thanks Ardee! Have a great day ahead

Anonymous said...

I second the motion! I'm a pro RH bill too. :D

Anonymous said...

I don't know why we are still waiting for this bill. This bill should have been passed twenty years ago. This country is so packed and so poor already.


Related Posts with Thumbnails