MANILA, Oct. 6, 2011—More hidden details of the “reproductive health” (RH) bill are unraveling, with Sen. Pia Cayetano revealing on Tuesday that a central body will determine which regions in the Philippines should use contraception and which regions should be sterilized.
Under interpellation by Sen. Lito Lapid, Cayetano initially said the distribution of artificial contraceptives would depend on the requests of local government units.
Later on, Cayetano said that if an area’s average age is low, policymakers won’t recommend vasectomy.
“Pills will be recommended so the time during which there will be no pregnancy is temporary,” she said in Filipino.
Lapid raised the matter of side effects and birth defects as a result of using contraceptive pills, revealing that his third child died of a heart ailment at age nine.
Lapid said his wife decided to take pills after the birth of their second child, but still got pregnant.
“[Ang sabi ng duktor], pag umabot ng [14 years old], magtatagal. Pero umabot ng [9 years old], namatay ang bata, inatake sa puso. Namatayan ako ng anak dahil diyan sa gamot na iyan,” Lapid said.
Lapid also questioned why more children are having cleft lips and palates, and more women are giving birth to twins, triplets, and quadruplets.
“May ipapanganak nagkadikit ang ulo, nagkadikit ang dibdib. Gagastusan pa ng gobyerno,” he added.
Lapid asked: “Magagarantiya ninyo kaya na walang mangyayari sa kababaihan? Magagarantiya ninyo kaya?”
Cayetano made a blanket denial that pills cause birth defects, and added that cleft palates or cleft lips are due to the mother’s poor nutrition.
A monograph released just this year by a working group under the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) made an “overall evaluation” that “oral combined estrogen–progestogen contraceptives are carcinogenic to humans.”
The 2011 report classified the pill as a “Group 1” carcinogen, which means the highest level of evidence of cancer risk.
The study showed pills can cause cancer of the breast, in-situ and invasive cancer of the uterine cervix, and cancer of the liver.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile told Cayetano that the anti-RH side does not want to stop the use of artificial contraceptives.
“Ang tinututuluan namin ay ang intervention ng Estado kung saan bibigyan sila ng bilyong halaga ng condom at pildoras para ‘di mabuntis ang kababaihan,” he said.
He asked: “Who will determine who will give birth?” (CBCP for Life)