In an attempt to break a deadlock, the Philippines Senate has removed provisions of its version of the Reproductive Health bill that were thought to promote abortion and contraception. President Benigno Aquino wants the bill passed because he considers it essential to his economic development programme, but the bill remains highly controversial. [Philippine Daily Inquirer] [The Guardian]
Among amendments proposed to House Bill 4244, the controversial Reproductive Health Bill, it is proposed that health care workers still be forced to refer for services to which they object for reasons of conscience, though “Without in anyway agreeing or endorsing the family planning service or procedure required by the persons concerned.” [Sun Star]
The Philippines House of Representatives has voted to end 19 months of debate on the Reproductive Health Bill. It is expected to pass before the end of the month[Philippine Star]. The World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) intervened in the controversy in the, insisting that the bill should be passed. The country is divided on the bill. It is strongly opposed by the Catholic Church. [Philippine Star]
Philippines House Majority Leader Rep. Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II of Mandaluyong has announced that debates will end on the the Reproductive Health bill on 30 July, and there will be a vote in the house on August 7. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is urging Catholics to express their opposition to the bill through protests and novenas. [Philippine Daily Inquirer]
Senate Bill 2865, a controversial Reproductive Health bill, will progess to the amendment stage in the Philippines Congress. House Bill 4244 or the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health And Population And Development Act Of 2011, is the House counterpart of the Senate bill.[Philippine Star] The latter includes provisions problematic with respect to freedom of conscience.