What Are the Disadvantages of the Reproductive Health Bill?

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The main disadvantage of the Reproductive Health bill in the Philippines is the controversy surrounding it. The bill passed the Senate and the House of Representatives and was signed into law by President Aquino, but the Catholic Church, of which over 80 percent of Filipinos are members, vehemently opposes it. The issue has divided government bodies, political parties and even families.

The Reproductive Health bill provides free or subsidized contraceptives for the poor, makes sex education in public schools mandatory, enables couples to receive family planning advice at government health centers and allows women who have complications after abortions to receive medical care. Advocates claim that the bill empowers women, closes the gap between rich and poor, avoids unwanted teen pregnancies, curbs the mortality rate of pregnant women, and prevents the spread of AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases. However, according to the Catholic Church, the bill destroys traditional marriage and family values and leads to divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

In December 2012, the Senate approved the Reproductive Health bill by a vote of 13 to 8, and the House of Representatives approved it by a vote of 133 to 79. After the bill passed into law, the Catholic Church appealed to the Philippine Supreme Court. In April 2014, the Supreme Court upheld the Reproductive Health bill.