Thursday 7 August 2008

Dangerous Philippines bill makes progress

On Monday I blogged on the reproductive health bill in the Philippines. This measure could pave the way for legal abortion and promote contraception, sex education and reproductive technology. It also contains coercive elements. Sadly, it was yesterday passed by the parliament's appropriations committee, which is actually chaired by one of the bill's sponsors.

Mrs Fenny Tatad, executive director of the Bishops-Legislators Caucus in Quezon City, kindly tells me that the next stage is the rules committee. The bill would then be scheduled for plenary discussion by the House of Representatives. That would be the major battle. Before it gets to that stage, though, the senate would need to pass its own version of the bill. That house has a great deal of other business to consider.

Both houses, Mrs Tatad tells me, are also considering a Magna Carta for Women. While this doesn't mention reproductive health (a phrase used to cloak the promotion of abortion and other unethical practices), it does talk about "comprehensive health care services" which could cause problems. As a result, Mrs Tatad's caucus are keeping a close eye on the measure.