Good 10health centers, for safe birthing, more difficult tions that cause cervical cancers. Self breastRH services like IUD insertions, and manage- exams and Pap smears can detect early signs of Reasons toment of sexually transmitted infections; and cancers which can be cured if treated early. Allhospitals, for emergency obstetric and newborn these are part of RH education and care. Contra-care and surgical contraception. Strong RH facili- ceptives do not heighten cancer risks; combined Pass theties will be the backbone of a strong and fairly pills actually reduce the risk of endometrial anddistributed public health facility system. ovarian cancers.8 10 RH Bill Now GIVE ACCURATE & POSITIVE SEXUALITY SAVE MONEY THAT CAN BE USED FOR EVEN EDUCATION TO YOUNG PEOPLE MORE SOCIAL SPENDING Ensur- ing modern FP for all who need it would increase I n 1998, RH was a bland program that 2 DOH secretaries wished to mainstream into the health system. Now, RH or reproductive spending from health is a byword that has gripped the public P1.9 B to P4.0 B, but consciousness. Majority have supported RH in the medical costs for un- endless surveys while congressional and presi- intended pregnancies would fall from P3.5 B to dential debates have erupted on the issue. Why P0.6 B, resulting in a net savings of P0.8 B. There is there majority support for RH? Many strategic is evidence that families and practical reasons. Here are 10 easy ones: Currently, most young people enter with fewer childrenrelationships and even married life without the do spend more RH DOES …benefit of systematic inputs by any of our social 1 for health and PROTECT THE HEALTH & LIVESinstitutions. As a result of just one faulty sexual education. OF MOTHERSdecision, many young women and men can losetheir future, their health and sometimes their The WHO (World Healthlives. We insist on young voters’ education for Organization) estimates thatan activity that occurs once every 3 years, but complications arise in 15% ofleave our young people with pregnancies, serious enoughlittle preparation to cope with to hospitalize or kill women.major life events like puberty From the 2 million plus liveand sexual maturation. births alone, some 300,0009 REDUCE CANCER maternal complications DEATHS occur yearly. This is 7 times Delaying sex, the DOH’s annual count for TB,avoiding multiple partners 19 times for heart diseases, andor using condoms prevent 20 times for malaria in women.genital warts or HPV infec- See www.rhbill.org and www.likhaan.org/rhan As a result, more than 11 women die needlessly for data sources and additional information each day.
4 Adequate number of skilled birth attendants PROMOTE EQUITY FOR POOR FAMILIES If all those who want to space or stop child-and prompt referral to hospitals with emergen- RH indicators show severe inequities bearing would use modern FP, abortions wouldcy obstetric care are proven life-saving solutions between the rich and poor. For example, fall by some 500,000—close to 90% of the es-to maternal complications. For women who 94% of women in the richest quintile have a timated total. In our country where abortion iswish to stop childbearing, family planning (FP) is skilled attendant at birth compared to only 26% strictly criminalized, and where 90,000 womenthe best preventive measure. All 3 interventions in the poorest. The richest have 3 times higher are hospitalized yearly for complications, itare part of RH. tubal ligation rates compared to the poorest. would be reckless and heartless not to ensure2 prevention through FP. SAVE BABIES 6 Proper birth spacing reduces SUPPORT & DEPLOY MORE PUBLIC infant deaths. MIDWIVES, NURSES & DOCTORSThe WHO says at RH healthleast 2 years should services arepass between a birth needed wher-and the next pregnancy. In ever people areour country, the infant mortality rate of those establishing theirwith less than 2 years birth interval is twice families. For This equity gap in tubal ligation partly explains example, a reportthose with 3. The more effective and user- why the wealthy hardly exceed their planned by a UN MDG Taskfriendly the FP method used, the greater the number of children, while the poorest get an Force points out the need for 1 fulltime midwifechances of the next child to survive. extra 2. Infant deaths among the poorest are to attend to every 100 to 200 annual live births.3 RESPOND TO THE MAJORITY WHO WANT almost 3 times compared to the richest, which Other health staff are needed for the millions SMALLER FAMILIES partly explains why the poor plan for more chil- who need prenatal and postpartum care, infant Couples and women dren. An RH law will promote equity in health care and family planning. Investing in these corenowadays want smaller through stronger public health services acces- public health staff will serve the basic needs offamilies. When surveyed sible to poor families. many communities. 5about their ideal number PREVENT INDUCED ABORTIONS 7of children, women in GUARANTEE FUNDING FOR & EQUAL ACCESStheir 40s want slightly Unintended pregnancies precede TO HEALTH FACILITIESmore than 3, but those almost all induced RH willin their teens and early abortions. Of all unin- need and there-20s want just slightly more than 2. tended pregnancies, fore support the 68% occur in women improvement Moreover, couples end up with families larg- without any FP of manyer than what they desire. On average, Filipino method, and 24% levels ofwomen want close to 2 children but end up with happen to those using health3. This gap between desired and actual family traditional FP like with- facilities. These range from barangay healthsize is present in all social classes and regions, drawal or calendar- stations, for basic prenatal, infant and FP care;but is biggest among those who are poor. abstinence.