This is my first affirmative speech in my debate class last Oct. 23, 2010, with the topic "Should RH Bill be Passed in Congress?".
“To our distinguished guest – judges, friends from the negative side, comrades in the affirmative side, classmates in the law school, audience, good morning.
We at the affirmative side shall bust today the misconceptions about this controversial bill introduced by Rep. Edcel Lagman, tagged as House Bill No. 96 or the Reproductive Health Bill. We shall also enlighten you on why should this bill be passed.
The RH Bill covers information and access to natural and modern family planning, responsible parenthood, health, prevention of abortion, counseling on sexuality and related issues, prevention, treatment and management of reproductive health infections, and reproductive health education for the youth.
This bill should be passed as it is a pro – woman and pro – life bill.
It is pro – woman as seen in the core elements of the said bill provided in Sec. 3 (k), which reads: “Gender equality and women empowerment are central elements of reproductive health and population and development”.
According to the Family Planning Survey of 2006, 2.6 million Filipino women want to plan their families but they lack in information and access to do so. The same survey also exposed that 44% of the pregnancies in the poorest sector are unwanted. In the 2008 NDH Survey, 22% of married Filipino women have an unmet need for family planning services and more than 60% of pregnancies are classified as high-risk. Through the RH Bill, women shall be empowered to have a choice of how many children they want to have and can raise responsibly, and make the means to attain it accessible. The unmet need for family planning services shall be finally within reach. With these, women will have more opportunities to finish their education and secure productive work by freeing them from continuous pregnancies and thus will enhance their social and economic status and that of their families, making them more self-reliant and acquire self-esteem.
As previously stated, it is pro – life bill. The RH Bill safeguards the life of the child-bearers and their children. 2007 UNFPA revealed that every day, 11 women die of child birth and other child – birth complications. Further, it is evident that children from unplanned families are often scrawny and out of school. Through RH Bill, life of the mothers and their babies are secured by making sure that maternal and infant deaths will, if not be totally obliterated, be significantly minimal through skilled birth attendance mentioned in Sec. 5, emergency obstetric care in Sec. 6, maximum benefits for those suffering serious and life-threatening reproductive health conditions in Sec. 11, and providing mobile health care service in Sec. 12, to name a few. The Department of Health also stated that family planning can reduce maternal mortality by about 32%.
In addition to that, Section 3 (i) explicitly states that “nothing in the bill changes the law on abortion“. Thus in RH Bill, abortion remains illegal. A study conducted by Allan Guttmacher Institute revealed that precise and regular use of contraceptives can decrease abortion rates by as much as 85%. Further, the Population Commission’s 2003 Report reveals that abortion is often linked to unwanted pregnancies, and unwanted pregnancies are caused by the non-existence of family planning methods and services. Hence, where family planning services are available, it goes along with it the significant drop in the levels of abortion.
Lastly, if ever the RH Bill shall be passed, the country is making one big step to ensure that the future of the youth shall be bright and productive as parents can ensure that they will only raise children that they can keep and support.
Friends, no woman should die in giving life. It is not too late to change our mentality and save the lives of the people we dear. Let us give RH Bill a chance to prove itself.
Thank you very much.”