“I am not against life – I am against ignorance.”

Speech of Rep. Emmeline Aglipay during the nominal voting on the RH Bill

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DIWA Party-list votes Yes.

The RH Bill is not about our own religion but about the obligation of the state to its citizens regardless of religion. And I believe that the State has an absolute obligation to protect and respect a broad spectrum of reproductive health rights for every citizen.

The essence of the RH Bill is informed choice by making RH services and information available to all, most especially the poor.

The RH Bill does not require anyone to behave in a manner that is against their conscience.

Couples can decide freely which family planning method to use or not to use any to begin with. There is no ideal family size imposed on them and they have the right to decide the number and spacing of their children or not to have children at all.

Parents retain control of their children’s access to RH education and they can even avail of the “opt-out provision” and decide that their children will not go through RH education in schools.

Sectarian schools are accorded the flexibility in teaching RH education.

Hospitals run by religious groups are exempted from the obligation to offer modern family planning services.

Health care providers can refuse to give RH services or information that go against the religious beliefs. So much so that the RH Bill makes room for non-compliance due to conscientious objection like no other law ever has.

All the RH Bill does is to enable Filipinos with fewer resources and those in the far-flung rural areas access to services and information that they would otherwise be deprived of.

The RH Bill is necessary because today’s status quo is simply unacceptable: individuals are limited in the exercise of their reproductive health rights not due to their personal choices, but because of a lack of information and resources. To allow this to continue, is to promote ignorance instead of empowering our people. To reject this bill is to discriminate against the poor instead of advancing social justice.

I just want to make it very clear Mr. Speaker, that I am not against life- I am against ignorance!

I vote yes to the RH Bill.