Dear friends across the Philippines,
In days, our Congress could take the pivotal step of securing universal access to birth control and maternal care for all Filipinos. But the powerful religious lobby and its political allies could kill it unless we act now.
Over 70% of the Filipino population supports the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, but politicians fearful of Church pressure have for years been ignoring public opinion. The tide, however, may be turning. Experts say President Aquino’s brave endorsement of the Bill last week could convince other lawmakers to do the same – let’s tip the balance in our favor by telling Congress we won’t sit by idly while they kill the bill for the 14th year in a row.
The House of Representatives votes in 5 days and it’s likely to be close – if it dies here, we’ll have to wait one more year to even bring up the subject. Sign this urgent petition now and forward widely – when we reach 10,000 signatures, we’ll deliver it straight to Congress before voting begins:
Passing the RH bill is crucial at this moment in history when birth control is out of reach for most women. The Philippines has one of the fastest growing populations in Asia, half of all pregnancies are unintended, and there are over 475,000 illegal abortions every year. Granting greater access to birth control could make all the difference in reducing abortions, improving maternal health, and even combating poverty.
But politicians and religious leaders opposed to the bill are distorting public debate by wrongly claiming that those of us who support the RH Bill are anti-life. The truth is millions of Catholics throughout the Philippines and around the world support access to birth control because it can save lives by reducing illegal abortion.
It’s time for our elected leaders to be fearless in representing the views of most Filipinos rather than cave in to pressure from outside lobbies. Let’s let Congress know where we stand. Sign the urgent petition now and send to everyone:
Contraception is vital for women everywhere, but especially where birth deaths are rampant, unplanned pregnancy rates are high and access to regular birth control is severely limited. Let’s stand together as Filipinos now and ensure our politicians vote for the future of our country.
With hope and determination,
Jamie, Laura, Ian, Dalia, Diego, Ricken, Maria Paz, David and the whole Avaaz team
Congress urged to pass RH bill for the future (Manila Standard Today)
House to decide on RH bll next week (The Philippine Star)
Proponent unfazed, Palace appeals for support over RH measure (Business World Online)
Mention of reproductive health bill in Philippines’ president’s speech seen as endorsement (National Catholic Reporter)
Congress leaders push RH bill passage, Charter amendment (Sun Star)