Pro or anti-life? Ubial, Atienza clash on contraception

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2017 06:44 PM

SC urged to lift TRO before contraceptives expire

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) is urging the Supreme Court anew to lift the hold order prohibiting it from approving new registrations for contraceptives. 

Health Secretary Jean Roselyn-Ubial said the DOH is still providing registered contraceptives at the moment but they will not be able to continue if the nearly two-year-old hold order is not lifted soon.

"If the TRO is not lifted, there will be no more products that will be registered in the Philippines," she told ANC on Friday.

The high court's temporary restraining order also stopped the government from promoting and distributing the hormonal contraceptives "Implanon" and "Implanon NXT."

DOH spokesperson Eric Tayag said some implants being provided by the government in health centers will expire next year, while other contraceptives expire in 2019.

"LGUs have hesitated implementing or scaling up family planning program; this means PH will miss its target of additional 1.4M women who chose to limit or space their pregnancies from 2016 to 2020," Tayag told ABS-CBN in a text message.

Ubial said the full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law (RH Law) is important to give Filipinos from all walks of life better options on managing their family.

"We're pro-life. We want quality life for our people," she said.

Solon says contraception teaches 'anti-life attitude'


While the health department has been stressing the importance of having options in family planning, Buhay Representative Lito Atienza believes promoting contraceptives is "actually teaching an anti-life attitude towards women." 

The former Manila mayor claims contraceptives will not address problems like teenage pregnancy. What the country needs, he said, is an effective government and good education to both parents and teens.

"Ang kailangan po natin ay good government, good Department of Health, good and effective Secretary. Hindi 'yung basta magtuturo na lang at magsasabing gumamit tayo ng birth control pills para hindi tayo dumami," he told ANC.

Atienza clarified that they are not forcing women to stop using contraceptives. But they are against the DOH using government funds "to force" women to follow their programs.

He added that instead of making efforts to reduce the population, the government should implement programs that will take advantage of the number of Filipinos. 

"Ang nangyayari, parang kapag nagbubuntis ang isang ina, parang may sakit. Hindi po. Pinakamalusog na pangyayari po 'yan. Kahit anong mangyari ilulwal po ninyo ang inyong anak na ibinigay ng Panginoon Diyos," he said.

'RH Law not about population control'

Correcting Atienza, Health Secretary Ubial said the DOH is not imposing the use of contraceptives on Filipinos.

She said what the government wants is to help poor families make informed decisions when it comes to planning the size of their family.

"We're not imposing on anyone to practice contraception like 'o, use these pills, use these condoms.' Each family decides how many children they want. We address the decision of the family and tell them here are the methods available," she said.


Ubial added that promoting contraception and the RH Law in general is not even about reducing the population but about birth spacing which ensures optimal health for both women and children.

"Studies have shown that if you practice birth spacing -- and it's not about controlling the fertility -- its birth spacing of 3 to 5 years that will ensure the health and well-being of a woman and her child," the Health Secretary said.