Senate approves 3 Enrile’s amendments on RH bill

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THE Senate on Monday approved three out of six amendments introduced by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on the controversial measure, the Reproductive Health bill.

Among the salient amendment that Enrile introduced and approved by the Senate were:

1. The deletion of the reference to the International Conference on Population and Development as one of international organization by which the State has the duty to comply with all its international obligations under human rights instruments relative to reproductive health and women’s empowerment;

2. The introduction of a provision guaranteeing protection, promotion of equal rights of children, youth and the unborn;

3. The defining of abortifacients as “any drug or device that induce abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother’s womb.”

However, Enrile lost in the voting when he introduced the definition of conception under the Constitutions, which reads as: “Conceptions refers to the successful penetration of an ovum with spermatozoa in the fallopian tube, otherwise known as fertilization, when a new life begins to form in the mother’s womb.”

With nine (9) senators in favor, and 11 against, the amendments of Sen. Enrile on the definition of conception is lost, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada ruled.

In her opposition, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, co sponsor of the measure said that the contention of Enrile was not under the scope of the Reproductive Health Bill particularly on the issue of conception.

“In effect this is a definition when life begins. It appears that the proposed amendment will read otherwise known as life begins at fertilization at the mother’s womb. This is categorical statement that conception takes place at fertilization. I am sorry as co-sponsor, I believed it will not deserve on the issue of clarity and will not support by scientific evidence. These statements will not have an impact on contraceptives,” Santiago explained.

“However, a sweeping statement that human life already exists at fertilization if not supported by scientific evidence will heighten the risk of women face with medical problem. This is not under the scope of the present RH bill,” Santiago added.

Senator Pia Cayetano, sponsor of the measure, said that she is ready to tackle the proposed amendments however, due to time constraints, she prefer to give way to the motion of Enrile to suspend his deliberations.

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