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Binalewala ang batas? Hontiveros takes Mayor Sally Lee to task over alleged RH Law violation

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Did Sorsogon City Mayor Sally Lee purposely withhold the distribution of government-sourced birth control products to some of her poorest Barangays the last four years?

That’s what Senator Risa Hontiveros wants to know after it was reported by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that Lee disregarded the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (Republic Act 10354) or the so-called RH Law in that manner.

“Sorsogon City Mayor Sally Lee, who is otherwise known as an advocate of women’s participation in societal affairs, should immediately answer the serious allegations made by the CHR. Withholding artificial contraceptives from women is an insult to the hard work of Filipino women’s movement who waited 13 long years for the passage of the RH Law,” Hontiveros said in a statement Tuesday, November 15.
Hontiveros, a neophyte senator, described the RH Law as a landmark piece of legislation that solidified reproductive health rights and choices.

“The government must provide free access to family planning commodities to poor women nationwide to help address the country’s high maternal mortality rate. Our women should be given the widest array of options on how to plan and manage their families. Withholding access to contraceptives is a clear violation of the law,” Hontiveros stressed.

Reports reaching the senator said that women in far-flung barangays in Sorsogon City were denied reproductive health products and services. According to the CHR, which made the report, this led to unwanted pregnancies and instances wherein women gave up their babies for adoption.

“We want the Sorsogon City government to explain and be accountable to these alleged violations. It is our moral and civil obligation to ensure that we continue to respect, protect and uphold women’s rights.

“The refusal to implement the RH Law is an utmost disrespect to the choices of women regarding family planning methods in accordance with the law. Kailangan may sumagot at may managot sa mga paglabag na ito,” Hontiveros added.