Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman stated that Filipino adolescents will soon have access to modern contraceptives without parental consent after the House Committee on Youth and Sports Development approved his House Bill No. 79 or the “Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Act” together with six (6) other similar bills.
The other authors are Reps. Juan Fidel Felipe F. Nograles, Charisse Anne C. Hernandez, Stephen James Tan, Patrick Michael D. Vargas, Francisco Paolo Ortega, and Raoul A. Manuel.
Lagman maintained that “young people have the right to lead healthy lives and the means to protect their health and safeguard their future. This includes access to reproductive health information, services, and commodities.”
He also underscored that affording access to modern contraceptives to adolescents is impressed with State interest because: (a) adolescent pregnancy, particularly from ages 10-14, has become a national social emergency; (b) adolescent pregnancy and childbirth account for the highest rate of maternal mortality; (c) early childbearing is a leading factor in intergenerational poverty; and (d) it a speculative and mistaken notion that access to contraceptives will lead to adolescent promiscuity.
The Committee on Youth and Sports Development chaired by Rep. Faustino Michael Dy III approved the bills last February 2, 2023 and a substitute bill is now being prepared by the Committee to integrate the similar bills and incorporate committee amendments.
According to Lagman, access to contraceptives by adolescents will complement the mandatory reproductive health and sexuality education provided for in RA No. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law which was enacted in 2012.
As approved by the Committee, access to reproductive health services shall be made available under the following conditions:
- In keeping with the principle of the evolving capacities of the child, if they are fifteen (15) to below eighteen (18) years of age, access to RH services and commodities shall be made available to them without the need of consent from a parent or legal guardian;
- In keeping with the mature minor doctrine, young persons aged below fifteen (15) who have already begun childbearing, or those who have experienced sexual abuse, miscarriage, or is sexually active or engaged in high-risk behavior shall have full access to reproductive health services without the need of consent from a parent or legal guardian; and
- If the person is below fifteen (15) years of age, and is mentally incapacitated or in any other case not covered by letter (b), consent shall be obtained from a parent or legal guardian.
- In cases when the child's parents or legal guardian cannot be located despite reasonable efforts, or if the child's parent or legal guardian refuses to give consent, it shall be obtained from a duly licensed and trained healthcare service provider.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN