The Senate and the House of Representatives ratified the much-contested Reproductive Health Bill during the bicameral conference committee report on December 19, just two days after both houses of congress approved their separate versions of the bill for the final time. reports that the upper house approved the reconciled version of the bill with 11 senators voting in its favor and five against it. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives made their decision via viva voce, resorting to “ayes” and “nays” to express their side.

It was agreed in the consolidated bill that youth from ages 10 to 19 would have access to “age- and development-appropriate” reproductive health curriculum in public schools, to be devised by the Department of Education. Private schools are also given the option of adapting this course.

Both houses also agreed that the national government will give “financial and technical support” to the local government units so they can implement the law. Minors will also be able to avail of artificial birth control methods in government hospitals and health centers only with the written consent of their parents.

“In the end, I believe we have a #RHBill that is better than it was when it left each house. Not perfect, but better,” Senator Pia Cayetano, the principal sponsor of the bill in the Upper House, wrote in a Twitter post.

(Photo by Franz Lopez via Flickr Creative Commons)

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