Press Release
May 20, 2014

Sen. Pia on Andrea Rosal: RH rights is universal,
regardless of one's political belief

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today raised questions on the circumstances that led to the death of the newborn baby of political prisoner Andrea Rosal, daughter of the late communist leader Gregorio 'Ka Roger' Rosal.

At the same time, the lady senator said the country's prison system must ensure that the reproductive health rights and needs of pregnant female inmates are respected and addressed by jail authorities.

"The right of a mother to reproductive health is universal and must be observed at all times, regardless of the detainee's political belief," said Cayetano, the principal sponsor of the Reproductive Health Law and chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Family Relations and Gender Equality.

"Was Andrea given sufficient medical attention in prison? Why was there a delay in her transfer to PGH from her prison cell?" she asked.

"Pregnancy is a most natural state that may proceed without complications. But being natural does not mean precautions should be ignored. Pregnant women in detention should be given decent living conditions and hospital care, if necessary. Such access should not be denied just because one is a detainee."

"If a woman seven months pregnant is locked up in a prison cell that is merely 5 x 10 meters small, cramped with 31 other inmates, and when she is denied access to the necessary pre-natal check-ups and tests, then we are endangering the health and life of both the mother and baby."

Cayetano also lamented the deplorable condition of ordinary inmates like Andrea compared to known high-profile prisoners.

"When we read about how some so-called 'VIP prisoners' have used their medical needs as an excuse to avail of hospital detention, it pains me to hear that a detained pregnant woman may have been denied of immediate medical access that could have assured her of a safe pregnancy and could have saved the life of her child."

The lady senator expressed hope that Rosal's request to attend her daughter's wake and burial would be granted by the court.

"As a mother who also lost a child, I can sympathize with Andrea and the anguish that she must be going through. She should be allowed to grieve for her baby and given enough time to fully recover physically and psychologically."

"Lastly, a full investigation must be conducted to see whether our detention facilities for women are equipped to deal with a mother's maternal health," she concluded.

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