A champion of the RH bill chided Sen. Sotto today for his snide remarks during the Senate interpellation of the measure, saying that the insulting remarks made by the senator dishonor Filipino women, including his own mother, wife, and daughter.

"He questions the veracity of the fact that 11 maternal deaths occur in this country everyday with nothing, with no counter-evidence at all, but his astounding bigotry," said former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, who vetted the data, the result of the 2006 Family Planning Survey of the National Statistics Office.

"Sen. Sotto claims to be a devout pro-life advocate, and yet he has the chutzpah to joke about the danger faced by those who bear life? He belittles the sacrifices made by mothers, including his own, who put their lives in danger due to pregnancy," said Hontiveros, adding that the situation is aggravated by the severe insufficiency of maternal health services in the country, a problem that the RH bill aims to address.

She challenged Sotto to immerse himself in the situation of women and mothers. "Perhaps he should stay in a hospital like Fabella, PGH, or even in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center. There he’d see for himself how the status quo has robbed women of their dignity,” Hontiveros dared Sotto.

"There is nothing desirable about the status quo, and for a so-called pro-life advocate to prefer the current situation than reforming says a lot about the kind of life that he wants us to have - a life full of wanting, and the life of the unwanted,” she added.

“He should try telling mothers facing unwanted pregnancy or suffering from illnesses related to childbirth that their lives enviable,” she added.

“As a mother, I know that childbearing is a challenge, but it is and should be a joyous one. If Sotto is truly pro-life, he should be working with mothers and women, and not against us," Hontiveros said.

She likewise commended the champions of the bill in the Senate. “I wish to express my gratitude to Senators Miriam Santiago and Pia Cayetano for not conceding any ground and for sticking to the facts and the merits of the bill,” Hontiveros said. “We admire their courage and wit. They didn’t allow Sen. Sotto’s bigotry to derail the real discourse that should be happening about the RH bill.”

She also commended the senators for clarifying that the RH bill is not a redundancy because of the enactment of the Magna Carta of Women.

“The Magna Carta legislated a general policy framework. It did not, however, establish a specific policy and program on reproductive health, the meat of the response needed to address the current situation,” she clarified. -30