The Reproductive Health (RH) bill is not what you say it is. It is not a proabortion, antilife, and immoral measure.
I hope you’d take the time to read the bill. Maybe then you’d learn that it neither legalizes abortion nor promotes it. I challenge anyone from your camp to quote the provision that does that.
If the leaders of the Catholic Church took the time to learn, they’d know that contraception is not the same as abortion as it is simply the prevention of conception.
And if you read the RH bill, you’d learn that it promotes, not only artificial methods, but also natural methods, of contraception.
But the bill is not just about contraception; it’s about providing Filipinos universal access to information on family planning, maternal and infant health care, and sexual and RH issues. Sex education is not sex promotion. Sex education is about teaching individuals about their reproductive anatomy and physiology. It will inform them that unprotected sexual intercourse may cause pregnancy and increase the risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Contrary to claims that sex education will only promote promiscuity (there are no scientific studies to back this outrageous assertion), it may actually help individuals make better decisions about sex.
We need sex education. Because people are ignorant or miseducated, they make certain decisions that lead to unwanted pregnancy, miscarriage, maternal mortality, and STDs.
Fact #1: The Philippines has not had an RH law and sex education is not offered in grade school and high school on a national scale.
Fact #2: It has relied largely on priests’ sermons and on parental guidance “to prevent individuals from engaging in premarital sex.”
Fact #3: Despite Fact #2, including warnings on eternal damnation, teenagers and unmarried adults still engage in sex. Conclusion: What we have relied on has not been very effective in discouraging persons from engaging in sexual intercourse.
I acknowledge that this is a very personal and emotional fight for you. But I hope that you do not abandon reason. Know the facts to make an informed decision. According to a study by the United Nations Population Fund, teen pregnancy in the Philippines has risen by 70 percent in the past decade. Our country has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in Southeast Asia. The incidence of STDs has risen to alarming levels. According to the STD/AIDS Cooperative Central Laboratory, there were 178 newly identified HIV-infected persons as of June 2011—a 63-percent increase from the figure in 2010.
All of this has occurred despite the Church’s call for abstinence and for natural family planning methods. In case you haven’t noticed, what you’ve been insisting on has not worked. Why? Because they are effective only when there is perfect adherence to these two measures. Moreover, perfect adherence to natural family planning still will not translate to a 100-percent accurate and effective method of contraception.
Remember that each woman’s menstrual cycle is not exact. But not everyone knows this. (Ignorance of this physiological fact and more can be addressed by sex education, which the RH bill supports.)
Let’s face it: Abstaining from sex is rather difficult. If you don’t believe this, consider the priests who can’t keep their pants on.
The maternal mortality rate (MMR), which pertains to the number of maternal deaths related to complications of pregnancy and childbirth, is one of the indicators of health in a society. According to the Department of Health, the MMR has risen to 221 per 100,000 live births. This is way off the Millennium Development Goal of 52 per 100,000 by 2015. What’s appalling is that these deaths could have been avoided. Had education on reproductive health been made accessible to the masses, the rise in MMR could have been reduced or, at the very least, controlled.
I think it is rather silly that a Church leader equates contraception with corruption. Recall that contraception is the prevention of conception, either by natural or artificial means. Is Archbishop Socrates Villegas saying that advocating natural family planning is tantamount to being corrupt?
If Church leaders want to talk about morality, they should take a look at themselves. The Church has in a way become an abettor of a crime by failing to cooperate in the investigation of priests accused of child molestation in various parts of the world. It has covered up for these priests and allowed them to continue to prey on children by reassigning them to other parishes. It has even paid the victims of such priests for their silence.
The Church, by advocating something that has failed to solve, reduce, or control the rise in teen pregnancies, MMR, and STDs—in other words, by allowing these to continue—has become an abettor of a crime against humanity.
It is so concerned with the rights of the unborn child. Those who attended the Aug. 4 anti-RH rally wore red as a symbol of “the martyrdom of the unborn child.” But what about the misery of the child born into a life of poverty? What does the Church think about that? It seems more concerned about the rights of the unborn child than the rights and welfare of those who are born into this world. This is probably because it’s not the one who has to figure out how to feed the hungry children in the slums or in the streets.
Because we have the information that can help solve, reduce, or, at the very least, control problems related to reproductive health (and indirectly solve economic issues), it is but moral to make this information accessible to the public.
The RH bill is not an instant solution to poverty; nothing is. But it will offer millions of impoverished Filipinos the chance to plan their family so they can manage their resources better. Many Filipinos can barely afford to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate their children. Having more children would not be a wise action. Many Filipinos want to be able to plan their families and avoid having additional, unwanted pregnancies. They just don’t have the means to effectively do so. The RH bill addresses this issue. In addition, because it offers the chance of reducing STDs and complications of pregnancy and childbirth, it can help reduce the economic costs of managing these problems.
The RH bill is not what you say it is. In fact, it is prolife, antiabortion, and moral. Its passage will allow millions of Filipinos a chance at a better life! Isn’t offering people a chance at a better life the moral thing to do?
Any comments please?