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Saturday, June 20, 2009

12 Reasons Why We Oppose HB 5043

12 Reasons Why We at ALLIANCE for the FAMILY Foundation Philippines, Inc. (ALFI) OPPOSE Reproductive Health Bill 5043

1.HB 5043 is based on flawed data on population growth rates and fertility levels. It ignores the negative impact on the economy and society of an ageing population, as experienced in many developed countries. If we spend our scarce resources towards birth control, we would be promoting the undesirable outcome of depopulation.

RP’s Population Growth Rate has declined since the Year 2000 Census of 2.36%. The correct PGR is lower. UN states it at 1.8%, whilst the NSO reports 1.94% for its 2005-2010 projection. RP’s Total Fertility Rate is not 3.5. It is 2.6 (based on UN) or 3.2 (based on NSO). In a few decades, fertility rate will be at replacement level of 2.1, and will still continue its irreversible decline, leading to impoverishment of the elderly, and economic decline – which history shows will lead to further decline in fertility.

2.HB 5043 places an overwhelming emphasis on contraception at the expense of all other values, including medical care for the sick and the dying. Top 10 causes of Morbidity/Death in the Philippines lists Pneumonia, Bronchitis, Diarrhea, Influenza and Hypertension as the highest ranking causes of death among women. There is a distortion of human values if we prioritize the prevention of procreation over saving lives.

3.HB 5043 promotes abortion. HORMONAL CONTRACEPTIVES ACT AS ABORTIFACIENTS. They do not prevent ovulation 100% of the time and thus, fertilization can still occur. When the fertilized ovum is prevented from implanting in the uterus because of the effect of the pill, this ovum is expelled. This is plain and simple abortion. (Note: Research shows that ovulation still occurs during pill use in 6 out of 210 menstrual cycles. Even among women who observed strict compliance with pill intake, break-through ovulation rate could be as high as 34.28 ovulations for every 100 women taking the pill for one year. Hence, there remains a grave risk of the abortion of undetected pregnancies.)

4.It is not true that widespread use of contraceptives will reduce illegal abortion and help control the spread of HIV/STD. In every single country where contraceptives became widely available, cases of abortion, teenage pregnancies, HIV/STDs increased because of the contraceptive mindset being promoted in society.

5.HB 5043, with its 2-child ideal (Section 16), will result in social stigma and discrimination against large families. The ideal family size is what parents responsibly decide. This is not to be mandated nor encouraged by the State.

6.HB 5043 legislates mandatory reproductive health and sex education from Grade V to 4th year high school (Section 12). This includes the discussion of topics on how to “prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies”, “use and application of natural and modern family planning methods”, “desired family size”, etc. Teaching youth about abstinence and, at the same time, discussing how to avoid pregnancies sends mixed messages that will, in the end, lead to serious consequences for many. It also undermines the right of parents to be the primary educators of their children and “the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood”, as stated in our Constitution.

7.HB 5043 provides that any person who publicly or even privately disagrees with its premises, conclusion or implementation is subject to fine or imprisonment (Section 21.e.). It also imposes a tax burden on taxpayers, who, in the exercise of their religious conviction, are opposed to the RH bill.

8.HB 5043 seeks to classify hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables etc. as “essential medicines” (Section 10) even if they pose health risks to women. The World Health Organization has also concluded that HORMONAL CONTRACEPTIVES CAUSE CANCER, Warning Level 1, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

9.HB 5043 forces all health care service providers, including private doctors, nurses, clinics and hospitals, to make referrals for the provision of abortifacient drugs and devices (Section 21.a.5.). Refusal will be punished by fine and/or imprisonment. This is a violation of a person’s freedom of conscience.

10. HB 5043 violates the Constitutional safeguards for life and family (Article II, Sections 12 & 13; Article XV, Sections 1 & 3). It allows anyone to avail of RH services like vasectomy or ligation without the consent of the spouse (Section 21.a.2.), thereby creating artificial conflicts between spouses and thus effectively destroying the meaning of marriage. Similarly, an abused pregnant minor may also avail of any of the “reproductive health care services” without the need of parental consent (Section 21.a.3.).

11. Poverty and hunger is not caused nor aggravated by overpopulation, but by the wrong economic policies, poor governance and systemic corruption. Numerous economic studies have shown that there is no correlation between population, the incidence of poverty and GDP growth. FAO statistics indicate that food supply in the Philippines has even outpaced population growth rate between the years 1960 to 2002.

12. Finally, HB 5043 ignores the mandate of Section 12, Article II of the Constitution, which provides as follows:

Sec.12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. This provision leaves no room for the State or any of its agencies to get involved in any family planning program that promotes CONTRACEPTIVES that endanger the health of the mother and the life of the unborn from the point of conception.

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