Friday, January 7, 2011
The Council of the Laity of the Philippines versus the Reproductive Health Bill
The following was published on page B5 of CBCP Monitor, Vol. 14 No. 25, December 6 - 31, 2010.
A Laiko Position Paper against the RH Bill
The Council of the Laity of the Philippines (Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas), a body of Catholic lay organizations composed of 48 National Lay Organizations (NLO) and 49 Diocesan Councils of the Laity (DCL) do hereby manifest our vehement objection to House Bill 96 otherwise known as the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill because of the following chosen reasons, among several others (for brevity):
1. Reproductive health and services, as defined by the United Nations and to which definitions the Republic of the Philippines has agreed to bind itself, includes the services of abortion which we believed, the RH Bill tacitly approves and which we find unacceptable as inhumane.
2. The Bill makes legal the official funding for the population control measures and devices which has been scientifically evaluated by the World Health Organization as carcinogenic and hazardous to women’s health. By classifying contraceptives as essential medicines, the Bill allows it to be purchased and distributed by all national and local hospitals and other government health units, making pregnancy appear like a disease that must be treated.
3. The mandatory education of Grade 5 students on sexuality and family planning, as recommended among the RH Bill provisions unnecessarily exposes children to it at a very tender age. It violates the constitutional rights of parents to educate their children in accordance with their moral and religious beliefs.
4. Population control by promoting the use of contraceptives, which has been clearly exposed as the underlying reason for the RH Bill, ignores the strong argument against the claims to that our country is overpopulated and that it is the primary caused for the existence of poverty. We believe that the main cause of poverty in our country is corruption, abetted by sub-standard dispensation of justice due to inefficient governance.
5. The Bill violates the right of health workers to decide according to one’s conscience by requiring them to be part of certain procedures, such as those leading to the abortion, thus forcing them to be unwilling accomplices to an act they believe is immoral and unacceptable.
We, the members of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, have in the foregoing, cited only a few of several other reasons why we are against HB No.96 or the so called “RH” Bill. On the other hand, we strongly recommend that whatever funds proposed for this Bill be allocated instead for the promotion of health care by:
1. Increasing the Budget for more efficient operation of existing Government Hospitals and Health Centers, providing the necessary medicines and medical equipment for the use of indigent patients, free of charge.
2. Constructing more Government Hospitals and Health Centers especially in the rural areas and training a work force in the Barangay level for health care and sanitation services.
3. Increasing the salaries and benefits of government health care workers particularly doctors and nurses including care givers and providing the necessary security of tenure thereof.
We reiterate our objection to the legislation of the RH Bill because we believe it is unnecessary, counter-productive to social development and most all hazardous to health. Thus we implore our legislators to open their minds and listen to the voice of reason putting only the benefit of our people above other interests. Lastly we say: Let life continue in its God-given course. Maraming salamat po at Mabuhay!
For the Council of the Laity of the Philippines,
EDGARDO J.T. TIRONA
December 01, 2010