Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The RH bill: essentially a legal and not a religious issue
A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away)
By Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star)
Updated April 25, 2011
P-Noy really has the right or even the obligation as President to endorse for legislation any bill that he believes will promote his program of government. This is true even if the bill is as controversial as the Reproductive Health (RH) bill which he has renamed “Responsible Parenthood” (RP) bill. For taking such an unstinting stand on this issue, he earned praise and admiration as expected, from the RH bill’s backers who immediately claim he is supporting their cause.
But what is very unfortunate here is the seeming arrogance of power P-Noy displayed in dealing with the opposition. Many of those who voted for him in the last election envisioned a President who would unite the nation. But it is not the President they saw and heard in the UP commencement exercises. The public perception is that he just created a deeper fissure among our people in his stand on the controversial RH (RP?) bill, making his holy week appeal to “carry our nation together” sound hollow and empty.
First of all, he is talking about another version of the bill which he calls “RP” bill the contents of which are not yet known or made public up to now. Nobody has read or even seen a version of said bill and therefore cannot intelligently say that he/she is for or against it. Hence it is not quite right for P-Noy to say he knows those who oppose it; nor could he say that “their minds are already closed”.
Indeed the statements of his drumbeaters in Malacanang even vary with his own. One official said that “Aquino’s Responsible Parenthood version of the controversial reproductive health bill in Congress will neither be in favor of the Catholic Church nor Reproductive Health bill advocates”. Another claimed that “The RP bill means that we will not favor one over the other. Wala po talagang papaboran sa family planning method”. But in his UP speech, P-Noy already avowed categorically that his RP bill “has a lot of common grounds” with the RH bill now under plenary debate in the House of Representatives.
P-Noy is just actually reiterating his “pro-choice” stance in his UP speech about the “need to reorient, refocus and empower Filipino couples and provide them with full public information regarding the natural and artificial methods of family planning and consult the individual religious entities where they belong”. This is the principle of the Responsible Parenthood bill which he would like to “isabatas” and to explain to “those who oppose it” even if their “minds are already closed”. This is the very same stance of the RH bill authors and supporters.
Plainly, he would like Filipino couples to exercise responsible parenthood in determining the size of their family by giving them the right to choose between the natural and artificial family planning methods after being properly informed about them. And to enable the couples to exercise this right, the government should make available to them the modern methods of family planning. In short, if the couples choose the artificial method, the government should provide the artificial contraceptives, whether in the form of pills or mechanical devices.
Before espousing this principle, P-Noy should have consulted experts to determine the over-all effects of contraceptives. Had asked, he must have learned of the medical and scientific findings showing that artificial contraceptives not only prevent conception but also render the uterus hostile to a live embryo and thus prevent its the implantation in the mother’s womb. So that when the couple subsequently decides to have a baby by not using contraceptives or when contraceptives fail, abortion also happens. That is why the bill also has provisions on “post abortion” complications.
Indeed actual studies in the US show that artificial contraceptives are not 100% effective. It may also result in unwanted pregnancies forcing women to resort to abortion. In fact the US Supreme Court has already recognized the close causal link between contraception and abortion which led to its decision in Roe vs. Wade, legalizing abortion. Then there are also medical findings about the many harmful effects of artificial contraceptives on the life and health of mothers and children.
So this is not simply a matter of informing the couples and giving them the freedom to choose between artificial and natural family planning methods. Certainly, couples have no freedom to choose something that will violate the law particularly, Article II Section 12 of the Constitution which mandates the State to equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception; and Section 15 which requires the State to protect and promote the right to health of the people.
Moreover, artificial contraceptives also violate natural law or the “norm derived from human nature”. This is so because one of the most natural acts of a human person is to engage in sexual intercourse which has for its natural consequence the possible transmission of life when man’s sperm cell may fertilize the egg released from the woman’s ovaries. Contraceptives however interfere with this natural process by preventing the union of the sperm and the egg.
Hence the controversy here is not so much about whether the RH or RP bill is contrary to the religious beliefs of a particular sect or religious denomination. It is more about whether the bill giving couples the freedom to choose artificial contraceptives violates the law — of man and of nature. It is essentially a legal not a religious issue. Let us not drag the “Padre Damasos” here.
In pushing for the RH or RP bill, P-Noy is therefore not risking his own ex-communication from the Church. He is putting the country to greater risk of being engulfed by a “contraceptive mentality” which according to data gathered by western social scientists and pro choice advocates themselves, “has caused a rise in abortion, infidelity, breakdown of families, trouble in relationship between the sexes, a lessening of respect for women by men, female impoverishment and single motherhood”.
P-Noy should just concentrate in fighting graft and corruption to solve our country’s problem of poverty. He should not push for the RH bill as it may just lead us to a “higher form of corruption” — moral corruption which may probably usher economic prosperity but will certainly cause moral bankruptcy in our society.
During Easter time let’s hope and pray that P-Noy will further deliberate on his RH bill position and will not forget to implore the aid of the Divine Providence, the author of nature, the source and giver of life and the protector of the family.
HAPPY EASTER TO ALL
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