Starting September 8, 2012, anonymous comments -- whether for or against the RH bill -- will no longer be permitted on this blog.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The truth about oral contraceptives

What Guttmacher failed to point out in RH
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:15 am | Thursday, July 28th, 2011

THIS REFERS to two letters, published in the Inquirer, that may be confusing to readers.

The first letter, from Raul Nidoy (“Breathtaking infatuation for RH bill,” Inquirer, 5/10/11), correctly referenced our systematic review, published in the Archives of Family Medicine, in which we concluded, “that good evidence exists to support the hypothesis that the effectiveness of oral contraceptives depends to some degree on postfertilization effects” on the lining of the uterus (endometrium).

This fact is now so well-established in medical literature that the United States Food and Drug Administration says of the pill: “Although the primary mechanism of action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include… changes in the endometrium which reduce the likelihood of implantation.”

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine also admits that the pill modifies “the endometrium, thus preventing implantation.”

If a woman on the pill has a breakthrough ovulation, the pill-caused changes in the endometrium will increase the chance of an unrecognized, pill-induced loss of a preborn human.

For those who believe that human life begins at fertilization, then any pill-caused post-fertilization loss of life would be, by definition, an abortifacient.

The second letter, from Guttmacher Institute (“RH research findings distorted,” Inquirer, 7/1/11), claims that the “pill only serves to prevent a pregnancy; it does not terminate a pregnancy. It is blatantly false and against all scientific evidence to claim that the pill is an abortifacient.”

This letter, purposefully we think, does not tell the readers that the Institute defines pregnancy as beginning at implantation, a full 5-7 days after fertilization, when the unborn human, now called a blastocyst (not a “fertilized egg”), is made up of roughly 100 or more cells.

Since the pill does not affect an unborn child after implantation and the Institute defines pregnancy as not beginning until implantation, then they can claim the pill is not an abortifacient, but only because they refuse to define pregnancy as beginning at fertilization.

The bottom line is this: if one believes human life begins at fertilization, then good scientific data exist to demonstrate that the pill works, at times, as an abortifacient.

Furthermore, given that there are highly effective, inexpensive, totally natural, and non-abortifacient methods of birth control (the methods of modern natural family planning), it appears that most arguments for using birth -control pills can be said to be advocating convenience for mothers and fathers at the potential expense of innocent and invaluable human life.

assistant clinical professor,
Department of Community and Family Medicine,
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Denver, CO, USA; J

Professor, Division of Public Health,
George D. and Esther S.Gross Chair,
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine,
University of Utah,
375 Chipeta Way, Suite A
Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Enabling irresponsibility

For my explanation of why I choose to post some of Patricio Mangubat's essays despite his unorthodoxy, please see THIS -- CAP.

Why pay for someone else's condom?
By "Patricio Mangubat"
Published in New Philippine Revolution on May 26, 2011

The RH bill seeks to spend close to 3 billion pesos for buying contraceptives and condoms. These condoms will be given freely to those who want it.

Question---how about those with money? Will they be entitled to a condom if they feel the urge to do it with their partner even outside of marriage? According to the bill, yes, the State is mandated to give them free condoms if they feel the urge to do the thing right that moment.

The RH bill will only aggravate social problems

From Fr. Anton Pascual's column Logic of Gift, published in Business Mirror on June 2, 2011:

A law, like values, is meant to sustain social order, not to solve social problems. That is the realm of management. A law grounded on disregard for unborn human life, a fundamental right and a time-honored Filipino value does not only disrupt the social building block of Filipino family life, but creates and aggravates social problems. This is the clash of the “logic of exchange” or what I would call the “logic of transactions” versus the “logic of gift.” If the law defines only the logic of transactions and ignores or brushes aside the human, humane and humanizing relationships that grow with unsolicited gift, then human society is at peril. George Orwell’s Big Brother is alive again. 

Why the favoritism shown to artificial contraceptives?

From Ambassador Jose V. Romero's column "The Church & P-Noy honeymoon is over?"

We would like to think that P-Noy will not go out of his way to pick a fight with the church on this issue and is still looking for a “matuwid na daan.” We believe that a compromise is possible without compromising the stand of the Church on the subject of human sexuality now endangered by certain provisions of the bill. For example, the government could utilize the vast resources of the parish councils to promote responsible parenthood through the natural birth control methods which in its latest form has been found to be quite effective. 
We know that this will not sit well with the pharmaceutical companies which are now salivating at the thought of raking in huge profits from the sale of billions of rubberized products and contraception pills now rotting in their warehouses. Obviously, this will be opposed by the NGOs and media practitioners who are living off the fat fees provided by international institutions bent on curbing the populations of fast emerging economies with big populations like the BRIC community which is now utilizing their abundant raw materials, like energy and mineral resources, to fuel their own fast- growing economies at the expense of those of former colonizers now battling bravely in the Middle East to insure a steady supply of energy for their home countries. Was this not the rationale for Henry Kissinger’s NSSM 200 in 1974? 
These prophets of doom are the ones that are now edging P-Noy to the brink of breaking relations with the Church for selfish reasons. But P-Noy must realize that pills and condoms are not short- term or even long-term solutions to the problems of poverty in this country. If this were so, and the solution lay simply in adding to the conditional cash transfer a ration of condoms and pills for every poor household, we in the economic profession must have overlooked this simple remedy to poverty alleviation! How simple indeed and how cheap since these would have been financed by our former colonizers, who as we write, are through their co-opted foundations already distributing condoms in the backstreets of Metro Manila with or without the benefit of the RH bill. 
If tomorrow we prevent the poor from reproducing, will the economy grow by our target rates of 7 or 8% –the magic figure that economists claim can mitigate poverty which we have actually already achieved under the last administration? We doubt it.

On the real trends facing the population of the Philippines

The following article was written in 2007 but remains relevant to our times:

Population trends: lessons for RP

By Fr. Gregory D. Gaston, SThD
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:47:00 01/02/2010

REMEMBER the population bomb? The new threat to the planet is not too many people but too few,” Michael Meyer reports on “Birth Dearth” (in Newsweek, Sept. 27, 2004). He continues: “The world’s population will continue to grow – from today’s 6.4 billion to around 9 billion in 2050. But after that, it will go sharply into decline. Indeed, a phenomenon that we’re destined to learn much more about – depopulation – has already begun in a number of countries.”

How does the RH bill promote irresponsible parenthood?

From the blog Drawing Lines:

When ignorance becomes deadly
By "Petrufied"
(Originally published in The You, Inc. Chronicles)

Ever heard of the term “reproductive rights”? It sounds very nice, doesn’t it? In fact, it is a very nice concept, on the condition that by “nice” you mean “foolish” as the word meant in Old English.

Why is that? “Reproductive rights” basically points to the right to do anything with one’s fertility and body because it is one’s own. A woman with reproductive rights can kill her unborn child without being called a murderer. A husband with reproductive rights can get a vasectomy without informing his wife. A teenager with reproductive rights can have an IUD inserted without telling her parents. The big deal is, it’s their body; let them do with it as they please.

Open letter by eight PAREF Woodrose students versus the RH Bill

Published on July 11, 2011 on the website of The Manila Times:

Woodrose students explain why they object to HB 4244

WE are students of PAREF Woodrose School, and we are against House Bill 4244, the Reproductive Health Bill, whose full name has been changed to “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.” We acknowledge that there are some sections that we agree with such as those that mention the provision of treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases or reproductive diseases; respect and responsibility for the reproductive health of employees, and treatment and healthcare services for those who are pregnant. Although this bill gives those said benefits, we are strongly against the use of contraceptives to promote Reproductive Health.

The bill specifically states in many sections such as Section 3.e. that artificial methods of family planning are intended to be used for contraception. The bill also states in Section 7 that family planning sessions will be provided but it forgets to include natural family planning into the section, which leaves personnel in facilities no choice but to give only artificial family planning services. How can this bill boast that it supports freedom of choice when there’s no freedom at all for the facilities? The “modern methods” of limiting and spacing pregnancy are unnatural and are therefore, wrong ways for family planning. These modern methods include the use of contraceptives, whose side effects like nausea, blood clots, irregular menstrual bleeding, etc. highly outweigh their so-called “benefits.”

Not only that, but there are contraceptives that really cause abortions (these are called abortifacients). To understand what an abortifacient is, however, it is imperative to know exactly when life begins. Life begins the moment an egg and sperm join together. This is called fertilization. Abortifacients are the contraceptives that work after fertilization by killing the new human life form. However, a “new” definition has been introduced. It now states that pregnancy does not begin until one week after fertilization. Because of this new definition, the meaning of “conception” has also been altered as the time of implantation, instead of the union of egg and sperm. This redefinition has led people to believe that most, if not all, contraceptives are not abortifacients but they, in fact, are.

It explicitly states in the bill that “this act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law;” however, the distribution of contraceptives is legal. It is, therefore, a contradiction in terms since most contraceptives are abortifacients. This is precisely the reason why many women have silent abortions because when they take contraceptives, they may have already lost their babies without even knowing it and yet more and more women all over the world are currently taking these contraceptives because they are convinced that it prevents them from getting pregnant. But, the fact is, it doesn’t.

Having stated our views on the RH bill, we sincerely hope that this letter has enlightened you to see the truth. Our morals shouldn’t be dictated by a mere vote. We must remember that, though this RH Bill has yet to be passed, what is legal is not equivalent to what is morally right.

Angela Aquino
Bernice Labad
Louise Lukban
Reggie Marasigan
Honey Mira
Victoria Prieto
Sofia Sazon
Maxinne Sebial
Year IV PAREF Woodrose students.

More on Dr. Palabyab versus the RH Bill

(For the record, not even I would say that the RH bill -- which I passionately oppose -- makes contraception an essential component of marriage. - CAP.)

From CBCP for Life:

MANILA, July 26, 2011–At the July 25 State of the Soul of the Nation Address (SSONA) organized by the interfaith Pro-Life Coalition, one of the speakers, Dr. Eleanor Palabyab, touched on the widespread use of contraception and how a landmark papal letter had predicted its consequences on marriage, families, and on societies worldwide.

Palabyab, the president of the group Doctors for Life, appealed to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to reject measures that will end up destroying the institutions of marriage and the family, particularly the heavily opposed Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

On the contraceptive mentality


A must reading for advocates of the RH Bill is an article by Nobel Prize winning economist George Akerlof which appeared in the quarterly journal of economics some time ago. In the said article, Akerlof explained that the discovery of the pill in the sixties spawned the sexual revolution of the sixties which brought in its wake a lot of serious social problems such as the decrease in marriage and married fatherhood. These findings, supported by empirical evidence, also showed that the contraceptive mentality produces a simultaneous rise in anti-social behaviour among single men such as drug abuse leading to arrests and incarceration.

"Colorful Rag" on the RH Bill and Statism

The following passage is from the "Colorful Rag" article RH Bill, Poverty and Big Government. (Not that I fully agree with libertarianism either...)

It’s also nonsense to say that Filipinos’ quality of life is being “decreed” by bishops, just because they’re opposing a coercive program. Are these Catholic Church representatives calling for a coercive ban on contraceptives? Are drugstore owners facing fines and imprisonment for selling these products? People should learn to distinguish between being bugged by their conscience, and being harassed by the government.

And so not only do we have an example of the refuted Malthusian fallacy of ‘overpopulation,’ but are witness to a misplaced trust in the state to determine the production and distribution of the disputed resources that are already freely available. There is a considerable percentage of the population that advocates the bill ― are we still to suppose that charities and other ‘pro-choice’ organizations won’t have enough funding for the contraceptive and reproductive health programs they envision? 
But it’s the government’s job, many would contend. It is exactly this mentality ― of dependence on inherently violent institutions ― that lovers of liberty oppose, whether the issue involves contraceptives, mobile phone plans, food safety, or whatnot.

And maybe in the not-so-distant future, if government no longer exists, we could laugh about the destruction reaped in earlier centuries by socialism-statism, in the same way we laugh today about embarrassing experiences in our adolescence.

Why the Church must not be afraid to speak out

(See also Vox populi, vox Dei? by the same priest.)

The world of public opinion

IF the Church really has to tackle the challenges of today more effectively, I think it has to be more active in the world of public opinion. That´s where a lot of action is taking place these days, action that both reflects the flowing signs of the times and helps to shape them.

Without leaving behind or neglecting, but rather enhancing and purifying the traditional means, the Church has to go beyond preaching to the choir.

From the State of the Soul of the Nation Address

From CBCP for Life. Emphases (via underlining) mine.

(UPDATE: A more detailed article can be found in the website of the UST Varsitarian: 'State of the Soul of the Nation' Address: Faith and democracy can coexist'.)

MANILA, July 25, 2011–Several hours before President Benigno Simeon Aquino III was to deliver his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), a crowd of some 1,500 gathered at a historically significant place to take part in a “Congress of the Faithful” and listen to designated representatives of the Pro-Life Coalition deliver its own “State of the Soul of the Nation Address” (SSONA).

From the Corazon Aquino Kalayaan Hall of Club Filipino, where former President Corazon Aquino –the current President’s late mother—took her oath as president after the 1986 Edsa revolt, former Senator Francisco Tatad started the Address on a firm but reassuring note:

“We gather here today in our own name, and in the name of all Filipinos who want to live in truth, justice, freedom, peace and love – in a country that fully recognizes and respects the inviolable dignity of every human person, the State’s irrevocable duty to every citizen, and God’s unfailing providence, from which ‘all blessings flow.’”

He stated that the event was being carried out not to dispute or nullify the President’s words in his SONA, nor was it to imply that the Club Filipino address was the “true SONA,” but “to examine our objective national condition, express our faith and hope in the good things to come and give voice to our just anxieties and fears about the new challenges we face and many recurring ills.”

‘We swear allegiance to the same Constitution’

“We affirm the same truth about man, and profess the same commitment to human life, the family and marriage, which both the Church and the State are totally committed to protect and defend,” he said.

“We swear allegiance and loyalty to the same Constitution, and the same flag, and we claim the same rights and stand by the same duties as citizens.

May [the President] succeed in rekindling our people’s faith in his ability to inspire and lead them along the right and righteous path.

‘Soul of our nation’

We want to listen to the President. And we want all our countrymen to hang on to his every word. But we ask the President and the entire government to listen to us as well in the true spirit of give-and-take.

Before giving the floor to the succeeding speakers, Tatad explained the context in which the Address was crafted.

“By the phrase ‘the soul of our nation,’ we mean the transcendental, moral, intellectual, spiritual and religious qualities that define our being as one people, that bind us together and make each one of us a part of the other in a covenant with the same providence, and assure us that God was speaking to us when he said, “Hearken to my voice, for I will be your God, and you shall be my people” (Jer 7: 23).

Among the speakers who highlighted the call to the President to manifest a deeper faith in the nation’s human resource and to respect fundamental human realities was Pastor Reyzel Cayanan of the Baptist group Biblemode Youth.

Invest in a robust population; respect laws on marriage, life

“We are a young nation with a robust and vibrant population. This is our primary and ultimate resource, our basic and abiding strength. We only need to invest in it and develop it.

“We are a nation of believers, and that is a source of an even greater strength,” Cayanan continued.

“Contrary to the error insisted upon by the dogma of political correctness, faith and democracy can coexist, without one harming the other. For as Alexis de Tocqueville points out, ‘despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.’”

“We must reject the proposition that we could enact a law – any law – that removes the most fundamental area of human behavior, such as the intimate exercise of the procreative and unitive aspect of every marriage, from regulation of the moral law,” he said.

Eleanore Palabyab, M.D., president of Doctors for Life, asserted that the more serious kind of corruption than the kind on which the President’s campaign message is hinged—was the rejection of the laws of God and the twisting of moral principles merely to satisfy the dictates and whims of the flesh.

“Aming dalangin na maging malinaw sana sa ating Pangulo ang kanyang tungkulin na ipagtanggol ang buong katotohanan tungkol sa kabanalan ng pamilya, pag-aasawa at buhay,” Palabyab said.

Other speakers during the SSONA were former Congressman Bienvenido “Benny” Abante, former Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) chief Bro. Rolando Dizon, Soldiers of Christ elder Erlinda Arcadia, and World Youth Alliance Asia-Pacific (WYAAP) regional director Renelyn Tan.

Besides matters of life, family and marriage, also taken up during the over two-hour SSONA were the state of the economy, the poverty picture, the plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), peace and order, education, health care, environmental concerns, agrarian reform, foreign affairs, the fight against corruption, and electoral reforms.

The SSONA was preceded by a Eucharistic celebration at nearby Santuario de San Jose Parish. Officiating the mass was Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo together with other clergy; the homily was delivered by healing priest Fr. Fernando Suarez.

Various faith-based groups, socio-civic organizations and youth representatives marched from the church to Club Filipino, with some youth groups staging dynamic demonstrations of pro-life sentiments right outside the club. (Diana Uichanco)

The RH Bill: Extending the Demographic Winter to the Philippines

Francisco Tatad

Delivered at the Moscow Demographic Summit,
World Congress of Families
Russian State Social University, Moscow, 29 June 2011

Unless we turn it back, assuming we still can, we shall soon face the cruelest winter of our lives, without any prospect of spring.

This is the demographic winter.

The question is---Can we still turn it back, or at least keep it from spreading to our respective corners of the earth?

We pray we still can.

But quite apart from what we are seeing today in Moscow, for which we most profusely thank and commend the World Congress of Families and its Russian collaborators, the evidence suggests that the global anti-population forces are determined to see this demographic winter spread to the last village on the equator.

I speak of my country, the Philippines.

We are an archipelago of 7,107 islands. We have a population of 95 million, growing at 1.9 percent a year. A labor force of 38 million, ten million overseas workers. One million more go abroad each year. The national median age is 22.7 years, among the youngest in the world.

We have far more young people than elderly; infinitely more grandchildren than grandparents. The average family size is five, yet you find many smaller and larger families around, extended ones with three generations living together under one roof. But rarely would you find the emerging European model of four grandparents sharing one grandchild.

Our population profile would read like a perfect pyramid, with a remarkably wide base of young people that tapers off smoothly upward as the population ages and begins to fall off. Indeed, the universe is vibrant and dynamic. A demographer’s delight, a joy to behold.

But we are poor. And that’s where all the problems arise. Like many of the world’s poor, we have stopped falling off like insects, and our total number continues to rise even after the birth rate has fallen to 1.9 percent. In theory, our population density stands at 317 per square km, but so many places are virtually uninhabited, and the major cities are among the world’s most crowded. Thus maldistribution, rather than oversize, is the problem.

But that is not how the population controllers see us. Once in Strasbourg, a distinguished member of the European Parliament chided me about all those Filipinos. Why so many? I said it was still a blessing that Filipinos continued to produce Filipinos, while many European countries could only receive migrants. But to them, the prospect of 150 million or so mostly poor Filipinos surviving modern plagues, natural calamities and bad government by 2050 is simply absurd. So they have targetted us for an intensive population reduction program.

This began sometime ago, when the first alarm was raised about the population bomb, before the 1974 Kissinger report saw the problem posed by the poor countries’ continued population growth to America’s strategic interests, and launched the global policy response to it. But not even that policy found it necessary to prescribe zero or negative population growth. All that has now changed.

Through a population cum reproductive health bill that has already divided our country, the usual foreign governments and funding agencies, multilateral institutions and foreign-funded NGOs are aggressively pressuring Congress to require all Filipino couples to practice birth control as an integral part of marriage, and to make the State the primary preventer of pregnancy. And not a few Filipino politicians are eager to lend themselves to this initiative.

The bill is publicly marketed as a necessary measure to guarantee women’s “right” to family planning. But it is a complete fraud. As no law prohibits it, everyone is free to contracept and get sterilized, and the national contraceptive prevalence rate now stands at 51 percent.

Since the seventies, the government has been doing population control, at the behest of external forces. A part of the national budget is appropriated for it year after year; at least two billion pesos is alloted for it this year. In addition, in the last few years, many cities and provinces have signed up with foreign governments and funding agencies to take their programs to the most innocent villages.

Assuming these programs could stand constitutional challenge, which is highly unlikely, they render the proposed law completely unnecessary and superfluous. Still the bill is being fast tracked ahead of any proposed legislation as though it were the most highly awaited solution to the country’s most pressing national problems, which are too numerous to enumerate.

The President has vowed to sign the bill into law, even before it has hurdled Congress, despite the deep resentment it has already caused, especially among the nation’s overwhelmingly Catholic majority, who believe the State has no business organizing the private lives of its citizens, especially their intimate marital and family lives.

In a moment of unguarded exuberance, the President has declared he is ready to get “excommunicated” for wanting to require the state to provide the public with birth control methods, which the Church condemns as intrinsically evil. The laws of the Church do not provide for the excommunication of a doctrinally-challenged president, but we continue to hope that the President does not make himself impeachable by culpably violating the Constitution he has sworn to protect and uphold.

The Philippine Constitution proclaims the family as “the foundation of the nation,” and marriage as “the foundation of the family”, and “an inviolable social institution.” It specifically commits the State to “protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution”, “defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions”, “equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception”, and defend the natural and primary right and duty of parents to be the primary educators of their children.

Going against all this, the bill is patently unconstitutional, void and tyrannical. It seeks to trample on the religious belief of the overwhelming majority of the population and require them, as taxpayers, to pay for the program that assaults their religious belief. The bill seeks to destroy not only the family but also the constitutional democratic state, which then becomes a totalitarian state. Ironically the violence is coming from reputedly the purest democratic sources.

The battle has just begun. Poised against us are the most powerful global forces determined to impose upon us what Pope Benedict XVI has called the “dictatorship of relativism,” which seeks to redefine and remake our human nature and our Christian culture, and civilization. But they shall not prevail.

Guided by truth, reason, the rule of law, and the common good, our people remain firm in their right and duty to be faithful to God and sovereign in their own country, even if their political leaders should all malfunction. They will oppose any unjust law that seeks to trample upon their fundamental human rights, their consciences, their culture, and their Constitution.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bishop Leonardo Medroso versus the RH Bill: The Church respects the State's autonomy but cannot be indifferent to immoral laws

Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran has written this year a number of articles versus the RH Bill. However, these have gained very little attention, and I myself saw these only over the past weekend. Here is his article explaining why the Church is duty-bound to raise its voice versus the RH Bill. His other articles versus the RH Bill are:

Voice of the Church and the RH Bill
Msgr. Leonardo Medroso
Roman Catholic Bishop of Tagbilaran, Bohol.
Originally posted on the bishop's blog on May 26, 2011

The voice of the teaching Church, strongly opposing the RH Bill and warning the people of its effects to morality, can be heard loud and clear in the issuance of the January 2011 Pastoral Letter of CBCP entitled: "Choosing Life; Rejecting RH Bill.” In so doing it passed a definitive judgment on the Reproductive Health Bill and its subsequent amended versions. The main reason for its rejection is: it is morally unacceptable.

The Church speaks from the standpoint of morality. This is after all where her competence lies. It is part of the Church’s mission “to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it. The means, the only means, she may use are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all men according to the diversity of times and circumstances” (CCC 2245). The Church, in order to be the genuine expert of humanity and authoritative in its assessment of man, has to listen and contemplate on the Words of God out of whom man exists, acts, and has his being – the be-all and end-all of humanity. Aside from the Bible and the Sacred Tradition, the Church has to dig deep into the study of philosophy to know man's nature and life through and through from the standpoint of natural knowledge. When, therefore, the Church made its stand against the RH Bill it was not meant to be disrespectful to the State. It was rather to state that she has to be listened to, for she has much to say about man and God given authority to talk about his integral welfare; to declare its stand and state the reasons for its posture. Hence, the pronouncements that it made regarding the RH Bill should be understood on this context.

The State has a legitimate existence of its own. The Church is aware of this reality. It acknowledges autonomy of the State to pursue its temporal purposes; it respects the sovereignty of the nation in the ordering of the temporal goods and services in the just and equitable distribution to each individual citizen and family; it collaborates in the noble task of the State government in putting up an environment of peace and justice so that the complex interactions of the different rights of the citizens may be harmonious and peaceful; it supports the State in its pursuit for developmental goals and economic growth. Hence the Church accepts the autonomy of the State to legislate laws that are according to the requirements of the common good, provisions that would respect and protect the fundamental rights of the human person, legislations that would dispense human services that are in consonance with the dignity of the persons and the natural law. Dispensation of justice to all is the legitimate ambit of the State. In fact it is its duty to promote public order, a modicum of peace and justice, a humane environment, in which individuals, families, and small communities can interact with one another, and thereby wholesomely flourish and grow.

If that is so, then why does the Church now oppose the attempt to make the RH Bill or its amended version into a law of the land?

The answer is the content of the RH Bill which is perceived by the Church as morally wrong. It is on this ground that the Church made its verdict. It states: “ 1) We object to the non-consideration of moral principles, the bedrock of law, in legislative discussions of bills that are intended for the good of individuals and for the common good; 2) We are against the anti-life, anti-natal and contraceptive mentality that is reflected in media and in some proposed legislative bills; 3) We object strongly to efforts at railroading the passage of the RH Bill; 4) We denounce the over-all trajectory of the RH Bill towards population control; 5) We denounce the use of public funds for contraceptives and sterilization; 6) We condemn compulsory sex education that would effectively let parents abdicate their primary role of educating their own children, especially in an area of life – sexuality – which is a sacred gift of God.”

Monday, July 18, 2011

The fight versus the RH Bill is not just a "Catholic thing"

An interesting news article from the Varsitarian (emphases mine):

Forty groups launch coalition vs RH bill

July 15, 6:35 p.m. - Religious and sociocivic organizations convened today to reaffirm their opposition to the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, with Congress set to resume sessions later this month.

Catholic, Baptist, and Muslim leaders, as well as non-government groups led by Pro-Life Philippines, have joined together to form the "Pro-Life Coalition" to ramp up opposition to the RH bill, which aims to channel billions of pesos in state funds to a massive birth-control program.

In a statement, coalition members said they would give their "unwavering support to all pro-poor programs of the present administration" but would "strongly oppose and vehemently resist all moves by any individual, group or institution to enact the RH Bill into law.”

“We fully stand behind more socially and morally relevant bills, like the Right to Information Act, that will significantly bolster the war against corruption in all levels of government,” said the statement, read by Baptist preacher Bienvenido Abante, a former Manila congressman.

“All the attempts to pass the bill are works not according to the will of God,” Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said. “We must have an effort to preserve life in all aspects.”

Former Senator Francisco Tatad of the International Right to Life Federation challenged President Benigno S. Aquino III to protect the pro-life legacy of his mother, former president Corazon Aquino. “Many parts of the constitution are pro-life and it is because of late Cory Aquino,” Tatad said.

Tatad pointed out that 42 countries are already experiencing declining birth rates, and even Russia, whose population is on a decline, has recognized the errors of birth control.

“Birth control is not the essential component of marriage and politicians should recognize that demography affects the world," said Tatad, a former Varsitarian editor.

The press conference at Club Filipino in San Juan was held in line with the upcoming 43rd anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the papal document that reaffirmed the Catholic Church's teaching against artificial birth control.

The Pro-Life Coalition will hold a "People's Congress" on July 25 to call on lawmakers to junk the RH bill, on the same day as the President's state of the nation address. James Bryan J. Agustin

Monday, July 11, 2011

Apologies for the slow posting

I'm sorry for the slow posting as of late. I've had some health issues to deal with and I've had to take extra rest. Daily posting should resume within this week.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Diocese of Dumaguete's Diocesan Council of the Laity versus the RH Bill


WHEREAS, there is reliable notice that the Reproductive Health Bill will again be revived in the Congress of the Philippines through Congressman Edcel Lagman;

WHEREAS, the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines has always opposed the passage of the said bill not only on religious but also on economic and health reasons;

WHEREAS, the Reproductive Health Bill is an opener to the legalization in this country, as what happened in other countries now being classified as “dying” countries, or maybe “endangered” species, and the conditioning of the minds of Christian Filipinos to the use of artificial birth control methods and eventually of abortion;

WHEREAS, we firmly believe that the Reproductive Health Bill contains provisions which are contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on faith and morals and even of pertinent provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution;

WHEREAS, we firmly believe that the strongest and most valuable asset there is in our society is human resource and that the use of artificial birth control methods will eventually lead people to develop an anti child-mentality, mostly among women, as what happened in countries particularly in Europe where there was a massive introduction of artificial birth control methods and now resulting in the fact that majority of their population belong to the elderly and therefore less, and even no longer, productive economically and which situation is seen as the prime reason for the economic downturn and difficult economic recovery of the European Union Community, as well as in other countries with similar experience;

WHEREAS, we do not believe that the provisions of the Reproductive Health Bill will really effect in the enhancement of the health of the woman, but on the contrary, the corresponding practice will result in various body problems of women not experienced in the past; 

WHEREAS, as Catholics, we have to be obedient to the teachings of the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.

NOW, THEREFORE, on motion of Bro. William Ablong, duly seconded by Bro. Lucianito Caseres, LET IT BE RESOLVED, as it is hereby RESOLVED, that the Diocesan Council of the Laity of the Diocese of Dumaguete express to the legislative and executive bodies of the local government units in the Provinces of Negros Oriental and Siquijor which comprise the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Dumaguete, our strong and vigorous OPPOSITION to the passage into law of the Reproductive Health Bill and for this purpose a resounding REPRESENTATION, by copy of this Resolution, is hereby made for our Representatives of the Province of Negros Oriental and Siquijor to present our arguments to the halls of Congress and to vote against the passage of said bill;

 RESOLVED FURTHER, that, should any appearance be necessary before any of the abovementioned government bodies/ officials in order to substantiate our stand, our Spiritual Director and the Vicar General of the Diocese Msgr. Gamaliel Du Tulabing is hereby requested and duly authorized to represent the Diocesan Council of the Laity of the Diocese of Dumaguete for the purpose.


An interesting prediction

Better posted late than never...

15 Reasons why the RH Bill will not pass under PH’s 15th President
Willy Arcilla

(Originally posted on the Philippine Graphic website on April 13, 2011)

1. The RH Bill is an evil bill that violates most of the 10 commandments because it promotes greed (manifested in a contraceptive mentality, “more people leads to more poverty”) and lust (a safe and satisfying sex life without consequence). It will lead to the death of thousands of Filipino babies from abortifacient contraceptives and pave the way for abortion as in other countries that have adopted the RH bill. It dishonors our parents who chose life and conceived each of us and most of all, it disobeys the will of God whose infinite love to share His goodness led to the creation of life.

2. The RH Bill is based on wrong economics as proven by Nobel Prize laureates who have long debunked the Malthusian theory of population doom. There is no correlation between poverty and population. The Philippines is not densely populated but rather, economic activity has not been dispersed effectively. The poorest municipalities in the Philippines can be found in Mindanao, a sparsely populated island. On the other hand, Asian economic tigers are more densely populated than the Philippines but far more progressive due to their leadership and economic strategy.

Truth cannot be dependent upon "democracy"

Fr. Roy Cimagala

BECAUSE of some hot-button issues like the RH Bill, and now divorce, the charge is thrown into the open that the Church is dictatorial, is not democratic. I suppose, if we follow this line of thinking to the end, we will arrive at the conclusion that the Church is inhuman, is bad, and therefore should be killed, extinguished, annihilated.

Of course, this is ridiculous. This brings us to the realization that in our discussions, our passions should be held in control.

Otherwise, they would just mess up with our reasoning, exposing our biases, and leading us to all sorts of non-sequiturs, fallacies and ad hominems.

I find the charge both understandable and without basis.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Perpetuating discrimination

Resty Odon

The never-ending, constantly resurrecting debate on the socalled reproductive (and even gender) rights reminds me of an old debate in the US of A (as monitored by me through the American articles I've read and the few responses at home): the similarly long-standing argument for and against the concept of affirmative action. To review, affirmative action simply means the official granting of state privileges to a segment of the population on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, or origin in response to or as a corrective for the historical discrimination against these populations. It is a concept that obviously means well, but may, in fact, result in even more subtle forms of discrimination, as the socially engineered arrangement operates from an assumption of victimization. This way, affirmative action never solves the problem because it makes the recipient perpetually in an inferior role and the majority population in a superior role as the former's (false) savior.

I realized this strong analogy between the RH Bill's strong socialist agenda (which looks benign on the surface) and the outcome of affirmative action in the land of its birth, after reading this old but excellent, excellent analysis by Shelby Steele, a half-black, half-white writer, in his article, "Affirmative Action: The Price of Preference," from his book The Content of Our Character (1990). In this article, he outlines important distinctions:

- affirmative action via racial preference (through enforeced quotas) VS true equality via equal opportunity
- jerrybuilt racial diversity VS racial parity
- superficial social reengineering VS real (educational/socioenomic) development and antidiscrimination
- special racial (and by extension sexual/gender) rights VS basic constitutional rights (basic human rights)
- false discrimination VS true discrimination

In the case of the RH Bill, affirmative action is ensured by sanctioning, nay coercing (under threat of heavy fines and incarceration), people to give special preferences to various target groups: the poor who reportedly can't afford contraceptives, poor women who want to decide on RH matters independent of their partner, etc. While apparently aiming to eradicate poverty by limiting population growth, the Bill actually perpetuates discrimination by playing on the 'victim' status of people, as though there are no laws yet that have been passed to pave the way for equality, justice, and progress for all (or in today's jargon, "level the playing field").

No wonder interest groups such as the progay and prodivorce camps are all for the RH Bill's passing in Congress and the Senate; they will certainly benefit from its victimization and enforced social reengineering mindsets, both of which have proven to be bereft of wisdom (if not entirely suspect) and, correct me if I'm wrong, have long been rejected in their land of birth.