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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Setting the record straight on the Philippine Medical Association's stance on the RH Bill

From the Varsitarian:

PMA backs pro-life stance vs RH bill

September 24, 6:46 p.m. - THE PHILIPPINE Medical Association (PMA) has backed the pro-life position that life begins at fertilization, saying this scientific fact should be the basis of the reproductive health (RH) bill.

In a statement sent to the Senate, the PMA also rejected the RH bill's penalty clause on doctors, and argued that the religious beliefs of patients should be respected.

The group of doctors demanded “utmost respect” for physicians’ rights, which are being threatened by the RH bill.

The bill will require doctors to provide RH services. Those who object on the grounds of conscience must refer the patient to another doctor, or face penalties.

“They (physicians) must be left undisturbed to decide what is best for their patients,” the position paper, signed by PMA president Dr. Oscar Tinio and PMA Commission on Legislation chairman Dr. Bu Castro, said.

Moreover, the PMA said a patient’s right to exercise his or her religion “must be accorded full respect,” and that patients are entitled to quality health services.

The government should prioritize maternal and child health care over the distribution of contraceptives, the group added.

While the first phrase of the statement appears to be in support of the RH bill, the PMA said it only supports the bill “insofar as it is founded strongly on the principle that ‘life or conception begins at fertilization.’”

Not ‘frog biology’

The PMA said the assumption that life begins at implantation (normally on the 14th day from the start of fertilization) is wrong because there is already a living individual from fertilization.

It said the so-called “pre-embryo” stage of fertilization, advocated by Clifford Grobstein and Richard McCormick, S.J. in 1979, had conclusions based on “frog biology.”

“[T]he PMA does not support the studies done on frogs but rather it supports the scientific data that a new cell, the zygote, comes into existence at the ‘moment’ of sperm-egg fusion, an event that occurs in less than a second," the position paper said.

The statement added that there is no human embryologist in the world who would deny that life begins at fertilization.

“The PMA thus abhors any procedure, machination or scheme or medication that will interrupt any stage of fertilization and prevents its normal growth to adulthood until the stage of natural death,” the statement said.

Contraception treats a woman’s body as though there was something wrong with how God created it, the PMA said.

“In an age that has become very weary of dumping pollutants into the environment, it is so ironic that people are so willing to dump pollutants into their bodies,” the statement said.

Among the health risks of contraceptives mentioned in the statement are high blood pressure, stroke, and some forms of cancer.

It added that preventing the fertilized egg from implanting into the wall of the uterus is considered an early-term abortion.

Oral contraceptive pills work by preventing ovulation, but in case of "breakthrough ovulation" and fertilization, the hostile environment created by chemicals in the uterine lining could prevent implantation. Pills have also been declared Group 1 carcinogens by a research body under the World Health Organization.

“Some speak of ‘accidental pregnancies’ as if getting pregnant were like getting hit by a car … But the truth is that if a pregnancy results from an act of sexual intercourse, this means that something has gone right, not that something has gone wrong,” the PMA statement said. Rommel Marvin C. Rio


For those who want to read the PMA Statement for themselves, here it is:

On Malacanang's undue interest in the RH bill

Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) 

Malacañang’s undue interest in the RH bill at this stage cannot help but arouse curiosity. The palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda even went out of bounds by telling our legislators to cut short the debate on the bill and vote on it already. As PNoy’s mouthpiece, he is putting his boss in a tight spot because his stance is a clear violation of the principle of separation of powers among the three main branches of the government. The President may be the most powerful official in our system of government but he certainly cannot tell Congress to rush their process of legislation especially on a bill as controversial as the RH bill. He can only certify to Congress the bills which he believes should be passed.

This latest stance of Malacañang further confirms the existence of strong lobby groups pushing for the bill’s passage and the increasing pressure they are exerting. Of course lobbying for legislation is an accepted practice but in this case of the RH bill, the lobbyists allegedly have well funded foreign backers who are known advocates of abortion. With more reason therefore should legislators thoroughly discuss and more deeply look into every nuance in the bill to ensure that it will not eventually lead to recognizing abortion in this country. Indeed even before further debating and discussing the RH bill, Congress should conduct an inquiry on this lobby groups and their funding. This inquiry is definitely “in aid of legislation”.

Meddling in the legislative process by rushing the legislators to vote on the bill provides a stronger reason to further scrutinize the bill because it is an indubitable sign that the bill has many more questionable features which the authors and their backers would not like to be examined and exposed. It cannot really be denied that the original bill was not crafted by our legislators but by the lobbyists. The local authors in Congress only tried to edit it in such a way that it will look like a measure that will be for women’s reproductive health and that it will not appear as a population control measure imposed on this country by developed countries through UN agencies.

Indeed, one of the features of the RH bill which has never been denied is the supposed promotion of the women’s reproductive health by using artificial contraceptives to prevent pregnancy or conception. Obviously there is already something wrong with this feature because it considers pregnancy as a disability or a disease that should be gotten rid of or prevented. Worse yet is that it tries to get rid of pregnancy as a disease through the use of artificial contraceptives that have known adverse effects on life, health, marriage and family.

Another feature in the bill which the authors have not fully disclosed or admitted is that it is a population control measure implementing the population control policy of developed countries particularly the US through the United Nations (UN) and its agencies specially the UN Fund for Population and Development. This is the same policy of the Obama administration promoting abortion to control population in developing countries. In fact no less than Secretary of State Clinton has openly admitted that “Reproductive Health includes abortion”.

Of course, the sponsors of the RH bill in both houses have repeatedly said that it does not allow or legalize abortion; that the RH bill is not about abortion. They claim that while the entire range of artificial methods and contraceptives are made available by the bill, women are still given the freedom to choose what methods to use for promoting their reproductive health.

Free choice is really an accepted and popular notion. But given the facts about some contraceptives that have already been medically proven to be abortifacients like the RU 486, the IUD’s and the “Morning After Pills”, the question we must ask is: should people be given the right to choose to kill innocent children in the womb if that’s what they want to do? As Randy Alcorn said in his book “Pro-Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments”, “When we oppose the right to choose…abortion, we aren’t opposing a right, we are opposing a wrong. And we are not narrow-minded or bigoted for doing so. We’re just decent people concerned for the rights of the innocent”.

Curiously, one of the new authors of the RH bill in the Senate is Miriam Defensor-Santiago who is aspiring to be a member of the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ). The coincidence is quite noticeable that she is now aggressively pushing for an early vote on the RH bill with the assistance of Malacañang, at the same time that she is campaigning for the ICJ post. Such coincidence inevitably leads to the conclusion that her successful campaign for the post depends to a large extent, on her successful sponsorship of the RH bill.

This conclusion is further bolstered when PNoy, who is supporting Santiago’s candidacy, made a pitch for the RH bill, which he calls more euphemistically as “Responsible Parenthood” (RP) bill, in his recent trip to the US. There, PNoy once more repeated the authors’ “freedom of choice” line” respecting the use of contraceptives that are abortifacients saying that parents should be given the freedom to choose the methods in spacing the births of their children. Again the question should be what choice is he talking about? Does it include contraceptives that cause abortion given the fact that the bill makes available all sorts of contraceptives including those causing abortion?

Quoting the scripture, PNoy says that he is pushing for the passage of the RP bill because on judgment day he will be asked “what he has done for the least of his brethren”. Apparently, PNoy would not want to commit a sin of omission. He or his advisers however must be reminded that a sin of omission is committed when one fails to do something good. The RH bill however which may result in abortion is not something good.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Young Congressmen versus the RH Bill

This declaration against the RH Bill by ten young congressmen (nine of whom have their signatures and pictures at the bottom of the page) has been published in today's Philippine Daily Inquirer (page D-4).

The nine are:

1) Dakilo Carlo E. Cua (Lone District of Quirino)
2) Rachel Marguerite B. Del Mar (Cebu, 1st District)
3) Fatima Aliah Q. Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte, 2nd District)
4) Lucy T. Gomez (Leyte, 4th District)
5) Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (Davao City, 1st District)
6) Gabriel R. Quisimbing (Cebu, 6th District)
7) Irwin C. Tieng (Buhay Party List)
8) Mariano Michael M. Velarde Jr. (Buhay Party List)
9) Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco (Lone District of Marinduque)

UPDATE: This manifesto is summarized and lauded in Atty. Joe Sison's column for September 30, 2011, The Filipino youth's plea.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The RH bill is a population control measure, no ifs, no buts

From Emil Jurado's latest column, "American imperialism and the RH bill"

The reproductive health bill, which the President also calls his responsible parenthood advocacy, is all about population control—no ifs and buts about it. 
I am disturbed, however, that when advocates mouth statistics coming from the United Nations about the number of women dying every day, they are in fact helping boost American imperialism. 
After all, what do contraceptives do? Prevent pregnancy. That’s the bottom line of the bill—population control! 
And I am even not talking from a Catholic point of view—even though I am a Catholic and I disagree with the state’s use of the taxes I pay to promote contraception. Rather, I am concerned about the Americans’ real objective in enticing the Philippine government with aids and benefits. 
I have already written about this, but I wish to emphasize that limiting the population of some 13 developing countries is part of US foreign policy. The countries are India, Brazil, Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Ethiopia and Columbia. 
Population growth in these countries threatens US security in four basic ways: (1) Certain large nations stand to gain significant political power and influence as a result of their growing populations; (2) The US and its western allies have a vital interests in strategic materials which have to imported from less-developed countries (3) societies with high birthrates have large numbers of young people, who are more likely that older people to challenge global power structures; and (4) population growth in relatively-disadvantaged countries jeopardized US investments. 
We would be crazy to allow this just because we receive some grants! 
We should not be tools for the advancement of American interests, I am surprised, though, that activists and militants cannot see right through this attempt, going in the guise of free choice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why journalists should not support the RH bill

From Sun Star Baguio:

By Sam Bautista

YOU can count in one hand the number of journalists (well locally anyway) who have expressed their opposition to the Reproductive Health bills filed in the House of Representatives (HB 4244) and the Senate of the Philippines (SB 2865). Literally.

Aside from columnists Fr. Andy Cosalan and Mike del Rosario, the only other Baguio-based journalist I know who is against the RH bills is me. Sure, you can probably count in Bro. Jimmy Bernabe (of DzWT) but there probably isn’t any other.

Have something to report? Tell us in text, photos or videos.

If you have a journalist friend, ask him or her this simple question: “Do you support the RH bill?” and you will probably get a positive response. But ask him (or her) if he (or she) has actually read the bills in Congress, the answer would probably be a “No”.

Which is really funny because how can you support something so important in our lives unless you fully understand its contents?

I was fortunate enough to have been invited to Saturday’s symposium on the RH Bills and why the Catholic Church is so staunchly against it. Thanks to the Sacred Heart Community for inviting me to this very important discussion. Thanks too to the Diocese of Baguio and Benguet for the opportunity which only solidified my objection to this piece of legislation which started out with a lie and continues to lie to the Filipino people.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to journalists.

If only my colleagues were there Saturday, especially those pro-RH, then they may change their tune if only on one account.

You see if there is one thing which journalists will vehemently and rabidly oppose is censorship. Censorship meaning government curtailing anyone’s right to self expression and especially the Freedom of Speech and of the Press.

And yet, majority of journalists would support the RH Bill without even knowing it is one of the vehicle by which these freedoms, which the 1987 Constitution assures, will be attacked. The RH bills if passed by Congress will definitely disallow these freedoms journalists hold dear and close to their hearts.

So, ask your journalist friend again if he (or she) knows this little known fact, and you might just get a blank stare. Yes, a blank stare from one we look up to because they are supposed to know more about these things than mere humans.

Yes, friends, it will curtail our right to speech and the press. Yes, it will muffle your voice once it passes Congress muster.

How so?

Well, under the prohibited acts section of HB 4244, Section 28, this paragraph is included:

“The following acts are prohibited… e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.”

The punishment for violating this paragraph are, under Section 29. Penalties, imprisonment from one month to six months, or a fine of P10,000 up to P50,000, or both upon the discretion and direction of the court.

Maliciously engages in disinformation about the RH law is merely legalese to mean no one may talk AGAINST the law. Which means me, if this thing passes. In fact, I expect to spend six months of every year in prison and lose all my earnings because I will not stop talking against this RH thingy especially if Congress passes it into law.

Maliciously engages in disinformation about the RH law is censorship, pure and simple.

So it really is a wonder why any member of the press could even support a bill which guarantees State censorship.

Anyway, challenge your journalist friend to first study the RH bills in the House and Senate just to see if they know what it truly affects him (or her).

Tomorrow: The RH bill is pro-woman? Don’t bet a breast cancer on it!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on September 21, 2011.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why the RH bill is actually bad for "free choice"

The following letter to the editor was published in PDI on September 19, 2011. It is not "totally anti-RH" but it decries state promotion of contraceptives, which lies at the heart of the RH bill.

There is only one way for one not to see the real score in the “highly controversial,” ever-burning, “difficult” issue of the Reproductive Health bill. And that is to close one’s eyes and insist on something that he deliberately wants to project in darkness or doesn’t want to accept in the light. 

The bill’s proponents are emphatic on sidetracking the discussions and debates by singling out only the good and valid points of the proposed law. While those opposing it “to the end” dwell only on its bad points. Thus, the RH bill has become eternally “complicated” and has dragged Juan de la Cruz to boredom or purgatory.

But heaven sees both sides from both perspectives.

Free choice, yes, but let government have nothing to do with the funding and efforts to promote artificial contraception, otherwise there would no free choice; there would only be pushing the country’s populace (including children) to the brink of a “free fall.”

It is one thing to be confronted by a temptation brought about by unexpected circumstances, and it’s always a struggle to be in such strait. But it’s quite different to be helplessly and unwittingly “set up” by someone to confront temptations every which way you turn to every day.

How unfathomable that condoms and the like would someday be everywhere in every community just as the Gideon Bibles are widely being distributed at no cost. And it’s ominous that the “campaign-push” for the politically and internationally well-funded artificial contraceptives would be encroaching and would be incomparably much more aggressive and unstinting, for sure.

The battle must be drawn, but not between the pro and anti-RH bill.


A call that must be echoed throughout the Philippines

From Journal Online:

Published : Monday, September 19, 2011 00:00 
Written by : Bernadette E. Tamayo

SENATOR Vicente Sotto III yesterday dared non-governmental organizations engaged in reproductive health services to allow themselves to be subjected to scrutiny to dispel suspicion that they are being used as “channels for abortions.”

He issued the challenge after proponents of the RH bill scored him for suggesting that they are pushing for legalized abortion. “Are non-government organizations being used as conduits to facilitate abortions in the country?,” Sotto asked.

He noted that one of these groups, the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP) has admitted being a “proud” member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which supports and pushes abortion.

Likewise, Sotto said that FPOP has admitted that IPPF performs abortions in countries where the termination of life in a woman’s womb is legal. Last year the FPOP got P26 million from IPPF to push its agenda.

Another group, Likhaan, has taken Sotto to task for what it called “a witch hunt” for those advocating the RH bill. Like FPOP, Likhaan has not made any categorical statement denying they are pushing for a legalized abortion in the country.

Sotto pointed out that NGOs like FPOP and Likhaan have been receiving foreign funding to push for a national policy on artificial birth control methods, including abortion, as a means of controlling the population.

“Impliedly, a portion of these foreign grants was used to carry out ‘emergency contraception’ and abortion-related services, part of the conditions for the grants,” he said.

Sotto wants to know how many emergency contraceptions –- which he claimed is a euphemism for abortion — have been implemented by these NGOs and whether these are legal in the first place.

He said that abortion, whether safe or unsafe, remains illegal in the Philippines, punishable by six years imprisonment. The Revised Penal Code imposes imprisonment for the woman who underwent the abortion, as well those who helped facilitate the abortion. Article 2, Section 12 of the Constitution mandates the State “to protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

Sotto said reports on how the funds were spent or disbursed form part of the requirement of the funding agency, and usually before more tranches of grants are given.

He dared the NGOs, which are supposed to be “epitomes” of transparency and accountability, to make their reports public.”

Dear senators: do not be the instruments of the return of American imperialism

From Bobit Avila's Philippine Star column for September 15, 2011:

A couple of weeks ago the controversial WikiLeaks issue finally entered the Philippine area of responsibility... where cables from the US government to and from the Philippines were exposed in what I would call “Wiki-Tsismis”. Despite Sen. Pia Cayetano’s insistence that the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill will not lead to abortion, Wiki-Tsismis apparently confirms the role of the US government in promoting population control initiatives in the Philippines, through USAID. Perhaps Sen. Cayetano is pretending not to know that almost all contraceptive drugs are abortifacient. 
One of these cables apparently revealed that then US Ambassador Kristie Kenney said, “The US Government continues to be the largest donor in the Philippine population sector supporting efforts to improve local government service delivery and increase private sector contributions to family health outcomes.” This cable was sent from Manila to Washington D.C. in July 2008 during the intense debate in the Philippine legislature about state funding for contraceptives and family planning services.

When US State Department Secretary Hilary Clinton came for a visit, she made it clear that the Philippines should pass an RH bill. Now wasn’t that “pressuring” the Philippine Legislature, especially the Senate to follow the “orders” of the United States? Sec. Clinton probably thought that the Philippines is still a colony of the United States... or perhaps she maybe right... that we are still a colony of the United States. So we ask our Senators, notably Sen. Pia Cayetano and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago... will they be the instruments for the return of American imperialism to the Philippines? The ball is now in the court of the Senate and our pro-RH Senators!

Sen. Pia Cayetano: "Pregnancy is a burden".

Thank you for your candor, Senator Cayetano. Thank you for unmasking the real thinking of the supporters of the RH Bill.

From CBCP for Life:

MANILA, September 14, 2011–If contraceptives are only meant for birth control, then why are they tagged as “essential medicines” under the RH bill?

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile asked this and other questions as the Senate resumed the period of interpellation for the controversial “reproductive health” (RH) bill Tuesday.

Enrile cited Section 9 of Senate Bill No. 2865 titled “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Population and Development,” which orders the inclusion of hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables, and “other safe, legal and effective family planning products and supplies” in the National Drug Formulary.

“These products and supplies shall also be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals, provincial, city, and municipal health offices, including rural health units,” the Senate version of the RH bill states.

The section is titled “Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines.”

Interpellating one of the RH bill sponsors, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Enrile noted that condoms do not cure anything while pills, injectables, and intrauterine devices work to prevent fertilization.

Enrile reiterated his belief that the RH bill is a population control measure disguised as a health measure, since “You cannot reduce the size of the family without reducing the population of the country.”

“There is no coercion but the result is population control,” he said.

Aiding Cayetano, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, also an RH sponsor, said birth control, the supposed aim of the bill, was different from population control. The former allows women to control the number of children while in the latter, the State uses its power to reduce the population, particularly those of the unfit.

Enrile, however, pointed out that the RH bill is particularly aimed at the poor.

“This is a law where the state itself intervenes in the size o the family. It is cleverly devised and disguised as a health measure. It is not health, it’s reproductive health, a very specific kind of health,” he said.

He asked: “Why zero in on reproductive health? How many people have died of dengue, malaria, cancer of the breast, cancer of the cervix, cancer of the uterus, hypertension, stroke, tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid, dysentery?”

Explaining why the poor was being targeted by the RH bill, Cayetano claimed they are being discriminated against when it comes to access to contraceptives.

Families should be allowed to space births, she said, as “pregnancy is a burden,” a “physical, emotional, financial burden.” (Dominic Francisco)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dubious abortion statistics, courtesy of RH bill supporters

From Filipinos for Life:

AFTER BEING caught using old data on maternal deaths, pro-RH lobbyists have again been found playing loose with statistics, this time with the number of abortions.

The group Filipinos For Life (F4L), in a statement, welcomed Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s recent admission that the figure 570,000 abortions mentioned in her sponsorship speech for the Reproductive Health (RH) bill was merely an “extrapolation.”

“Fresh from their debacle on the debunked ‘11 maternal deaths a day’ statistic, pro-RH groups should now come clean on how they came up with their dubious abortion figures,” F4L said.

F4L bared that the methodology used by the pro-RH lobby involves a “magic multiplier,” the basis of which is “doubtful, at best” – small, non-random surveys and anecdotal evidence or “personal knowledge.”

“This is hardly empirical,” F4L said.

The methodology, developed by New York-based Guttmacher Institute and the UP Population Institute, simply multiplies the number of women hospitalized for complications due to abortion by 6 or 7, based on multiple assumptions that cannot be validated.

Santiago’s figure comes from the 2009 Guttmacher-UP study “Meeting Women’s Contraceptive Needs in the Philippines” that estimated 3.371 million pregnancies in 2008. Out of this, 17% (573,000) supposedly ended up in “induced abortions.”

There were 90,000 hospital admissions due to induced abortions in 2008, the study claimed, which meant that the multiplier used was between 6 and 7 to produce an inflated figure of 573,000 induced abortions.

‎The study’s authors themselves stated that “available information does not permit estimation of regional-level multipliers.” F4L asked: “Why was the non-empirically derived multiplier used to create a national guesstimate?”

F4L pointed out that Guttmacher-UP’s methodology did not change since an earlier study that used data for the year 2000, and no efforts were exerted to get more reliable counts.

In the older study “The Incidence of Induced Abortion in the Philippines: Current Level and Recent Trends,” published in 2005, Guttmacher-UP claimed 78,901 women were hospitalized due to abortion complications in the country in the year 2000. It inflated the figure to arrive at 473,408 induced abortions in 2000, using a multiplier of 6.

Even the hospital numbers are highly questionable, F4L said. For more than a thousand hospitals, the study simply assumed that the number of abortion-related hospitalizations would be one-half of the number of the top 10th cause of hospital admission, whatever it was.

For hospitals with incomplete records, the number of patients was simply adjusted to follow the proportions based on the number of months reported. “Mathematical equations, meanwhile, produced around 6,000 abortions in hospitals with no records at all,” F4L noted.

F4L said fudging data was the same tactic used by lobbyists to legalize abortion in the United States, pointing to the testimony of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) who later turned his back on the pro-choice movement and produced the anti-abortion documentary “The Silent Scream.”

“At NARAL, one of our favorite tactics was to distort and magnify statistics. We would say, for instance, that there were one million illegal abortions and that 10,000 women died in the United States [because of these illegal abortions], when actual studies would show something like 200,000 illegal abortions and only 200-300 died,” Nathanson said in a 2002 story published in a local magazine.

Abortion is not the solution

From the website of Filipinos for Life:

by Ruby Ann Kagaoan 

At the Senate, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago assures that the Reproductive Health Bill does not promote abortion but in fact aims to reduce it. “Under the Penal Code, abortion is a crime, and it will remain a crime under the RH bill. In fact, one important reason to pass the RH bill is that it will reduce abortions,” Santiago said in her recent sponsorship speech.

Although considered a crime in our country, statistics pointed out by Santiago reveal that “one in three unplanned pregnancies in our country ends in abortion” and “nine out of 10 women who resort to induced abortions are married women, 87 percent of whom are Catholics.”

(Regarding Sen. Defensor-Santiago's abortion "statistics" please see this link. -- CAP)

Although against the country’s laws and one’s faith, why do women resort to abortion? For the pregnant woman in crisis, or the couple, abortion seems to be the only way out.

When we talk about which is the greater crime or sin, abortion or having an unwanted child that you cannot provide for, we delve into morality. But let me start this discussion on the level of health, both physical and emotional, and what are sound options to consider where life can be preserved for both the mother and the unwanted child.

Abortion is a painful process for the woman, physically and emotionally. The unwanted child may have been removed, but not the pain. I have yet to see a woman who has had an abortion not suffer in torment after killing her unborn child, although many years, and even decades, have passed since her having an abortion. Additionally, and this may be viewed by some as merely anecdotal, I have noticed that women who have had D&C after a miscarriage or have had an abortion end up with less ability to complete a pregnancy later in life, no matter how much they already want to have a child, and this, in my analysis, may have something to do with how their uterine walls have been affected by the scraping and other procedures done during a D&C or an abortion. (Let a medical doctor verify this observation.)

There are ways to feed and raise a child, unwanted he or she may be. Consider giving the baby up for adoption. There are institutions that can help save an unwanted baby by helping the mother find suitable adoptive parents for her unwanted baby. In doing this, the woman is spared from the physical and emotional trauma abortion can cause her, and the baby is given a chance to live.

At Grace To Be Born, one of the seven ministries of the Kerygma Family that help pregnant women in crisis, several babies have been saved from abortion. Call 725-9999 for counseling and help or visit its website at

Life comes from somewhere greater than what our human bodies can produce. You and I are alive not merely because our cells regenerate, not merely because our lungs process our inhalation and exhalation, but because there is a force beyond us that put life into our bodies. That same force moves the stars and planets, galaxies, and the spaces in between. That force is greater than us humans. It is a force that creates, a force that sustains, a force that can provide love where there is no love. It is a force that can feed a child and his/her mother, for as long as the mother doesn’t lose hope. To kill through abortion is not the solution. To tell someone that it is the solution reveals the state of the heart of the one prescribing abortion.

What we need to tell our people who are considering abortion is what life means. When new life is created, whether willingly or unwillingly, let us tell them what options there are wherein this new life is sustained.

This article is first published in the tabloid, People’s Tonight, and online in Journal Online.

About the Author: Ruby Ann Kagaoan is a published author, book editor, composer-singer-pianist, poet, essayist, nationally awarded playwright, journalist, educator, and English trainer. Her column, Pinay@Heart, is published regularly at Journal Online. She blogs at pinay@heart.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On the refusal of RH bill supporters to admit that their pet bill supports abortion

From Journal Online:

Bishop Teodoro Bacani

The arguments for or against the RH bills both in the Lower House and in the Senate continue unabated. I notice, though, that the pro-RH people in general do not get or refuse to get one of the major objections against the bill. It is this: The so-called contraceptives to be purchased and distributed by the government to the poor are not only contraceptives. They are, in fact, abortifacients.

We who oppose the RH bill do not equate contraception with abortion. We know the distinction very well. When ovulation is prevented or when fertilization is prevented, you have contraception. But when the pill, device or procedure do not only prevent ovulation or fertilization but prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum or to dislodge from the uterus the already fertilized ovum, you are already talking of abortion. Now, many of these so-called contraceptive devices (pills, IUDs, injectables, and implants) are precisely designed to prevent the fertilized ovum from implanting itself on the uterine wall. The IUD would dislodge the fertilized ovum already implanted on the uterine wall (endometrium).

This third abortifacient function of these contraceptives was not yet known when Humanae Vitae was issued in July 1968. This encyclical-letter very strongly rejected abortion. It also rejected explicitly direct contraception. It was this rejection of all direct contraception which became very controversial then and up to the present. But even those who would disagree with the Pope in his rejection of all direct contraception have no grounds for accepting direct abortion. After the encyclical, the abortifacient effect of many pills came to be known: They do not only prevent conception; they also prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum. Attacks on papal authority or on the binding force on Catholics of the papal teaching against contraception, therefore, are no argument in favor of the RH bill. The most objectionable part of this bill is not its promotion of contraceptive devices but its proposed dissemination by the government of contraceptive devices which are abortifacient.

To a person, all the proponents of the RH bill claim they are against abortion, and that the bill does not promote abortion. Why then do they propose in the bill the dissemination by the government of devices which are abortifacient?

Some would say that there are opinions from authoritative bodies that the contraceptive devices are not abortifacients since those bodies say that conception begins at implantation.

The answer to that is: The majority today still hold that conception happens at fertilization and not at implantation (which takes place about a week after fertilization). But even if we admit, for the sake of argument, that there is a division of opinion, there is no sound ethics that will admit the direct killing of what is at least probably a human being. When there is any serious doubt at all about the existence of a human life, it is ethically wrong to kill that life. For example, you do not shoot at what seems to be an animal hiding in the bushes if there is at least a probability that it may be a human being and not an animal. Likewise, an embalmer should not embalm a body which may still probably be alive.

This is what the proponents of the RH bill seem to ignore or are ignorant of.

Once they look at this argument in the eye, they will be left only with proposing the dissemination of condoms or spermicides or those pills which will be certified as not capable of preventing the implantation of the fertilized ovum. I do not think they will relish that prospect.

But in all this matter, we should all seek divine guidance. We should pray for our enlightenment and the enlightenment of those who propose or support the bill.

More than for enlightenment, we should also pray for the courage to do what is right and not vote for a bill simply because the party bosses say so.

Respect for life must never be sacrificed for anything else

From Bobit Avila's September 10, 2011 column for the Philippine Star:

“Dear Bobit, Thank you for your column in the Philippine STAR Sep. 3, 2011. I particularly take into focus the subject matter of Sen. Miriam Santiago. It is very clear she covets this position as an international judge in The Hague. It is also obvious she wants to cap her career in this institution. One wonders what principles one has to sacrifice to obtain a prize for one’s self. Is she sacrificing respect for life as enshrined in our Constitution by supporting the RH bill because this position is being dangled to her? 
The new revelations in the Senate on the RH debate show the extent of foreign lobbying for the passage of this RH bill. Lobby groups who were once hidden from the public eye are now exposed with their policies promoting abortion to the world as rights. I shudder to think the good Senator doesn’t have an inkling on this scenario. She is too intelligent to miss this point. Or is she closing her eyes because she desires the position so much? May God help our country. Douglas Gacasan.” 
At this point, there is some good news that Sen. Santiago has publicly admitted that the RH Bill still needs to be cleaned up of all references to population control. During last Monday’s interpellation she even said “The United States dictated policy on population control was ‘anathema’ to herself and the other RH bill sponsor Sen. Pia Cayetano.” Perhaps our prayers and rosaries for those supporting the RH bill have given them a new enlightenment that the RH bill is unnecessary, anti-life and anti-God!

The imperialist undertones of the RH bill

Changing World

MANILA, Philippines — I am very familiar with the leftist movement in this country because some of its leading lights such as Jose Maria Sison hatched the Kabataan Makabayan (KM) in the late 1960s and early 1970s in one of the rooms of the house of my parents in Singalong. My brother Edberto M. Villegas was one of the founders of KM and was especially active in the underground movement against the Marcos dictatorship.

In fact, Eddie was imprisoned and tortured in Camp Crame for about two years. I used to visit him and admired him for his patriotism while remaining critical of his Marxist beliefs. He has been a long-time professor of political economy and social studies in the UP system of schools (his last assignment was as Chair of the Social Studies Department of the UP Manila campus). Ever a scholar and academic, he still teaches at the UP even after having retired a few years ago.

Although his radical views about the market economy might have mellowed a bit, moving towards the German model of the social market economy, he is still very much a fierce fighter of imperialist forces that threaten Philippine sovereignty.

He still participates in rallies in front of the US embassy when he perceives attempts of the American government to perpetuate their colonial practices in the Philippines. I find his consistent and principled stand in great contrast with the so-called leftists in the House of Representatives who have swallowed hook, line, and sinker the anti-natalist propaganda of some American officials and private organizations.

They are either ignorant of the secret document called NSA 200 written by Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, to President Gerald Ford in 1974, or they choose to ignore it. The document leaves no doubt about the imperialist intent of US-inspired campaigns to introduce population control programs in developing countries like the Philippines (this formerly secret document actually names the Philippines as one of the target nations for population control propaganda).

The gist of the document is that rapid growth of population in what are known today as emerging markets would threaten US long-term security because America would no longer have unlimited access to the natural resources of these nations if their populations explode.

The modern version of this fear of population explosion has spread to European countries that are suffering from the scourge of the demographic winter. Because their fertility rates have dropped to below replacement levels, many European countries are afraid of being "Islamized" or dominated by other cultures through the massive inflow of immigrant workers whom they need to man their respective economies. They are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea: they need the foreign workers but they are afraid of cultural annihilation.

I am glad Senator Vicente Sotto has questioned some of his colleagues in the Senate about the very active presence and proselytism inside and outside of the Philippine Congress of the disciples of Margaret Sanger, the birth control and eugenics campaigner par excellence in US history.

I cannot think of a better example of cultural imperialism when I see foreigners, not only Americans but also some Europeans, actively funding the pro-RH Bill lobbyists. The most sacred part of the culture of a nation has to do with attitudes and practices concerning the family, marriage and the conjugal act. The leftists in the House of Representatives, who used to rail about US imperialism in the past, are now among those who are the most active in allowing aliens to brainwash the Filipino youth so that they radically change centuries-old traditions concerning the family, especially those related to the immense value given to children.

While I criticize some of today's leftists for being blind to the imperialist undertones of the RH Bill, I congratulate them for having abandoned the theologies of revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. The image of Vilma Santos playing the role of a nun inflicted with the Theology of Liberation error in the film "Sister Stella L" returns vividly to my mind every time I read about her success as a local government official in my home province, Batangas.

Thanks to the efforts of the late Blessed John Paul the Great and his able assistant at that time, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), the Church was able to exorcise the evil spirit of liberation theology. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Part II of Jesus of Nazareth, "Since that time (the 1960s), there has been a noticeable reduction in the wave of theologies of revolution that attempt to justify violence as a means of building a better world — the 'kingdom' — by interpreting Jesus as a 'Zealot.' The cruel consequences of religiously motivated violence are only too evident to us all. Violence does not build up the kingdom of God, the kingdom of humanity. On the contrary, it is a favorite instrument of the Antichrist, however idealistic its religious motivation may be. It serves, not humanity, but inhumanity" (Page 15).

For comments, my e-mail address is

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who is crass and uncivil?

The supporters of the RH Bill often accuse pro-lifers of engaging in "character assassination" and name-calling. Actually, pro-lifers are merely asking serious questions and calling things by their proper name, but this is too much for the partisans of the RH bill.

On the other hand, supporters of the RH bill come up with trash like this:

A deceptive bill

Today's editorial cartoon on the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Monday, September 12, 2011

What would Cardinal Sin have said about the RH bill?

The following speech by Archbishop Socrates Villegas has been published on the blog of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan:

Reflection by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas during the renaming ceremony of E. Rodriguez St.(Mandaluyong City) to Jaime L. Cardinal Street, 31 August 2011

Do you still care to remember Jaime Cardinal Sin? He passed away only six years ago. How time flies! How fast we forget! He would have been eighty three years old today. I wonder if people still remember. As for me, how can I forget? I will always remember and I still miss him.

Cardinal Sin had something to say about almost everything happening to the Church and Philippine society. He did not have to go to Luneta to be heard. Even if he whispered to the wall, society somehow caught his opinion, media was swift to publish and gossipers were quick to exaggerate.

I lived with him as his secretary for eighteen years. I lived with him longer than I lived with my own parents. He taught me. He guided me. He allowed me to care for him. I knew he cared for me as much as he cared for the millions who belonged to his flock. He knew the meaning of living a dangerous life. He knew the meaning of being ready to die to protect his beloved.

What would Cardinal Sin tell us about what is going on the country now? What would Cardinal Sin do about the situation of the Church and government now? Only Cardinal Sin can answer for Cardinal Sin and only Cardinal Sin can answer like Cardinal Sin.

As I remember him and as I knew him, I offer these conjectures of a nostalgic former secretary.

I close my eyes and imagine him in the car on our way to an engagement. I imagine him say: The real battle about the reproductive health bill is not with the legislature where the debates are ongoing and where the voting will be done. The real person to wrestle with is not the President who has sadly called the bill a priority bill. The real battle is in the minds and hearts of our youth. The youth are being misled by wrong teachings. The youth are like parched dry sponge. In their thirst, they absorb all and retain them regardless of the purity of source. I pity our youth. The Church cannot impose its right and authority in this highly pluralistic society. It must be willing to join the arena of public opinion, use new methods and approaches and even jejemon vocabulary to make the message of God convincing. It is not the duty of churchmen to lobby in government offices. Our duty is to teach Christ and only Christ. Our duty is to form people’s minds and prick consciences and let those formed consciences speak up in the plaza of public opinion. This is lay empowerment. This is youth empowerment. This is the church of the people not the church of bishops.

There is a problem deeper than the anti life and anti family bills in the legislature. The blasphemous art exhibits point to a deeper and more alarming issue. The irreverent calumny thrown at religious leaders are symptoms of deeper problems. It is due to the wrong understanding of freedom and the misplaced primacy that is laid on conscience.

After EDSA 1986, we all discovered a fresh breeze of freedom in the air. Lost liberties were restored and the freedom to express was held in high esteem. Freedom is indeed a noble human right and a sublime aspiration but it not unlimited. Freedom since EDSA 1986 has been abused, terribly abused. Freedom is not absolute. The limit of freedom is love. The exercise of freedom must make us more loving. If the use of freedom violates the freedom of another, it is licentiousness; it fails to love. That freedom is lewd and obscene.

There is no absolute freedom. Freedom has limits. Its limit is truth. When freedom violates or assails truth, it can no longer be called freedom. It is debauchery and brute arrogance.

Freedom must respect the law. Freedom without respect for law is anarchy. Laws do not restrict freedom. Laws help us to live in order. When life is orderly, freedom is also safeguarded.

Our countrymen who declare themselves Catholics because they attend Catholic liturgies but disregard the commandments of God and the precepts of the Church are gravely in error. To be a Catholic, it is not enough to pray the Catholic prayers. To say you are a Catholic, you must also live as a Catholic. It is not enough to act according to conscience. Before listening to that conscience, we must first insure that the conscience is sensitive to the laws of God. Conscience is not the ultimate tribunal. The Truth that God has taught us is the highest tribunal. That Truth is in the bible. That Truth is handed to us in the teachings of the Church.

How I miss Cardinal Sin! He taught me to cherish freedom but he also warned me not to raise it to a value more than it deserves. Freedom is one of the great gifts of God to men but the greatest gift is love. Use your freedom to be more loving because “the greatest is love”. Aim for the greatest. Freedom must recognize unchanging truths. Freedom must not enchain truth. Truth is the mother of freedom and it is the height of ingratitude to enslave your mother, isn’t it?

He taught me: Follow your conscience when it speaks but make sure the ears of that conscience are ever attuned to God. When a deaf conscience speaks, ignore that voice. That is the voice of error. Knowing what is right and what is wrong is not inborn. Conscience must be formed and molded unto Christ. The duty of conscience is to listen to its God so that it may be credible when it speaks.

The legacy of Cardinal Sin is freedom. Let us understand freedom in depth. The love of Cardinal Sin was the youth and children. He taught them well. I will honor him by loving those he loved and living as he lived and believing in what he stood for.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Population implosion, not explosion, is the real problem

From the blog "Drawing Lines":

by "Petrufied"

I borrowed R's January 2011 issue of the National Geographic because the cover page is attention grabbing, not for its photo (which is the common assumption) but for the cover blurb. "Population 7 Billion: How your world will change." At first glance, the magazine screams, "Doomsday alert! Control the population or die." When you read what's inside, however, it's another story.

The article, penned by Robert Kunzig, points out that while the number is alarming, the fertility decline poses greater effects than the population itself:

The end of a baby boom can have two big economic effects on a country. The first is the “demographic dividend”—a blissful few decades when the boomers swell the labor force and the number of young and old dependents is relatively small, and there is thus a lot of money for other things. Then the second effect kicks in: The boomers start to retire. What had been considered the enduring demographic order is revealed to be a party that has to end. The sharpening American debate over Social Security and last year’s strikes in France over increasing the retirement age are responses to a problem that exists throughout the developed world: how to support an aging population. “In 2050 will there be enough people working to pay for pensions?” asks Frans Willekens, director of the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute in The Hague. “The answer is no.” (p.48)

It's a population implosion, not explosion, and it's happening in most developed countries in the world. Imagine, China's fertility rate went from 6 kids per woman in 1965 to a low of 1.5 per woman today. True, the Chinese people still make up a fifth of the world population, but has anyone paused to consider that their land is equally large too?

But let's forget the numbers--I bet this has been discussed over and over already. Truth is, it isn't the issue on implosion vs explosion that bothers me. It's the attitude most people have over the idea of accommodating more people in the planet that I find disturbing.

Kunzig writes that in India, people have been, for 60 years now, battling with overpopulation. Their weapon? Sterilizations. Can you tell me what's wrong with this picture?

The Indian government tried once before to push vasectomies, in the 1970s, when anxiety about the population bomb was at its height. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay used state-of-emergency powers to force a dramatic increase in sterilizations. From 1976 to 1977 the number of operations tripled, to more than eight million. Over six million of those were vasectomies. Family planning workers were pressured to meet quotas; in a few states, sterilization became a condition for receiving new housing or other government benefits. In some cases the police simply rounded up poor people and hauled them to sterilization camps. (p.60)

In their fear of a number, I think many people forget that the number is made up of people like themselves. You don't round up and haul your fellow men or give them incentives to let you mutilate them (and pretend it's for their health when it's really just for your fear of a number). People deserve to be educated to be independent and productive citizens. I think much of the government money would be put in better use if it is invested in the field of training workers, educating kids and producing better livelihood than it would ever be in vasectomy/tubal ligation factories. Let's not forget the dignity of the individual person--just think: what if it was you?

Almas Ali of the Population Foundation says it better: “The goal should be to make the villages livable.... Whenever we talk of population in India, even today, what comes to our mind is the increasing numbers. And the numbers are looked at with fright. This phobia has penetrated the mind-set so much that all the focus is on reducing the number. The focus on people has been pushed to the background.” (p.61)

I bring up this point because the same fear seems to be creeping into our own shores. You read it in the papers, you see it on TV, you hear it over the radio. Have you heard that radio spiel from the Popcom in which a kid complains, "Ano? Mag-aaral ako pagkatapos pa ni Ate, ni Kuya at ni Junior? 'Nay naman!"

First of all, I agree that we should raise families with prudence; however, when, despite all efforts (even with artificial contraception, conception can happen), a baby is given, is it even logical NOT to try to earn more money to send all the kids to school? It's a misplaced kind of prudence at best; it's just a lazy attitude that is not heroic at all--giving only the minimum you have to give, and taking the easiest solution to a problem, never minding if it isn't the right solution...


Federico Pascual: why blame the innocent for maternal deaths?

From Federico Pascual's column in the Philippine Star for September 11, 2011:

BIRTH CONTROL: My interest in the Reproductive Health debate has been waning, but I was pumped with adrenalin when no less than Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, with Sen. Vicente Sotto not far behind, stood to oppose passage of birth control measures.

Sponsors of RH bills lose points as they lose their cool when replying to searching questions on the abortive effects of birth control pills that the RH bill wants to propagate to unwitting users at great cost to taxpayers.

Maternal deaths and poverty cannot justify killing a helpless fertilized ovum (already a human being as recognized by the Constitution no less) desperately trying to cling for life in the womb’s lining made inhospitable by abortifacient pills.

If a mother could die in childbirth — a possibility even in normal cases — why blame in advance an innocent fetus and execute it?

Why blame the unborn (that did not ask to be produced in the first place) if his family is poor because of government failure to provide opportunities for jobs, education, health care and the decent amenities of normal life?

* * *

MALDISTRIBUTION: Some people drive by a squatter area and see grimy kids in the streets. They conclude that there are just too many of us and that still unborn Filipinos should not be allowed to come into the world.

The problem is actually mainly of population distribution. The population density shows that there is still ample room and resources for more people.

The problem is traceable to the government’s failure to create and spread opportunities and services so people do not flock to urban centers on the mistaken notion that only the cities can provide for life’s necessities.

Taking the line of least resistance, or because it does not know any better, the Aquino administration goes along with the multibillion-peso lobby and pushes the RH bills — in an immoral and criminal bid to kill unborn Filipinos fidgeting in their mothers’ wombs.

* * *

FALSE CLAIMS: Proponents of the RH bill claim that our population growth rate will increase exponentially without a birth control law.

This is simply not true. Data of the government itself show that the projected average annual population growth rate actually has been declining even without an RH law.

Based on the trend as analyzed in 2007 by the National Statistics Office, the growth rate was and is projected to be 1.81 percent from 2010 to 2015, 1.64 percent from 2015 to 2020, and 1.46 percent for 2020 to 2025.

The same NSO study debunks the other claim that the average Filipino household size is 10 or more and will increase without an RH law.

Data show that the average household size has been declining even without an RH law. The household size in 2007 was 4.8 persons, lower than the average household size of 5.0 persons in 2000. The National Capital Region had the lowest average household size of 4.4 persons.

Depopulating the Philippines

From CBCP for Life

MANILA, September 11, 2011–Developing nations around the globe have been working to fight off cultural imperialism which parts of the Western world have been pushing through imposed population control — and the Philippines is not spared from this anti-life agenda, said American culture of life advocates.

“There are similarities between the situation in the Philippines and what we see in other nations worldwide — many, many millions of dollars are sent from the US and Europe to promote the RH agenda in an attempt to stop people in the developing world from having children,” said Stephen Phelan, Human Life International (HLI) Communications Director.

“The RH promoters do whatever they have to do to get these things passed — they spend their money in promotion, in getting journalists on their side, opening clinics to circumvent pro-life laws, wooing politicians who value their own power more than they do the families and culture of the nation they represent. If they can’t get what they want — which is free-of-charge and full access to contraception and abortion — passed democratically, they will use the courts or other non-democratic means to get what they want.”

The “reproductive health” (RH) issue has been the subject of numerous news reports, surveys and television debates since the start of the year, and mass actions demonstrating opposition to the RH bills have been carried out in different parts of the Philippines. And House Bill 4244 and Senate Bill 2865, both in the period of interpellation, have been taken up in both chambers of Congress consistently since President Benigno Aquino III issued a directive in August to prioritize the pending measures despite the public outcry against these from faith-based groups, civic and family organizations, and medical and child development experts.

“Ordinary people don’t want their governments passing anti-life, anti-family legislation. That’s why these measures can only be passed when government officials force their will on the people. That’s what happened in the United States in 2010 with “Obamacare” — which expanded taxpayer-funded abortions, despite massive public opposition — and it’s the same tactic President Aquino is trying now in the Philippines,” observed John Jansen, Director of Generations for Life, the youth arm of the Pro-Life Action League.

“[RH promoters] have unlimited money, and they are very patient, and they try to convince people that if they want the “respect” — really the funding — of the wealthy nations, they will do what they’re told and put structures in place to stop having children. They will exploit corruption in government especially,” Phelan pointed out.

“They know that history shows that you can sneak or force these policies through, then eventually people will come around to the idea that happiness is not in children and families, but in having more wealth and things,” the HLI official added.

Pro-lifers putting up a strong fight
He observed that the Philippine president, however, seemed “very frustrated” and embarrassed in front of international colleagues because “he hasn’t been able to force this bill through. He and his allies are promising hundreds of millions in ‘aid’ and all kinds of worldly accolades if he can just get Filipinos to do what they’re told. He has even adopted the tactic of tying legitimate reforms and development policies to the radical RH policies. It turns out that Filipinos who love life and family are more sophisticated and more united than the pro-RH crowd thought, and they are putting up a strong fight.”

This strong fight as well as the entire backdrop of the fight against “reproductive health” in the country is the subject of “The Philippines: Preserving a Culture of Life,” an HLI-produced documentary which debuted to Philippine and American audiences in August and which features interviews with prominent pro-life crusaders including Dr. Ligaya Acosta, herself a former RH believer as a Department of Health (DOH) employee for almost 30 years.

Despite the “millions of dollars” being poured into forcing RH into the local culture, significant revelations have been made at the Senate and House debates on the legislative measures, such as RH backers’ use of outdated and bloated numbers on maternal mortality and abortion rates, the admission by a pro-RH congresswoman that the RH bill is a population control measure, and the abortion advocacy of at least three pro-RH groups.

But the Philippines is not the only nation fighting imposed demographic targets and working to uphold the culture of life, Jansen stated, and people with faith especially have the necessary means to beat those forcing anti-life, anti-family values on others.

“Without a doubt, the same scenario is playing out in developing countries all over the world,” the Generations for Life official said.

“The morally decadent countries of the Western world have been pushing population control for decades, and the pro-abortion forces have seemingly no reservations about manipulating data — or even resorting to outright lies — if it serves their agenda. Opposition to the pro-life movement is extremely well-funded, and so the only way that people of faith can hope to prevail is by relying on God’s help by being devoted to prayer and penance.” (CBCP for Life)

Friday, September 9, 2011

DLSU academic and Metrobank official versus the RH bill: "No to condom economics"

From the website of Business World:

Ildemarc Bautista

The noted economist John Maynard Keynes once said that “practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.” One such economist who looms large in today’s policy debates is Thomas Malthus, who advocated limiting population growth by all means necessary to ensure the welfare of the rest of society.

Neo-Malthusians have taken up this policy as well, with the RH bill a prime example of the influence of the man. The problem is that both his views and the framework of the RH bill are, in the end, discriminatory, myopic, scientifically unsound, anachronistic, and patently ill-constructed.

His view is discriminatory because Malthusianism is ultimately biased against the poor; myopic because his vision of society puts Man at the service of wealth and not wealth at the service of Man; scientifically unsound as he fails to recognize that advances in technology can and do readily provide for the needs of an expanding population; anachronistic and ill-constructed because it fails to consider the wealth effect that stabilizes fertility rates.

Thus, the correct framework to use goes the other way -- increase wealth creation and distribution, and fertility rates will be reduced as time and energy get devoted to productive capacity rather than reproductive capacity. This phenomenon is well-documented. It is poverty that drives fertility rates up, and the solution is to address the poverty problem rather than the high fertility rate issue. As countries get rich, fertility rates go down even without government’s having to spend on population programs. Iran is a good example.

Yet here we are, with an RH bill that will require the government to buy and distribute condoms and modern contraceptives, packaging them as a social requirement. This bill thus spouts discredited Malthusian economics favoring the condom lobby, which is pushing for regulatory capture in a classic rent-seeking move to guarantee a revenue stream from contraceptive products. And what better way is there than to have a law that requires not only the government purchase of condoms and contraceptives but also the education of the markets on their use to stimulate higher product consumption, all using taxpayers’ money? In the same way that the tobacco industry did, product marketing will target juveniles via “age-appropriate lessons” to teach our children, their future markets, how to use contraceptive products by law and at our expense. Do we not we see a problem here?

Condoms and non-abortive products are not illegal in the Philippines, and we Catholics respect the rights of those who want to use or produce them. However, it’s another matter to say that we Catholics should subsidize by law what is essentially immoral and wasteful. No, sir, let the producers compete in the market rather than handing them a captive local market on a silver platter, which is what the RH bill will do.

Some will say that there has been market failure especially by the poor to reduce family size, so condoms should be distributed as a government intervention. Well, to a man with a hammer, all problems look like a nail. To people who think that high fertility rates are the problem rather than a symptom, it’s easy to see why condoms are the solution. I agree that there has been market failure, but it’s failure to create more wealth and distribute it better and not a failure by the poor to reduce family size, the latter not being a market issue.

Ergo, rather than an RH bill, the required government intervention is to make laws that expand and tap productive capacity rather than limit reproductive capacity. With rising levels of wealth, fertility rates decline and health levels improve. More jobs, better education, and a real universal health care system, not condom distribution, are what are required to address poverty alleviation.

The condom lobby should not be allowed to extract economic privileges by the hardwiring of condom purchases in our laws, a form of regulatory capture and rent-seeking that distorts the market and diverts government resources to sterile and meretricious pursuits. No, let them compete in the markets and spend on their own marketing. It’s a free country, and they can do it without an RH bill.

No to condom economics. No to the RH bill.

Marc Bautista, CFA, is head of research at Metrobank and teaches in the MS Computational Finance Program of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University. His Web site is

The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of De La Salle University, its faculty, and its administrators.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Population control: an idea so bad and outdated...

... that even many supporters of the RH bill are shying away from it.

From CBCP for Life:

Santiago acknowledges existence of Kissinger Report, says RH bill needs to be cleaned up

MANILA, September 6, 2011–Pro-RH Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago admitted Monday that the “reproductive health” or RH bill being debated by lawmakers still needs to be cleaned up of all references to population control.

During Monday’s interpellation over Senate Bill No. 2865, Santiago said a United States-dictated policy on population control was “anathema” to herself and the other RH bill sponsor, Sen. Pia Cayetano.

Santiago said they will sit down with English-language stylists to make a cleanup of the bill.

The feisty senator acknowledged the existence of National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200 authored by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger – the secret US government document that had been described as Washington’s blueprint for depopulation to ensure unhampered access to the natural resources of developing countries.

The declassified NSSM 200 states that poor countries should limit their populations to prevent anti-imperialist youth from harming US commercial interests. The Kissinger report recommends a) the legalization of abortion; b) financial incentives for countries to increase their abortion, sterilization and contraception-use rates; c) indoctrination of children; and d) mandatory population control, and coercion of other forms, such as withholding disaster and food aid unless a less-developed country implements population control programs.

Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile warned that the bill could rob the country of its “vitality,” citing the dangers of tinkering with the population.

“This bill is a clever device to put population control at the center, masked by health care,” Enrile said. “It is unclear on many things.”

Earlier in Monday’s debate, however, Cayetano said: “There is no population control in this bill.” But she said she was open to tightening the language of the bill to remove population control elements.

Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III argued that laws could be subject to misinterpretation, pointing to the loopholes in the Dangerous Drugs Act that allowed the acquittal of the so-called “Alabang Boys.”

Pro-RH lawmakers have been struggling to keep a single message on population control, with Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco admitting in the debates at the House of Representatives on Aug. 24 that the RH bill was “definitely” a population control measure.

But Cojuangco made a turnaround when Zambales Rep. Ma. Milagros Magsaysay pointed out that other RH sponsors have rejected population control. (Dominic Francisco)