RH Law Not Needed, If Noy Would Do His Job, Federico D. Pascual Jr.
POSTSCRIPT By Federico D. Pascual Jr. (The Philippine Star)
NOT NEEDED: For the record, I am for personal and public health in general, for Reproductive Health in particular.
But I am alarmed by the over-reaching scope of the proposed RH bill(s), and by the attempt to use the RH debate to cover up the mismanagement of our rich human and natural resources.
The RH bill I have seen aims to pluck the poor and ignorant masses from the muck of overpopulation by imposing a law cutting down the number of their children without due regard for their private sentiments and religious beliefs.
Actually, despite our being dominantly Catholic, we routinely ignore Church teachings on contraception and abortion and slyly resort to the birth control method of our choice.
We are already doing this without an intrusive and coercive RH law hanging over our heads.
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OVERLAPPING LAW: What do proponents of the RH bill(s) really want?
Stripped of their generalized slogans proclaiming family planning, responsible parenthood, informed choice, gender equality, infant and child care, and fighting violence against women, what do they specifically want?
They want planning of family size and spacing of pregnancies? Many couples are already doing that — even without an intrusive RH law.
They want the Pill, injectible contraceptives, condoms, and other devices preventing or terminating unwanted pregnancy? All these physical and chemical interventions are already available without an RH law. Ask around.
They want gender equality? That is already promoted by existing laws. And you can be sure the women rights crusaders are never asleep.
They want more food, dwellings, better education for their children? They should pressure government officials, from Malacañang down, to do their sworn duties and not foist the lack of an RH law as an excuse.
They want emancipation from poverty? They should tell Malacañang to carry out measures to reduce poverty — such as improved revenue collection, wise use of resources, and no-nonsense prosecution of grafters. This can be done without an RH law.
They want to tell parents to limit to two the number of their children? There are better ways — without having to coerce parents through an RH law — of convincing and helping couples limit the size of their brood.
They want abortion on demand? Sorry, but they will have to contend with the Constitutional mandate for the protection of the unborn, not to mention the penal laws on the taking of human life. An RH law cannot overturn the basic Charter.
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MISMANAGEMENT: The absence of an RH law (superimposed on laws already covering the subtopics of reproductive health) is being used to explain away the failure of government to address decades-old problems identified with poverty.
Our problem in the Philippines is not so much population growth as it is the mismanagement of our God-given human and natural resources. President Aquino has pinpointed one area — corruption that saps resources and the will to excel.
Overpopulation is not the cause of corruption. Rather, it is corruption that creates myriad problems that impact on the growing population.
The quality of the population is a decisive factor in building a strong and progressive nation. Properly managed, the population is an asset. Mismanaged, it is a heavy burden.
A number of developed countries whose population’s median age has become alarmingly high are now easing the brakes on population control and encouraging couples to produce more babies.
Some countries that cannot wait for these babies to grow into productive members of the community woo selected foreigners who are professionals or skilled workers. Many qualified Filipinos take advantage of this situation.
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HATE-OBJECTS: It is sad that the strategy stable of President Aquino is again using politics of hate not only to gain acceptance of the RH idea but also to display the President as a hero battling opponents of the bill, especially the Catholic Church.
In the same manner that they put up Gloria Arroyo as a hate-object to win the last elections, they seem to be again drawing the same divisive line of promoting a battle royale with the Church on the issue of birth control.
They probably figured that they could win this big fight also. The President should instruct his boys to discuss the issues purely on the merits instead of again fomenting rifts that may not easily heal.
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ABORTIFACIENT: Reader Noel Manalo called our attention to the fact that all contraceptives are abortifacient (causing abortion). He explained in an email:
“The early contraceptives, such as Enovid back in 1957, did prevent ovulation, and therefore conception — majority of the time. But such “hormonal” contraceptives — so called because they used hormones such as estrogen and synthetic hormones like progestin — had a difficult problem.
“They caused internal bleeding and cancer of the uterus. This is the main reason why manufacturers and doctors turned to outright abortifacients (“pampalaglag”).
“The use of abortifacients looks ‘clean.’ The one they abort is the fertilized egg — a human being initially one cell in size, too tiny to see, but a human person nonetheless.
Abortifacients murder a helpless, unborn person with the same human worth and dignity as all of us.
“There are still hormonal contraceptives being produced, but they retain the same problems of hormonal contraceptives — intra-uterine bleeding and cancer of the uterus.
“If you take hormonal contraceptives once or a few times, maybe you won’t bleed or get cancer. But for these things to work, you have to take them constantly, day after day, month after month, year after year — until menopause.
“Otherwise, if you miss a dose, you could get pregnant, and all your plans are ruined. This is how people become slaves to contraceptives and abortifacients.”
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