Last country standing

Published by rudy Date posted on March 22, 2011

According to latest reports, the principal author of the RH Bill (HB 4244) has introduced some amendments. This move may look like a tactical retreat as the opposition gains ground. But it may also be just a “one step backward two steps forward” strategy. Indeed, a cursory look at the changes shows that they were apparently designed to make the Bill more attractive especially to his colleagues in the House of Representatives who are still undecided.

But the amendments are not actually that substantial and significant as to lure these legislators in the Lower House to make up their minds and support the Bill. This is not my own assessment only. Several readers have sent in their reactions after closely analyzing the proposed revisions like these ones from Zoe Vidal (choice4life@gmail.com), and Linda Valenzona (valenzona.lg@gmail.com). They have apparently been closely monitoring the developments and have conducted an in-depth examination of the changes which are specifically found in:

* Section 13 on the role of the Local Government Units, where the final line now reads “help implement the Act” rather than “give priority to family planning work”. Whatever may be the intent here, “the Bill still imposes the obligation to enforce the provisions of the Act” some of which are unconstitutional. So it is still objectionable.

* Section 15, where the procurement and operation of Mobile Health Care Service shall now be funded by the National Government rather than from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of each congressional district. Obviously, the amendment aims to assure members of the House of Representatives that the RH Law will not diminish their respective pork barrels.

* Section 16, where parents are now given the option of not allowing their minor children to attend classes pertaining to Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education. This is still not acceptable because it does not prohibit but mandates the DepEd to “conduct the immoral and deformed UNFPA sex education programs” which are of doubtful constitutionality.

* Section 20 fixing the ideal family size, has been deleted. But such deletion “does not mean that the government cannot set population targets or engage in cultural re-engineering activities to reduce family size. In fact such programs are now being implemented by the DOH and other government departments”.

* Section 21 on employers’ responsibility has been deleted because it is just a “restatement and amplification of the existing Article 134 of the Labor Code”. So the deletion actually means nothing and adds nothing to the acceptability of the RH Bill. If anything, it merely confirms how laws can be crafted to coerce employers to apply inhumane and anti-life policies on their employees”.

* Section 28 (e) prohibiting the “malicious disinformation about the intent and provision of this Act” will also be deleted in its entirety “in order to afford widest latitude to freedom of expression within the limits of existing penal statutes”. This deletion however does not diminish the imposition on moral consciences of the Filipinos. The very existence of an RH Law is an oppressive imposition on freedom of conscience”.

Actually, the foregoing amendments do not at all change the underlying premise of the RH Bill, “the cornerstone upon which it builds the legal framework supporting its mandate for the promotion and distribution of artificial methods of family planning, particularly all forms of contraceptives”.

The Couples for Christ and the Families for Life (CFC-FFL) have correctly pointed out in their position paper opposing the RH Bill that its “underlying premise — that life begins at implantation — is wrong”. According to them both the “Philippine Medical Association and renowned embryologists concur that life begins at conception, when the male sperm fuses with the female egg cell”.

And pursuing the point further, the CFC-FFL then said that: “The framers of the Constitution had the same notion about the onset of life when they adopted Article II Section 12 which pertinently provides that ‘the State shall equally protect the life of….the unborn from conception. Thus during their deliberations to clarify this provision, the authors adopted the medical definition of the term conception (i.e fertilization of the ovum).

Since life begins at conception, then any post-conception act that prevents or stops the natural development of the fertilized ovum — an essential element of which is its implantation on the uterus — is an attack against life. If the attack is done deliberately — and succeeds — it may well qualify as murder. In any case, the act falls squarely within the legal meaning of abortion.

Many contraceptives exist for this specific purpose. They prevent the fertilized ovum from implanting itself on the uterus, depriving the ovum of its natural habitation and life support. Except for the relative degree of helplessness, the effect is no different from where an assailant kills an infant by means of starvation and suffocation.

By indiscriminately promoting all types of contraceptive devices and services, the RH Bill violates Article II Section 12 of the Constitution. In terms of effect, it will legalize the mass murder of innocent babies”.

The CFC-FFL also pointed out that while the Bill proclaims that the “State shall promote without bias all modern natural and artificial methods of family planning… practically all the important provisions relate to the promotion, implementation and funding of artificial family planning, e.g. Section 10 (Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines), Section 11 (Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies), Section 15 (Mobile Health Care Services), Section 16, (Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education), Section 19, (Capability Building of Barangay Health Workers), Section 25 (Implementing Mechanisms), Section 26 (Reporting Requirements), Section 28 (Prohibited Acts), Section 29 (Penalties),and Section 30 (Appropriations). There is hardly any doubt therefore that the RH Bill is tilted heavily towards contraceptives and other forms of reproductive health services”, the CFC-FFL rightfully observed.

Undeniably, the RH Bill will sink because it is laden with provisions heavily weighed down by constitutional infirmities. But because of this Bill, “the fundamental love of Filipinos for family and life is under serious threat today”. Being the last country standing against this threat, there is an urgent need to stop it. So let us heed the call of Cardinal Rosales and join the prayer rally at the Luneta on March 25, 2011, 4:30 pm, the feast of the Annunciation, also the day of the unborn children. This promises to be “another EDSA at the Luneta”. –Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star)

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