Wrong reason, wrong solution

Published by rudy Date posted on May 23, 2011

Once again and for several times already, the poor sector or the “stereo type slice of our society” particularly the Class D which allegedly constitute the largest segment of our population, is being used and cited as reason for the passage of the RH bill. The call is that before making any decision for or against the RH bill we should first interact with them and immerse in their kind of life to find out how they “cope with the challenges of providing for their family” and for the education of their children just to “have a decent life”.

One of the favorites and often cited story is that of a 16 year old girl from Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila “who went from childhood to motherhood with no decent high school education” and who is now facing the challenge of raising two children. The other more heart rending story now cropping up is that of Dolores who, at 12 years of age stopped schooling and started working as a housemaid to help her parents in providing for the education of her siblings only to find out later that her hard earned money was being squandered on booze by her father. Then when her mother died of TB, the rebelling Dolores married the first man who asked her, a construction worker who wanted sex-on-demand such that she became pregnant every year and at the age of 38 had seven mouths to feed after eight childbirths, two miscarriages and death of a three year old son due to malnourishment.

These stories which are allegedly true, are repeatedly cited to drive home the point that if there is an RH bill that would “give them a full menu of options on family planning”, the sad and almost inhuman situations of these two women would have been prevented from happening; that in the particular case of Dolores, she would have been better off with fewer children had she taken the pill to satisfy her husband without the danger of having another mouth to feed. In other words the RH bill purportedly provides them with means to plan for their family’s future and “planning a family’s future is not really against God’s will”.

But the question here is not whether planning the family’s future is against God’s will. Of course, it is in accordance with God’s will. Every family should really plan for its future. Ensuring a decent life for one’s family by having fewer mouths to feed due to serious economic reasons is a very legitimate purpose and a desirable end. But the end or purpose, no matter how noble and legitimate, does not justify the use of wrongful and harmful means. Therefore the question here should be: are the means or methods made available to the poor pursuant to the bill particularly the pills and other contraceptive devices medically safe, legal and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices and supplies or do they cause abortion, cancer and other serious ailments?

This is question that is not directly and categorically answered in the bill. It only says that abortion is illegal. Yet time and again as the debate rages, it has already been shown that there are direct and indirect links between contraception and abortion. Depoprovera, RU 486, IUD, Norplant and Morning After Pills have already been medically proven to directly cause abortion (Project Abortifacients, Human Life International, June 1991). Apparently the bill would still make them available to women and is thus abetting or promoting abortion which it considers illegal. Freedom of choice is not involved here because such freedom does not definitely extend to opting for something that is illegal.

The bill also ignores or refuses to recognize what is happening in other countries showing the link between abortion and all contraceptives including condoms. In Canada, “the birth control pill was legalized in 1969. The following year, statistics reported 11,152 abortions. Since then, there is already more than tenfold increase in abortion during a period of unprecedented contraceptive use. Contraception has historically been promoted as a means of women’s emancipation, yet ironically, it has led to much greater objectification of women. Women’s bodies have become a testing ground for pharmaceutical companies to reap profits from the myth that the natural consequences of sex can be avoided; women are put out of touch with their bodies as their fertility cycles become chemically controlled; and contraception can also be used to hide the evidence of abuse that is sometimes perpetrated among the young or marginalized” women (Natalie Hudson, The Contraception Misconception).

In the U.S., this link is best described in the case of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey that upheld the decision in Roe vs. Wade where the US Supreme said that: “In some critical respects, abortion is of the same character as the decision to use contraception. For two decades of economic and social development, people have entered into intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance of the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail”. From these facts it is clear that contraception may fail and if fails, abortion is resorted to because of unwanted pregnancy.

Besides, by citing or using the unfortunate situations of the poor sector of our society as reason for its passage, the RH bill is actually solving our problem of poverty by reducing the number of poor people. This is like curing a person who has colds by removing his nose. This is definitely a wrong solution. Our poverty can be licked by sound economic policy and management that will promote a more equitable distribution of the country’s wealth, by eliminating or minimizing corruption and by providing our poor people access to well-rounded education. The RH bill does not provide these solutions. Hence it is not necessary. –Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star)

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