As I started writing again on the raging RH bill controversy, a popular joke among lawyers immediately came to mind. It is about a top caliber trial lawyer giving pointers to one of his young associates on how to handle the trial of a case. Without batting an eyelash and sounding really serious about his instructions, he told the young lawyer to always remember that: “if the facts are on your side, pound on the facts; if the facts are not on your side but the law is on your side, pound on the law; but if both the facts and the law are not on your side, then pound on the table!”. By analogy, it appears that this is also the technique employed by the sponsors and backers of the RH bill.
The fact is that their proposed law appropriates billions of pesos (14 billion or more) for the purchase of contraceptives like condoms, pills, IUD, patches and injectables so as to make them available for free to all people, young or old, married or single. The fact is that contraceptives have already been proven to lead to the commission of abortion or to directly cause abortion as well as cancer and blood clotting in the veins. Hence the use of these contraceptives violates the Revised Penal Code penalizing abortion (Article 256-259); and is contrary to the constitution mandating the State to equally protect the life of the mother and of the unborn from the moment of conception (Article II ).
The fact is that a foreign government (USA) and foreign organizations (UNPFA, IPPF, the Gates Foundation) are actually intruding into our sovereignty by imposing on us and virtually coercing our legislature to pass the RH bill not only to promote abortion but also to control our population allegedly because we are already overpopulated and the country’s food and natural resources are no longer sufficient for all of us. But the other facts also are: that there is no overpopulation but only overconcentration of population in urban areas; that our country’s resources are enough for everybody except that there is an inequitable distribution of wealth; that our population growth may soon stop because it is already declining towards a negative rate if we adopt population control measures; that our booming population is not a disadvantage but a big economic plus based on worldwide studies conducted by well known and reliable economists; that it is indeed during this period of population growth when we enjoy extended economic growth according to our own BSP Governor; and that the RH bill will derail this economic growth according to the Wall Street Journal.
These are the facts and the laws applicable to the proposed RH bill. Obviously, these facts and laws are not on the side of its sponsors and backers. They have not, and indeed cannot, deny these facts and applicable laws, or prove them false and inapplicable to the bill. So they are now pounding on the Catholic Church and those opposing the bill for blocking its passage and its allegedly laudable purposes of promoting the women’s reproductive health, of preventing the increase in maternal deaths and infant mortalities and of alleviating poverty in the land. They are attacking the Church which is merely pointing out that the bill’s laudable ends do not justify contraception and its abortive and cancerous effects as the means employed to achieve those ends. They forget that the end does not justify the means.
And the worse part here is that the bill’s sponsors and backers are resorting to personal attacks to the extent of picturing the clergies of the Church as “Padre Damasos” while at the same time digging up the alleged defects, sins, shortcomings and sexual offenses of a few clergies. They are even charging the Church for violating the principle of separation of Church and State when the Church is merely exercising their religious freedom of protecting its belief in the culture of life as against the culture of death that will surely prevail if the RH bill is enacted into law.
In short, the bill’s sponsors and backers are sidestepping and confusing the real issues which can be properly and easily understood by any ordinary person who has been adequately informed. In this connection, allow me to cite one of the reactions I received regarding this RH bill which I think presents the true issue in plain, clear and simple terms (edited and shortened for lack of space). It came from a young man (email@example.com) who claimed to have already “paid a lot of taxes to the government” and was asking that the pro-RH legislators better listen to him because “after all, part of their salary came from me”. He is a financial analyst and this is what he wrote in part:
“The Philippines is a poor country and it wants to spend P3 billion on an ideology pushed by, among others, the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Why should the government buy condoms when the government hospitals can hardly provide antibiotics? I have been to many public hospitals. I have heard so many stories of how the patients would have to wait – at the expense of health deterioration – because there were no medicines available.
Contraceptives may really be necessary to help the poor, but what I cannot accept is that they will spend my money – the hundreds of thousands I paid – to something ideological!
I am a taxpayer. I want my money to go to the poor. I want it to be spent in buying antibiotics, Math textbooks, classrooms, farm-to-market roads, etc. I don’t want a single cent of my money to go to condoms! If Lagman, Cayetano, Santiago and company think they are helping the Philippines by promoting the RH Bill, they should not force me (because, I repeat, part of the tax is my money) to buy condoms so that others can enjoy their vices.
I find it very unfair for me to pay for someone else’s vice. I am not a smoker, and I get pissed off when someone smokes near me. In any case, I can tolerate smoking. But what I cannot tolerate is for the smoker to get my money so he can buy his cigarettes! Do you want to smoke? Then spend your money to buy your cigarette. Don’t get my money”.
A lot of taxpayers are really wondering and quite mystified why some legislators and even PNoy are stubbornly pushing for this bill which is obviously detrimental to our country and people. Is it because of the overwhelming pressure from the foreign groups? Hopefully it is not, because this is no longer a matter of political will but of conscience.
UN: Pass RH Measure; International Organization Weighs In On Divisive Issue
By ROY C. MABASA and CHARISSA M. LUCI
August 5, 2012, 6:40pm
MANILA, Philippines — Saying there is no better time than now, the United Nations on Sunday urged Philippine policy-makers to pass the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill.
“Current circumstances present this opportunity, and it is in the hands of policy-makers to make it happen,” the UN said in its statement on the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development Act Bill.
The measure has become a highly divisive issue in Congress. On Monday, the House of Representatives will decide whether to vote on the bill or shelve it.
Last Saturday, about 10,000 people attended the Catholic Church-led prayer rally at the EDSA Shrine to oppose the passage of the measure.
The UN statement is seen as big boost to President Benigno S. Aquino III, a staunch advocate of the measure.
Today the President will meet with 150 congressmen in a final effort to convince them to support the RH bill.
According to the UN, reproductive health “is not about population numbers” but “about ensuring a life of health and dignity.”
“Issues around the reproductive health bill have been addressed and clarified for over a decade now,” the UN pointed out. “Time spent discussing these issues repeatedly is measured by the lives of the 15 women we lose to maternal deaths every day.”
The bill seeks to make it mandatory for the government to provide free contraceptives.
Besides free contraception, it would also give the poor preferential access to family planning services in state hospitals, while lessons on family planning and sex education would become compulsory in schools and for couples applying for a marriage license.
The Church is adhering closely to the Vatican teaching which allows only the use of natural family planning methods like the rhythm, withdrawal and abstinence for couples to limit the number of their children.
In line with the same teaching, it bans the use of artificial contraceptives specifically the Pill, condom and intrauterine device which it considers as “sin” because they induce abortion.
The UN warned that the “hopes of future prosperity could turn to dust” if the country is not able to deal with the population growth by giving men and women access to the information and means to freely and responsibly exercise their human right to have just the number of children they want.
If current trends continue, as the country grows richer, the number of people living in poverty will increase, the UN said.
About 20 million Filipinos live in slum conditions.
According to the UN, urban population is growing at a rate of 60 percent, and it is estimated that by 2030, 75 percent of the Philippine population will be living in urban areas.
House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali M. Gonzales II said Malacanang has invited all 284 House members, along with other concerned groups to the 11:30 a.m. meeting.
“The President wants to share his thoughts on the RH bill. As far as I know, there about 150 congressmen who confirmed their attendance,” Gonzales said over DZBB’s Buena Manong Balita program yesterday.
The House is set to vote on whether to terminate the debates on House Bill (HB) 4244 or the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011, which has been subject to plenary interpellations since May 17 last year.
Gonzales doused speculations that during the meeting, the President will give a marching order to the House leadership. “The President just wants to share his thoughts. It is up to the members if they would accept it. I don’t expect the President will tell us how to vote,” he said.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the bill’s principal authors, said the measure has gained the nod of 140 congressmen during the voting.
House Assistant Majority Leader and Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, Cebu Rep. Rachel del Mar and Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres Gomez joined the Catholic Church in opposing the RH bil.
Whether it is called responsible parenthood or reproductive health bill, Congress ultimately needs to pass a comprehensive health program that would cater to the needs of Filipino women, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday said.
Cayetano said it is high time Congress passed the controversial measure even though some religious sectors have found some provisions of the bill objectionable.
“I think a majority of the senators agree that there is a need for this bill. Whether you call it a Responsible Parenthood bill or RH bill or by any other name, there are things needed by our people that are found in the bill, from education to the medical attention,” Cayetano said.
Dr. Felipe Medalla, former director of the National and Economic Development Authority (NEDA), said the problem of the bill is that it is sometimes associated with compulsory sex education which the Catholic Church strongly opposes.
“But I would really side more with the President. The RH bill is sometimes associated with compulsory sex education, etc. whereas the President’s point of view on this is more on responsible parenthood actually more aligned with what the bishops are saying. Except that the bishops are saying that the only acceptable method is natural family planning,” Medalla explained to the media at the inaugural conference on globalization, innovation and economic growth of the Angara Centre for Law and Economics.
He said an RH program would definitely be “a very important investment” for the Philippines given that it is a fiscally challenged government which does not have enough money for public health education and in a setting where the government has very little funds for the poorest families.”
FORTY-FOUR years ago, Pope Paul VI prophesied the horrible effects of contraception to marriage, family, the individual, and society. It was a Cassandra prophecy: Fated to be right, but never heeded.
In his encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI warned that a contraceptive mentality would lead to the prevalence of divorce, unmitigated premarital sex, the lowering of moral standards among the youth, the phenomenal increase in the number of children born out of wedlock, and rapid decrease of population in countries advocating contraception. He also prophesied that the pervasive use of contraception would diminish our innate sense of responsibility and commitment. Finally, he predicted that contraception would lead to the legalization of abortion.
The Pope’s prophecy is now a reality in many contraceptive-minded countries. Nearly all couples in these countries believe that their marriage is viable only as long as they have no children. The divorce rate is consistently rising. Abortion is so rampant that the disposal of aborted fetus has become a problem. Also, the number of unwed mothers (by choice) has phenomenally increased. With easy access to birth control pills and gadgets, consequence-less sex is now a fad among the youth because it does not entail any responsibility or commitment.
Sex without procreation gave way to its corollary: procreation without sex. Sexless procreation is in vogue now: test-tube babies, artificial placentas, surrogate mothers, artificial insemination, etc. Ironically, those countries that aggressively limited the possibility of procreation are now desperately inventing means to procreate even without sex.
Drumbeaters for contraception have recently found another potent way of advertising it: by scaring people with the dangers of AIDS, the doomsday scenario of overpopulation, and linking contraception with women’s reproductive health.
We sometimes regard the attempts of the Church to adapt her life to the exigencies of modern times as a way of compromise, a search for a soft, convenient, and comfortable gospel. Thus, when Humanae Vitae was published, people speculated that it would contain modernized, streamlined, less demanding doctrine on birth regulation. Many hoped that perhaps the Church had reconsidered its traditional stand, and would come up with a more lenient position.
To their dismay, the Church defied all predictions and reaffirmed instead her traditional teaching on marriage, sex, and the value of human life.
Undoubtedly, Pope Paul VI did not bring peace to many couples. In fact, he destroyed the peace that they cherished – a peace based on the belief that whatever is legal is also moral, or that the easiest and most convenient solution to a problem is the best solution. Humanae Vitae has proven that the Church does not conform to the majority opinion but to the Word of God, and the Pope must proclaim the truth even when it contradicts the current of the times.
Doing research in the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in the early ‘70s as part of a training program where I was nominated by Dr. Jaime C. Laya and supported by UN Undersecretary Rafael Salas, my projections of the Philippine population by the year 2000 was around 50 million not the 80 million recorded, nor could I even imagine a 100-million population by 2012. My projections were based on a decreasing birth rate due to an active public information campaign carried out by both the government and non-governmental organizations and the availability of a “cafeteria” of population management tools, from natural planning to the use of contraceptives.
It was also based on increasing income levels where, as in other countries, the more the population had adequate income, the fewer children they would beget. Poor parents would want to raise more children in the hope that a sufficient number would survive the hardships and take care of them in their old age. Projections of better medical care and other social services also would assure parents of healthier babies, removing the need for quantity and allowing them to raise quality children who would become assets of the country as adults.
Unfortunately, after the Marcos years, the approach to population planning which was admired if not copied by other developing countries was deliberately toned down and left to the private sector, which did not have the resources government had. President Fidel V. Ramos and Secretary of Health Juan Flavier resurrected the program and it began to take off with also the sustained support later of President Joseph Estrada. The presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo consigned the program to the bottom of priorities as she ardently courted the support of the Catholic Church. It even reached a point where funds designated for the population management program where allegedly ordered diverted to other Department of Health programs. Access of the poor to the “cafeteria” of population planning methods was severely curtailed.
Seeing the need for an institutional approach free from the whims of a president, the Reproductive Health (RH) bill was crafted during the Arroyo administration but was never put to a vote. On August 7, the House will vote on whether to wrap up the debate and move forward with the bill. The Catholic Church convened a prayer rally last Saturday to “express why we believe the reproductive health bill is not the solution to our many problems as individuals and as a country,” declared Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle. On the other hand, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in an ambush interview said, “Perhaps the debate should be wrapped up, and we should make a decision on this so-called responsible parenthood bill once and for all.”
Survey results seem to show that large majority of the Filipino people want the legislation acted upon, favorably. The opposition to the bill, now led by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, will generate greater support not merely through prayers but through exposing to the public the specific provisions of the RH bill that they disagree with. Sometimes, disinformation could be used to make the public wary of the bill as Senator Panfilo Lacson was quoted as saying, “When I hear Mass, I hear their clear disinformation that abortion is allowed under the RH bill.” According to him, abortion will remain illegal and the bill even increases the penalty.
Too long have the Filipino people waited. Let everyone, including the Church leaders and the legislators listen to them rather than impose their views. The Filipino people want to be the ones to make the choice – informed and free.
I write at the tail end, hopefully, of a very wet no-name rain with a very terrible impact of Metro Manila and several Luzon provinces. It is almost impossible to believe that there was no storm, that this was only another of those southwest monsoon rains. Wow! When I was first told by a high-ranking environmental officer about the meaning of “new normal” last year, I understood the words intellectually but had to experience these last few days to REALLY understand.
What now? Because of the new normal whose range of water volume and impact is yet to be really determined, if at all, what can we do? I was just told that a hotter climate tends to have more evaporation and, thus, the clouds tend to carry more water. And when it is time for the clouds to dump the water, we have more, much more. It now seems that we cannot get away with less rain but only more, unless the world’s temperature drops to levels we were once used to. There is one situation that allows us little or no rain – and that is having a drought that the new normal says will be dryer over a longer period of time. It leads me to believe that having more rains and being more wet is better than having more heat and being more dry. What a choice.
We have to quickly see what the new weather patterns are doing to us, to our towns and cities – highly urbanized areas particularly – because of the higher risk of death and destruction in denser populations. We once thought we would just read about the horrors of landslides far away from the cities, but Ondoy and Sendong targeted the cities and shocked us all with the kind of devastation typhoons can cause urban areas. We learned, but I guess we could not learn that quickly and could not adjust that dramatically. When the rain-with-no-name came last Monday and dumped enough to be eventually competitive with Ondoy, there were warnings enough to the public and government agencies were more prepared. But the sheer volume of water that kept coming, the sheer vulnerability of the metropolis and its millions of residents, simply overwhelmed all preparations and capacities to react.
Truly, there could have been much more deaths had the warnings and preparations were not there. It is but right that we appreciate a newly-discovered readiness that kept most Metro Manilans inside their homes because they were warned. Had they been in the streets like Ondoy, it would have been a virtual nightmare. This experience with no-name rain, however, has taught us lessons we did not really learn before because we just did not deem them that crucial to our own survival. And what are those?
Our poor cannot be allowed to stay in riverbanks that overflow and kill them. Because they are poor and do not have the luxury of choosing safer areas that still allow them to go or find work, then the rest of society, led by government, must give them the means to save themselves. The Philippines as a country and a people must think of poor as priority clients, not nuisances. It is time we prove that we are humane, democratic, faithful Christians or Muslims, and that we are one people, one race, one Filipino. We have to prove it as we are forced to by nature herself. We have to prove it because the time will come when what humanity deserves, to live and to live with dignity, will be demanded by a sector that is too large to disregard and contain if enraged.
It is completely incomprehensible to me that both the Church and State have accepted the state of the poor with shocking resignation. It is as though poverty is God’s plan and defies deconstruction by the government. Yes, when we think of poverty as one whole monster, it can look like Goliath to the eyes of the Israeli army. But poverty is comprised of different parts that can be resolved one by one, not over a century but within one generation. Poverty is landlessness, homelessness and hunger. To dismantle the landless state of every poor Filipino family can take less than 50,000 hectares or the equivalent of three towns divided over 1,700 municipalities and cities. These lands are for home lots, not farms, and home lots can be 50-100 sq. meters each. But each lot means security, means permanence, means every Filipino is NOT born a squatter in his or her homeland.
There are communities with small but sturdy, decent and colorful homes as what Gawad Kalinga builds together with former squatters as part of a community development program that teaches residents bayanihan and love of country. Even if 5 million families are built homes without their paying for them but requires their full participation and sweat equity, the cost is bearable for a society that seeks to transform itself to become truly sensitive to its own people. The cost of 5 million homes is a small investment that in itself pump-primes all barangays, brings new revenues to a number of industries and addresses rebellion in the countryside and secessionist movements in Mindanao.
A backyard greening program planting vegetables is not too difficult to be a centerpiece anti-hunger program of both the Department of Agriculture and the private sector. The Conditional Cash Transfer program (CCT) does not address hunger as almost two years of aggressive application have shown that hunger incidence is not swayed by it. But the CCT proves that there is money to resolve perennial problems if we the people as the “boss” demand that we do not tolerate fellow Filipinos going hungry.
It is natural that being flooded in proportions like what we just experienced can motivate us to take extra steps to avoid the same experience next time. But our personal woes or inconveniences can stay just that – personal – and we forget the greater problems that the millions of poor, even in just Metro Manila, have to go through in live-or-die situations.
I read text messages about how God curses us with floods because of the RH Bill. No, that is too little, too late. We are cursed because we can watch our own suffer and then leave them behind.
MANILA (Catholic News Network)—An influential church faction known as the CBCP, or the Censorious Bishops Collegium of the Philippines, on Tuesday declared full support for the return of ejaculation.
A spokesman for the group, however, warned, “Ejaculation must only be done with rhythm.”
With this declaration, the CBCP, already embroiled in the Reproductive Health bill debate, waded into another controversy.
This time it’s over the new official translation of the Roman Missal, which hews closer the conservative Latin text abandoned in the ‘70s in favor of a modern version.
The new missal translation revives some parts of the pre-Vatican II liturgy, including a fully restored mea culpa ejaculation–defined by the dictionary as an “abrupt, exclamatory utterance”–in the Penitential Prayer of the Confiteor:
“Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” is a direct translation of the Latin phrase “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” of the old Latin text (which also instructed participants to “ejaculate and strike your breast three times.”)
Father Soltero Celibe, a spokesman for CBCP, said the ‘70s revision had discarded the thrice-repeated mea culpa in favor of owning up to one’s sinfulness only once, which was “a form of artificial contra…I mean contrition.”
“People must abandon contrition-lite and genuinely ejaculate again. And do it with rhythm—bam, bam, bam, thank you ma’am. Why is that so wrong? Why are revisionists reading too much into it?”
Many Catholic priests and lay people, especially in Europe and the United States, have criticized the new translation of the missal as a retrogressive step.
“It’s an attempt to nullify the reforming spirit of Vatican II,” protested Gianni Ventitre, a lay leader and resident of Padua, Italy. Vatican II, he explained, made the Mass more accessible to worshipers.
He said that “revving up the social conscience of the church, not reviving old ritual,” is what’s needed today when poverty due to social injustice and overpopulation is so prevalent in many parts of the world.
Celibe disagreed, explaining that beyond being faithful to the Latin text, “it is good to emphasize one’s sinfulness and acknowledge Man’s fallen nature especially in these times.”
Interviewed while sitting in the driver’s seat of his brand-new donated Pajero (“It’s actually secondhand, it turns out”), he explained that the Vatican is returning to the Church’s roots in the face of rampant revisionism.
Celibe said more worshipers today also are steeped in loose morals, engaging in premarital sex, sex for pleasure, kinky sex, sex video sex, imaginary sex, phone sex, Internet sex, sex for hire, and same-sex sex.
“We’re not asking people to be like priests, but worshipers should try to live without sin by ejaculating thoroughly and ejaculating often.”
In addition to actor Mel Gibson’s father, seven congressional supporters of former president Gloria Arroyo, who is out on bail, also opposed retaining the previous version, which downplayed ejaculation.
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said if people stop ejaculating naturally “we are in danger of diminishing Heaven’s labor force and increasing migration to Hell.”
Suarez opposes the Reproductive Health bill in Congress on a similar basis. Before addressing the overflow crowd of desperate jobseekers waiting in his office, Suarez expressed fear that promoting artificial contraception could lead to an insufficient Philippine labor force.
Meanwhile, Fr. Tomasito Torquemada, CBCP director of information, sternly announced that a news website reporter will face excommunication for “blasphemy, heresy and spreading satirical interpretations” of church affairs.
“We’re already reserving a bunk in Hell for him, very close to the boilers,” Torquemada warned.
Manila’s newsgathering circles are buzzing with speculation about the identity of the condemned reporter.-CNN
Now it is getting clearer. Nothing much has change in the way our government is run by those in power. This administration’s claim of being entirely different from the past corrupt administration is all hype. Our president now may really be honest in the sense that he has not supposedly “stolen” a single centavo from the government coffers, but there are still so many similarities between his administration and the past administration.
One such similarity is in the use of the tyranny of numbers to ram thru its desired objectives even if there are still some unsettled issues regarding them. And this was graphically illustrated when PNoy marshaled his minions in the Lower House of Congress to end the debate on the RH bill by treacherously disregarding their own calendar and deciding to stop the debate on the bill one day ahead of the schedule, through the hasty and hazy “viva voce voting. Why are those who shouted “aye” afraid of being individually identified as in favor of the bill?
They are afraid obviously because their tactic is quite unfair much more so because they know very well that after so many years of debate, they have not explained and satisfactorily answered the most important point raised regarding this bill: that it is originally drafted and instigated by the US with the cooperation of the UN through its agency UNFPA and by private foreign entities which are known advocates of abortion particularly the IPPF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; that the phrase “reproductive health” used by these advocates which drafted the original version of the bill really means abortion or will lead to abortion; that these lobbyists purposely used the phrase only to disguise their real purpose especially in counties like the Philippines where abortion is not allowed.
The only explanation of the sponsors of the bill and other members of the Lower House who shouted “aye” is mere denial since according to them the bill expressly provides that abortion is illegal and not allowed. This is apparently a mere subterfuge as the bill likewise provides for universal access to all forms of reproductive health care services, devices and products including contraceptive pills already proven to directly cause abortion or lead to abortion and other fatal disease like cancer and high blood pressure. The “letter” of the bill is manifestly contrary to its “spirit” as it even uses the terms “medically safe” contraceptives when there is no such thing because all contraceptives have already been medically shown to be dangerous to the life and health of the unborn and the mother.
And this is where another similarity between the present and past administration lies. Both use misleading tactics in order to achieve their objectives. In the present case, this administration even borrowed the phrase “responsible parenthood” and adopted it as part of the bill’s title obviously to remove further objections to the bill. In using such phrase however, the present administration has corrupted its true meaning. “Responsible parenthood” is directly incongruous to the main features of the bill advocating contraception and prescribing western type or module of sex education to school children. This is not a mere allegation. It is already proven in countries where contraception is supported by the State and where sex education is given to school children. In those countries, more specifically the USA, 500 million babies have already been killed through abortion because of the use of contraceptives; sexually transmissible diseases, breast cancer and other serious ailments of women have become widespread; minors have become immoral and promiscuous as the number of teenage pregnancies continues to rise; innumerable families have been broken and have become dysfunctional with so many single mothers, fatherless children; and marital infidelities abound eventually leading to divorce. Does our government want all these things to happen here under this Reproductive Health cum Responsible Parenthood bill?
To be sure, “Responsible Parenthood” really originated from the Church and its meaning definitely excludes the use of contraception. But even without dragging the Church into this issue and attacking its stand against contraception, the phrase is also found in our constitution specifically in Section 3 (1) Article XV which provides as follows: “The State shall defend the right of the spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood”.
So, in defining “responsible parenthood” as used here, it must be read in conjunction with the other provisions of the constitution. And these are: Section 12, Article II which provides that: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government. Section 1, Art XV which provides that “The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development. And Section 2, which provides that: “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State”.
Responsible parenthood within the contemplation of our constitution therefore (1) protects the life of the mother and of the unborn from conception; (2) protects the marriage as an inviolable social institution; (3) protects the sanctity of the family as a basic autonomous social institution and strengthen its solidarity; and (4) recognizes the natural right and duty of parents in the rearing of their children.
The RH bill with all its consequences as shown above definitely violates the foregoing provisions of the constitution that go into the definition of Responsible parenthood. Using such phrase in the title of the bill is therefore false, misleading and a form of dishonesty.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III admitted yesterday that his fight against the proposed Reproductive Health (RH) bill is “very personal to him and is his mission from God.”
Sotto, who has long carried a “macho” image in the Senate, broke down in tears after he delivered the first part of his speech against the RH bill during the so-called turno en contra for the measure.
Last week, Sotto said that he would reveal the significance of Aug. 13 to him and to his fight against the RH bill.
It turned out that exactly 37 years ago yesterday, Vincent Paul, the only son of Sotto, died five months after he was born in 1975.
He noted that the public knew of only four children that he and his wife, actress Helen Gamboa, sired since they got married in 1971.
He recalled that soon after Gamboa gave birth to their eldest daughter Romina in 1973, she was advised by her doctors to take contraceptives so as not to disrupt her schedule in doing movies.
However, the contraceptives did not work and Gamboa became pregnant with their first son.
According to Sotto, the weak heart of his son led to the need for regular blood transfusions, which went on until his death five months later.
Sotto said that his son never left the hospital during the entire five months of his life and he made it a point to visit him every day.
He noted that two of his colleagues, Senators Manuel Lapid and Pia Cayetano, both lost children just like he did.
During his interpellation on the RH bill, Lapid said his wife also used contraceptives but still got pregnant.
Lapid said that his baby was born with a heart defect and that he was convinced the use of contraceptives by his wife led to that condition.
He lost his child nine years later.
In the case of Cayetano, she lost her son Gabriel nine months after he was born due to a rare congenital condition.
“It is sad to hear this from them but the truth is, I even envy them because they got to hold their children,” Sotto said.
“I was not able to hold my son in those five months. I got to hold him when he was dead already,” he added.
Sotto said that he was convinced the use of contraceptives by his wife led to the death of his only son and that is why his campaign against the RH bill is very personal to him.
“At that time I asked God why this happened to me. I badly wanted a son, why did you take him away from me? Thirty-seven years later, the Lord gave me his answer, it is my mission to stop this bill (from being approved),” Sotto said.
He ended up sobbing after his speech and was comforted by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Ramon Revilla.
Cayetano, one of the principal authors and sponsors of the RH bill, was also seen talking to Sotto while the session was suspended.
Sotto and Cayetano have been at odds over the RH bill, with the latter accusing him on a number of occasions of delaying the progress of the measure.
In fact, before Sotto started his presentation, he engaged Cayetano and her co-sponsor Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in a minor exchange on the procedure for the start of the turno en contra and stated clearly that they should not worry about his presentation being a source of delay again.
He cited several international and local studies, which showed that life begins at fertilization and as such the use of anything that prevents the fertilized ovum from being implanted in the uterus is already considered abortive.
He said many of the contraceptives are even harmful to those who use them because of a number of side effects and even carcinogenic properties.
For the pill, Sotto cited the following listed major adverse effects: breast cancer, cervical cancer, liver cancer, premature hypertension and coronary artery disease resulting in heart attacks and strokes, thromboembolism/pulmonary embolism.
Other adverse effects are decreased libido, infertility, leg cramps, gallstone formation, nausea and bloatedness.
In the case of IUDs, he said that side effects include cramps, bleeding between periods, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and tear or hole in the uterus.
“Given all these harmful effects to women, are we going to allow our government to spend billions of money to purchase condoms, pills and IUDs for the sake of what they call reproductive health?” Sotto said.
“This is not the solution to their claim that 11 mothers die every day, if it is true that 11 mothers die every day. If the RH bill is approved, most likely more than 11 mothers will die every day. And I thought the RH bill is for our women,” he added.