Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Reproductive Health Bill Saga

Issues on Reproductive Health are hot topics now a days. Everybody expressing their views about it whether  news on television, listening to am radio stations even social networks.

Media people specially newscasters of their respective channel claiming that they are for transparency. Its their duty to give to the people both sides of each issues. Sad to say I cannot see transparency now. The manner how they present the news are one sided. Newscasters and broadcasters that I admired before because of their transparency & sincerity to deliver the news or issues made me halfhearted.Watching and hearing them now  talking in a one sided manner made me think.....should I trust them?

There is one show I accidentally watched. The host's guests are marginalize couples with 5 or 6 children. He was showing his Ipad to them. Pictures like a luxury car, Big house and last I think squatter area. He was asking his guests what they saw and if they want to have a car or a big house. Of course the couple said yes.

I just found out that the issue is about  RH Bill 96. It seems the host trying to tell to the couple that if they adopt family planning with the use of modern artificial methods ....there will be chance that the couple will have a luxury car and a big house. These newscasters and broadcasters said that you should read first the bill before you oppose. So I answered the challenge and I read the RH Bill 96 of Cong. Edcel Lagman and I even read the old RH Bill 5043 he proposed last year to give comparisons. Here are the things I found.

1. Employers are compelled to provide free reproductive health care services, supplies, devices and surgical procedures (including vasectomy and ligation) to their employees, and be subjected to both imprisonment and/or a fine, for every time that they fail to comply.

(See RH BILL 96: Section 18: Employer’s Responsibilities a, b, & c 
/ Read the meaning of Reproductive Health Care, Section 4 Paragraph 19, a-k 
/ Read Prohibited Acts Section 22, c / and Penalties Section 23)

Why would companies provide for these reproductive health services? If it’s a right, then those who want to exercise what  they called rights, should know their responsibilities of exercising those rights and one of them is clearly, being financially responsible. 

2. Health care service providers are subjected to imprisonment and/or a fine, if they fail to provide reproductive health care services such as giving information on family planning methods and providing services like ligation and vasectomy, regardless of the patient's civil status, gender, religion or age?

(See Read Prohibited Acts Section 22, a: 1-3 & Penalties Section 23)
Note: In RH Bill 5043, if the offender is a public official or employee, he or she shall suffer the accessory penalty of dismissal from the government service.

Now in RH Bill 96, aside from dismissal from govt. service, there will be a penalty of forfeiture of retirement benefits.

3. Husband or wife can undergo a ligation or vasectomy with or without consent or knowledge.

(See Section 22: Prohibited Acts, a: 1)

Note: In RH Bill 5043 Prohibited Acts, a:  2. Refuse to perform voluntary ligation and vasectomy and other legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of spousal consent or authorization.

In RH Bill 96 Prohibited Acts, a: 1. Refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of third party consent or authorization. In case of married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses shall be preferred. However in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail.

(There is no difference in the meaning. Still husband or wife can decide to undergo procedures with or without the consent.)

4. Parents, children from age 10 to 17 should be taught their sexual rights and the means to have a satisfying and "safe" sex life as part of their school curriculum? Reproductive Health Education will be mandatory from Grade 5 to the end of High school.

(See SEC. 13. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education, a- l 
/ Read Section 4 Definition of Terms nos. 8. Family Planning, 18. Reproductive Health & 
21. Reproductive Health Rights)  

1. In RH Bill 96; Section 13, i Family Planning Methods
( In case you didn’t know  what information inside Family Planning Methods to be taught in Grade 5 to High School ….just look the original text on RH Bill 5043 Section 12, f Use and application of natural and modern family planning methods )

2. RH Bill 5043 Section 12, g. Abstinence before marriage;
(The teaching of abstinence before marriage was no longer in RH Bill 96. Population and development was added)

5. All of us are subjected to imprisonment and/or pay a fine, for expressing an opinion against any provision of this law, if such expression of opinion is interpreted as constituting "malicious disinformation"

(See Section 21: Prohibited Acts, e / Read Section 23 Penalties)

6. Losing our parental authority over minor child who was raped and found pregnant.

(See RH Bill 96 Section 22 Prohibited Acts, no.2)

1. In RH Bill 5043Section 21 Prohibited Acts: a no.3 the word reproductive health care services were changed in the RH Bill 96 Section 22 Prohibited Acts no.2 to legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures.  

2. In RH Bill 5043, Section 21 Prohibited Acts no. 3 Refuse to provide reproductive health care services to abused pregnant minor on whose case no parental consent is needed.
Now in RH Bill 96 Section 22 Prohibited Acts no.2 In the case of abused minors where parents and/or other family members are the perpetrators as certified to by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), no prior parental consent shall be necessary; and

What if the minor is pregnant, what legal & medically safe procedures are intended to give? Legal and medically safe procedures are not specified.

If the perpetrators are parents, other family members should have consent whatever the legal & medically safe procedures they will give to the abused pregnant minor.

If the perpetrators are other family members, parents should have consent whatever the legal & medically safe procedures they will give to the abused pregnant minor.

6. Reclassifying contraceptives as essential medicines

(See RH Bill 19 Section 9 Family Planning Supplies as Essential Medicines.)

Contraceptives are not essential medicines and it’s not a medicine either because in the first place pregnancy is not an illness that needs a medicine to be cured aside from the fact that most contraceptives cause long term diseases like
  •  Breast tumors and liver tumors
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Eye problems and impairment in one’s vision
  • Compromised immune system
  • Gallbladder diseases and gallstone formation
  • Embolism
  • Jaundice etc.

7. SEC. 10. Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies. –
 a. number of women of reproductive age and couples who want
     to space or limit their children;

 Why distribute contraceptives when it is clear in the bill that its use should only be "when needed" or "when selected or chosen by the couple. The State does not need to distribute these contraceptives to the general population.

Warning !   “Reproductive Age” of a woman begins at puberty which starts at 10 years old. At that young age Family Planning supplies will be distributed?

Section 10 is highly suspicious because it caters to the needs of manufacturers of contraceptives

7. Appropriating limited government funds to reproductive services instead of basic services

(See Section 24: Appropriations)

The government collaborates with the manufacturer of condoms, pills and other artificial methods, procuring their products and using public money to buy all of them.Stop wasting taxpayers money.
Recently DOH asked for a 400 million budget just for buying contraceptives (8 million for condoms / 280 million for contraceptives/ 100 million for injectables) out of 931 million budget for family health program for 2011. Heart disease, Vascular System and Cancer are the top 3 of the Philippines' causes of mortality, Tuberculosis is no. 6.In reality, the prices of medicines of those killer diseases are  still high and marginalized people cannot afford it.

Commercial motives and interest are really behind the passage of this bill because this bill will surely jack up the profits of manufacturers of contraceptives. 

Now its House Bill No. 4244. Whats the difference again with this consolidated  bill? The following questions will be a guide for you to know the latest Reproductive Health Bill 4244 that Cong. Lagman proposed in Congress.

1.             Will the RH bill adversely affect my family?
            The bill provides:  “SEC. 16. Mandatory Age-Appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education. - … shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal education system starting from Grade Five up to Fourth Year High School…to both public and private schools…and shall include, but not limited to, the following topics: … i. Family planning methods; and j. Proscription and hazards of abortion.”  In other words, our elemntary and HS children will be taught contraceptives, condoms and abortion!
            If these topics should be taught, let the parents take the responsibilty because they know the temperament and maturity of their children, which a classroom setting does not consider.  Moreover, these should be taught in the context of Christian values.  Therefore, the government should educate the parents instead of bypassing them and going directly to their children.  Section Art. XV, Sec. 3 (1) provides: “The State shall defend:  The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood…”  This right and duty of parents is usurped by government by teaching the use of contraceptives and Safe Sex to our children inspite of many Catholic parents’ objection since these are against the teachings of the Catholic Church.
2.             Does the RH bill force people to use contraceptives and/or legalize abortion?
No, it does not penalize people for not using contraceptives.  However, it forces some sectors of society to submit to provisions that may be against their faith and parental rights.  This is answered in nos. 1, 9a, 9c, 9d, and 10.
In addition, the bill does not legalize abortion, but it is silent on the abortifacient effect of contraceptives and IUDs.
3.             The proponents of the RH Bill claim that 11 women a day die of pregnancy.  Will the RH Bill reduce this number?
According to the Philippine Health Statistics, there were 9,000 deaths from vehicular accidents.  Should we then discourage or ban vehicular travel?  In the same light, the government should look into the causes of women dying from childbirth, which can vary from lack of pregnancy health care service, including competent service providers, to insuficient medical supplies.  The government should focus its resources to improving these, instead of preventing pregnancy.
4.             Fifty (51%) of women want access to contraceptives which the RH Bill guarantees.
Contraceptives are readily available and the DOH has been distributing contraceptives and condoms costing government is billions of pesos through the years.  Inspite of this, they want to legislate the compulsory purchase of these items by gov’t hospitals.  It is really big business (see no. 10).
Also, surveys cannot be the only basis for giving services and/or products to Filipinos.  For example, if majority of Filipinos want to have guns for self-defense due to increasing crime rate, should the government then issue them guns?
5.             Does the Caholic Church impose her beliefs on its congregation and even to non-Catholics who believe otherwise?
            Sex by God’s design must always be open to life.  This is not mere Catholic teaching but a natural law that applies to all men of whatever race or religious conviction.  It is for this reason that Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae said:  “Of such laws the Church was not the author, nor consequently can she be their arbiter; she is only their depositary and their interpreter, without ever being able to declare to be licit that which is not so by reason of its intimate and unchangeable opposition to the true good of man.”  In other words, she merely proclaims the truth regarding the openness to life of the marital act and the immorality of violating this natural law.  Whether a couple (Catholic or not) listens to her and abides by this principle is not for the Church to interfere.  That is why priests do not ask couples if they are using contraceptives or condoms before giving them communion.  Neither does she prevent government from implementing its population program nor does she excomunicate the manufacturers and distributors of contraceptives and condoms.  It is between them and God.  And God who knows what is in their hearts is the only One who can judge them with compassion.  However, if the Church should stop from speaking out these basic truths because times are changing, she would renege on her pastoral responsibility to her flock.
6.             How certain are we that openness to life of sex is a natural law that applies to all men?
Violation of natural laws brings inevitable consequences.  When contraceptives became legal in the US in 1960, this facilitated the Sexual Revolution of the 60s and 70s.  Sexual promiscuity became prevalent.  In 1968, Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae Vitae warned of the devastating effects of this kind of behavior.  Today, we are witnessing these consequences in society.
a)       Infidelity and Moral Decline – i) Prevalence of single parents; ii) Only two countries in world remain without divorce (the Philippines and Malta); iii) 50% of civil marriages and 33% of Church marriages in the U.S. end in divorce; iv) In the Phils., 3 out of 10 marriages end in separation;
b)       Loss of respect for women – i) Physical violence against women; ii) Rape; iii) Pornography
c)       Abuse of Power by elected leaders – i) Election fraud; ii) Political killings; iii) Political dynasties; iv) Graft and corruption; v) Legislative agenda through the RH Bill and other anti-family life bills
d)       Unlimited Dominion over his own body – i) Abortion became legal in the US in 1973; ii)  Abortion is legal in many countries, including staunchly Catholic countries like Mexico, Spain and Portugal; iii) Same sex marriage iv) Suicide; v) Euthanasia
Other consequences that the pope did not mention are:
a)       The spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and HIV-AIDS.  In 1960, there were only 5 known STDs.  Today, there are more than 20 STDs, and 8 kinds of the HIV-AIDS.  Since its discovery in 1981, 28M people have already died of AIDS and 5 people/min. continue to die.  Over 40M people are now infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.
b)       100 countries, mostly rich countries, are on the brink of a demographic collapse.  Their women have an average of less than the replacement fertility rate of 2 babies/woman.  Inspite of the financial incentives they offer to women to have more babies, they continue to avoid pregnancy.  The contraceptive mentality has set into their culture.  Consequently, their population is aging and they depend of foreign workers to prop up their economies.  One great source for these skilled and talented workers is the Phils., yet the RH bill wants to reduce our population instead of giving education to our people and preparing them for this unprecendented demand for human resources.
7.             Should every sex act, then, end in pregnancy?
            Of course not, because bringing a child to life demands responsibility.  For this reason, a woman is only fertile one day throughout her cycle.  Signs and symptons that tell her she is fertile accompany this day.  With this knowledge, she and her husband may decide to have sex in order to conceive.  If they are postponing pregnancy for some grave reason, this is the time to abstain.  All other days outside this window of fertility are available to them to enjoy their conjugal act.  This is the essence of responsible parenthood, which the Church teaches to engaged couples.
            Contraceptives and condoms make a woman available for sex anytime.  Consequently, any good thing that is enjoyed without restraint loses its value.
           Also, although a woman is only fertile when the ovum is present, which is 12-24 hrs, the window of fertility extends up to 3-4 days due to the life of the sperm. this is the time of abstention if the couple for some grave reasons need to postpone pregnancy. giving her contraceptives or condom for her husband makes sex available anytime and renders her without a choice to say 'no'."
8.             Do contraceptives and condoms give women the right to choose whether to become pregnant or not?
            Women never lose that right since they are the ones who get pregnant.  That is why she can and should say no to her husband when the time is not right.  This is real woman empowerment.  And if he respects her, he will wait a few days.  This is good in making a couple matured and responsible because they learn to discipline themselves instead of simply giving in to their natural desires.
9.             What other constitutional rights does the bill violate?
a)       The RH bill will require:   i) All schools (including Catholic schools) to teach artificial family planning methods to HS students;  ii) Employers to give their employees reproductive health services; iii) Health care service providers to give contraceptives and perform vasecotmy or ligation.  This is a violation of Art. III, Sec. 5 of our Constitution that states:  “…The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed.”
b)       No contraceptive is 100%.  There is a 7% failure rate.  This means there is a slim chance that fertilization may occur.  However, the pill renders the uterus inhospitable to the fertilzed egg, which is unable to attach itself to the uterine lining.  It is therefore ejected out of the body.  This is the meaning of ‘abortifacient’ effect, or chemical abortion.  It is a gross violation of Art. II, Sec. 12 of our Constitution, which states:  “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…”
c)       The RH Bill will allow a person to undergo vasectomy or ligation without the consent of the spouse.  This is a violation of Art. XV, Sec. 2 of our Constitution that states:  “Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.”
d)       The bill will also allow abused and/or pregnant minors to seek reproductive health service without parental consent.  This violates our parental right provided in Art. II, Sec. 12 of our constitution:  “…The natural and primary 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.”
e)       The bill will penalize any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of the bill.  It violates Art. III, Sec. 4 of our Constitution, which provides that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press...”
10.          How much money will the bill spend if implemented?
The proponents of the RH Bill are asking an initial funding of P3Billion!  Part of this is for the purchase contraceptive drugs and devices to be given to the poor.  The bill will also require in Sec. 10 that “products and supplies for modern family planning methods shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.”  This is big business for pharmaceutical companies whose purchase of its products will be required by law!  It is clearly a misappropriation of taxpayer’s money when the billions of pesos they intend to spend could be used for other priorities like education, MRT or NFA subsidy.
11.          Is it true that the bill carries penalties of fines and imprisonement for any violation?
            Yes.  Sec. 29 of the bill provides:  “Any violation of this Act or commission of the foregoing prohibited acts shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Ten Thousand (P 10,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00)…”.  This bill brings us back to the martial law years by the use of force or threats to make people do things against their will or faith.
12.          Who are the authors of this bill?
Ninety four (94) congressmen co-authored this bill.  They are:  Abance-Fuentes, Daisy; Aglipay, Emmeline Y.; Albano Rodolfo B.; Alcover Jr., Pastor M.; Alvarez, Antonio Chaves; Amante-Matba, Ma. Angelica M.; Arquiza, Godofredo V.; Arroyo Jr., Ignacio; Bag-ao, Kaka J.; Baguilat Jr., Teddy Brawner; Banal, Jorge “Bolet”; Bataoil, Leopoldo Nalupa; Batocabe, Rodel M.; Bello, Walden; Belmonte Jr., Vicente Florendo; Biazon, Rodolfo G.; Binay, Mar-len Abigail S.; Bravo Jr., Narciso Recio; Briones, Nicanor M.; Cagas IV, Marc Douglas; Cajayon, Mary Mitzi Lim; Casiño, Teddy A.; Castelo, Winston “Winnie”; Catamco, Nancy Alaan; Celeste,Jesus “Boying” F.; Ceriles, Aurora Enerio; Cojuangco, Enrique Murphy; Cojuangco, Kimi S.; Colmenares, Neri; Datumanong, Simeon A.; De Jesus, Emerenciana; Diaz, Antonio; Duavit, Joel Roy; Dy,Napoleon; Eriguel M.D., Eufranio C.; Escudero IIII, Salvador; Estrella,Robert; Fariñas,Rodolfo Castro; Ferrer, Jeffrey Padilla; Ferriol, Abigail C.; Flores, Jr., Florencio Tadiar; Fua, Orlando Bongcawel; Garin, Jannette L.; Garin, Sharon S.; Go, Arnujlfo Fegarido; Go, Ana Cristina Siquian; Haresco, Teodorico; Ilagan, Luzviminda; Jaafar, Nur Gaspar; Jalosjos, Seth F.; Jalosjos Jr., Romeo; Joson, Josefina Manuel; Kho, David L.; Lacson-Noel, Josephine Veronique; Lagman, Edcel C.; Leonen-Pizarro, Catalina; Lopez, Carol Jayne B.; Loyola, Roy Maulanin; Marcoleta, Rodante D.; Mariano, Rafael V.; Mendoza, Raymond Democrito C.; Obillo, Reena Concepcion G.; Ocampo, Rosenda Ann; Ortega, Emmanuel R.; Ortega, Victor Francisco Campos; Padilla, Carlos Mapili; Paez, Cresente C.; Palatino, Raymond V.; Palmones, Angelo B.; Pangandaman, Mohammed Hussein P.; Pangandaman, Solaiman; Panotes, Elmer Ellaga; Pichay, Philip Arreza; Ping-ay Jose; Quibranza-Dimaporo, Imelda; Radaza, Arturo Ompad; Remulla, Jesus Crispin Catibayan; Rivera, Michael Angelo C.; Sahidulla, Nur-Anan; Sambar, Mark Aeron H.; Serna, Bai Sandra A.; Singson, Ronald V.; Singson Jr., Eric Gacula; Suarez, Danilo Etorma; Syjuco, Augusto; Tinio, Antonio L.; Tomawis, Acmad; Treñas, Jerry Perez; Tupas, Jr., Niel Causing; Vergara, Bernardo Mangaoang; Villafuerte, Luis Robredo; Yap, Susan A.; Yu, Victor Jo; Zubiri III, Jose F.
13.          What can we do?
            Know the truth.  Spread the truth, for only the truth can set us free.  Make your sentiments known to your congressmen so they will vote for what is morally right.  Be vigilant against changing the family provisions of our constitution.  Any system of government is only as good as the people who run it.  If the Filipino family produces children lacking in moral foundation, no system will ever make our country better.  The family is where the battle should be fought.  It is where the war will be won.  God bless us all.
There are many reasons why we should oppose RH Bill 96 or 4244. I'm just thinking if Media or even our President Benigno Aquino knows the loopholes of this bill. I hope he read and really study the bill. The bill's battle cry is Rights....however, if its a right, why there's prohibitions and penalties? 

If there's transparency in Media, this issues are out now and being discussed. Perhaps there will be no more debate on this issues. 

 I am Catholic. A Pro-Lifer. I will continue to defend life from womb to tomb.