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My stand on the RH Bill

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I HAVE been following the debates on the RH Bill not just in the recent House sessions but practically since its start. In the process, because of what I have said and written (where I have not joined the attack dogs against the RH Bill), I have been called a Judas by a high-ranking cleric, I am considered a heretic in a wealthy barangay where some members have urged that I should leave the Church (which is insane), and one of those who regularly hears my Mass in the Ateneo Chapel in Rockwell came to me disturbed by my position. I feel therefore that I owe some explanation to those who listen to me or read my writings.

First, let me start by saying that I adhere to the teaching of the Church on artificial contraception even if I am aware that the teaching on the subject is not considered infallible doctrine by those who know more theology than I do. Moreover, I am still considered a Catholic and Jesuit in good standing by my superiors, critics notwithstanding!

Second (very important for me as a student of the Constitution and of church-state relations), I am very much aware of the fact that we live in a pluralist society where various religious groups have differing beliefs about the morality of artificial contraception. But freedom of religion means more than just the freedom to believe. It also means the freedom to act or not to act according to what one believes. Hence, the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their religious belief nor may churchmen compel President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious belief. As the “Compendium on the Social Teaching of the Catholic Church” says, “Because of its historical and cultural ties to a nation, a religious community might be given special recognition on the part of the State. Such recognition must in no way create discrimination within the civil or social order for other religious groups” and “Those responsible for government are required to interpret the common good of their country not only according to the guidelines of the majority but also according to the effective good of all the members of the community, including the minority.”

Third, I am dismayed by preachers telling parishioners that support for the RH Bill ipso facto is a serious sin or merits excommunication! I find this to be irresponsible.

Fourth, I have never held that the RH Bill is perfect. But if we have to have an RH law, I intend to contribute to its improvement as much as I can. Because of this, I and a number of my colleagues have offered ways of improving it and specifying areas that can be the subject of intelligent discussion. (Yes, there are intelligent people in our country.) For that purpose we jointly prepared and I published in my column what we called “talking points” on the bill.

Fifth, specifically I advocate removal of the provision on mandatory sexual education in public schools without the consent of parents. (I assume that those who send their children to Catholic schools accept the program of Catholic schools on the subject.) My reason for requiring the consent of parents is, among others, the constitutional provision which recognizes the sanctity of the human family and “the natural and primary right of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character.” (Article II, Section 12)

Sixth, I am pleased that the bill reiterates the prohibition of abortion as an assault against the right to life. Abortifacient pills and devices, if there are any in the market, should be banned by the Food and Drug Administration. But whether or not there are such is a question of scientific fact of which I am no judge.

Seventh, I hold that there already is abortion any time a fertilized ovum is expelled. The Constitution commands that the life of the unborn be protected “from conception.” For me this means that sacred life begins at fertilization and not at implantation.

Eighth, it has already been pointed out that the obligation of employers with regard to the sexual and reproductive health of employees is already dealt with in the Labor Code. If the provision needs improvement or nuancing, let it be done through an examination of the Labor Code provision.

Ninth, there are many valuable points in the bill’s Declaration of Policy and Guiding Principles which can serve the welfare of the nation and especially of poor women who cannot afford the cost of medical service. There are specific provisions which give substance to these good points. They should be saved.

Tenth, I hold that public money may be spent for the promotion of reproductive health in ways that do not violate the Constitution. Public money is neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Muslim or what have you and may be appropriated by Congress for the public good without violating the Constitution.

Eleventh, I leave the debate on population control to sociologists.

Finally, I am happy that the CBCP has disowned the self-destructive views of some clerics.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/killadajoker Denis Chanco

    family planning and sex education are 2 different things….If our youths were aware of the dangers of having to many children in such a young age, children they cannot support..then this problem would have been a distant memory..you would not have 95 million by the end of this year..empower the youth with knowledge, not ignorance…68 % of pregnant women are averaging 12 to 19 yrs old..and getting sucked into the cycle of poverty…. let them know straight up–if you have kids right now–with no degree or education or rich parents—your life is done—welcome to the cycle

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HHP65I3QD56RWEFXMC7ZKH3NJU Lian Galera

      you said —–  “family planning and sex education are 2 different things..”

      I say —-  Yeah, i think you know the difference between family planning education and sex education as espoused by this rh bill.  And you just want to promote your brand of sex education. 

      Family planning promotes knowledge and education on how to  be responsible parents. 

      On the other hand this rh bill ‘enforced sex education’ promotes the brainwashing of our children;  that it is alright to just go about copulating without regard for self respect and human dignity.  The ‘sex ed’ as espoused by the rh bill is not really education.  It is just an instrument to enforce upon our youth this foreign culture of  ‘contraception mentality”. 

      We do not want your ‘sex ed’ for our children.  
       
      We should instead empower our youth with proper knowledge and good family values to promote self discipline and responsible behavior.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HHP65I3QD56RWEFXMC7ZKH3NJU Lian Galera

      you said —–  “family planning and sex education are 2 different things..”

      I say —-  Yeah, i think you know the difference between family planning education and sex education as espoused by this rh bill.  And you just want to promote your brand of sex education. 

      Family planning promotes knowledge and education on how to  be responsible parents. 

      On the other hand this rh bill ‘enforced sex education’ promotes the brainwashing of our children;  that it is alright to just go about copulating without regard for self respect and human dignity.  The ‘sex ed’ as espoused by the rh bill is not really education.  It is just an instrument to enforce upon our youth this foreign culture of  ‘contraception mentality’. 

      We do not want your ‘sex ed’ for our children.  
       
      We should instead empower our youth with proper knowledge and good family values to promote self discipline and responsible behavior.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IEOXED6PYUVWJE5B5CC7TNGEUQ ircx m

    It isn’t rocket science that Philippines has a population problem when we are the 12th most populated country in the world and yet 72nd in total land area. Go figure.

  • Anonymous

    RH bill for me is important coz dis is the only way how to improve the life of the people…people now a days   are not aware on what is happening to the world, they just simply do wat they want by not realizing what would be the effect of having unsafe sex. after all, when they got pregnant, they will abort the baby in the womb of the mother and death will occur BETWEEN OF THEM. By using contraception, it will lessen the poverty of the people and it will not cause over population in the country. I AM PRO-RH BILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!YEAHHHHHH!!!! SUPPORT IT GUYS…THANKS… 

    • Anonymous

      RH bill for me is important coz dis is the only way how to improve the life of the people…people now a days   are not aware on what is happening to the world, they just simply do wat they want by not realizing what would be the effect of having unsafe sex. after all, when they got pregnant, they will abort the baby in the womb of the mother and death will occur. by using contraception, it will lessen the poverty of the people and it will not cause over population in the country. I AM PRO-RH BILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!YEAHHHHHH!!!! SUPPORT IT GUYS…THANKS… 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HHP65I3QD56RWEFXMC7ZKH3NJU Lian Galera

      you said — “RH bill for me is important coz dis is the only way how to improve the
      life of the people…people now a days   are not aware on what is
      happening to the world… ”

      I say — People know more than you think… It is being irresponsible despite the knowledge, that is causing a lot of problems.  First try to make a solution to correct this irresponsibility. 

      Sadly giving out condoms and pills condones ‘irresponsibility’ rather than correcting it.  Instilling in people a culture of contraception does not make them responsible.  It just conditions them to put less value on human dignity and self respect.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TEN4T7Z2XVN2BJGBTHERTOX3XY Nothing Somerthing

      for me its very wrong to say that overpopulated or many girl are being pregnant!!! it because of there own  choice to do!! such horrable thing!! to have sex with others !!! cause those person who do that is those who have lose there self respect!! and when you tell that we are ovewr populated!! were not!! ove populated! there so many place to live but !! rather you well say!!! there were no proper house!!! 

      because of those person who have owned many land!!! heheheheE!!!!!!!! peace!!!!!!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HHP65I3QD56RWEFXMC7ZKH3NJU Lian Galera

    Family planning promotes knowledge and education on how to  be responsible parents. 

    On
    the other hand this rh bill ‘enforced sex education’ promotes the
    brainwashing of our children;  that it is alright to just go about
    copulating without regard for self respect and human dignity.  The ‘sex
    ed’ as espoused by the rh bill is not really education.  It is just an
    instrument to enforce upon our youth this foreign culture of 
    ‘contraception mentality’. 

    We do not want this ‘enforced sex ed’ for our children.  

     

    We
    should instead empower our youth with proper knowledge and good family
    values to promote self discipline and responsible behavior.

    • http://www.facebook.com/killadajoker Denis Chanco

      thats why its called education..its educating the youth in dangers of having sex in a young age..and having to many kids you cannot afford to raise..or letting them know without a college education you cannot have a decent job, enough to support a family..so let them know..instead of letting find out when it is already to late..the youth is dumb enough as it is..empower them with education not paranoia or fairytales…

    • http://www.facebook.com/avanzuela Apolonia Vanzuela

      exactly,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • http://twitter.com/athenachrista Athena Christa

    Twelfth, I believe that bearing kids without even having the means to give them a decent meal, a safe home and a possible future is a greater evil than using contraceptives.



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