Antonio J. Montalvan II
Philippine Daily Inquirer
YOU WERE born yesterday. Your science is outdated. Your faith should be schizophrenic—leave it at your doorsteps.
That, in recap, seemed to be what pro-RH Bill adherents are saying to those who oppose it. Watching ANC’s “Harapan” more than a week ago, the time has come for us to shift to what is not being said because these actually speak volumes. To get anywhere near the truth which precisely cannot be afforded any denial is what is owed to a public on the verge of making an informed decision. But by arguing with the “follow what I say, not what I do” mode?
Edcel Lagman, for instance, was clearly caught on the defensive when confronted with what he had repeatedly claimed, that the RH Bill is not a population measure. Lagman could not counter the fact either that the Philippine population growth rate has been steadily declining. Why the need for the bill?
Esperanza Cabral did not deny saying that the pill can cause breast cancer. Yet that fact is slurred over by pro-RH advocates precisely because it will demolish their cause. I am sure Cabral did not commit a boo-boo. She is a medical doctor and knows the truth and for that we must be grateful to her. In fact, we must now use her statement as a mantra. The medical evidence on the link between contraception and breast cancer is well established. But in downplaying that fact of science, is that not lying?
Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel kept on saying “no name calling” yet could not stop colleague Carlos Celdran from making an unkind cut on the still-speaking Joey Lina by saying, audibly to televiewers, “liar!” Who started the Damaso trend of name-tagging anyway? Wow, so much integrity is indeed at stake here, let alone proper manners.
A Thomas-Aquinas-quoting Sylvia Estrada Claudio admitted she was no Catholic yet could not explain how the RH Bill could in fact impose its domination on those who deem it contrary to their faith. Imagine an employer who is Catholic face the specter of jail if that employer refuses to make available contraceptive services to employees.
Again, the mikes picked up Carlos Celdran, muttering audibly without being asked, that “We have the Pulse Asia and SWS surveys behind us, where the respondents did not have to pay 2.50 to text in their answers.” Precisely, the inutile selectivity for surveys. We are pleased with them only when the results are in our favor. But when a soaring 65 percent is against the bill?
It is the taxpaying public who will pay the costs of the RH Bill, truly a bonanza to multinational pharmaceuticals. Going base in denying the truth about contraception is a vicious approach at educating the public. That approach will be futile: the history of contraception is long.
We have much to learn from one of the most astute contraception magistrates of the world. To Hillary Rodham Clinton goes that credit. At the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in Gatineau, Canada, Clinton chastised the host Canadian government, a conservative at that moment, for focusing on maternal health by omitting discussions on contraception.
“I’m not going to speak for what Canada decides, but I will say that I’ve worked in this area for many years. And if we’re talking about maternal health, you cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.” (underscoring mine)
There you have it. A bogey it is not.
Besides the Cabral mantra we must now chant, add the Clinton mantra that contraception and abortion are, verily, conjoined twins. Thank you, Mrs. Clinton.
The US Secretary of State could not have skimmed over the fact that in Canada, the birth control pill was legalized there in 1969, the same year it legalized abortion. Just a year after, Canada Statistics reported 11,152 abortions. Today that number is a whopping 106,418, a ten-fold increase since 1970. And yet how pervasive is contraceptive use in Canada? The World Health Organization reports that “among Canadian women age 15-44, 86 percent report using the pill.”
“There is no culture or subculture in the world that has permitted contraception and then has not gone on to permit abortion,” writes Natalie Hudson in “The Contraception Misconception.”
“As acceptance of contraception increases, so does acceptance of abortion. Why is this the case? Because at the root of contraception is the notion that a couple can engage in sexual activity and avoid its natural consequences. Couples who unintentionally conceive a child while using contraception are far more likely to resort to abortion than others.
“Contraception alters our understanding of human sexuality by changing its purpose. The effects are far reaching and affect the way that we understand relationships, gender roles and the human person. Contraception has historically been promoted as a means of women’s emancipation, yet ironically it has led to a 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 young or marginalized women.”
“It is a sin to tell a lie,” medical doctor Rep. Janet Garin, sworn to the Hippocratic oath, says. If my understanding is correct, I suppose the Garin Morality also covers not lying to the public that now has to make an informed decision on the RH Bill? Transpose that to a doctor not disclosing all the medical consequences to a patient. No wonder the ignorance is much.
Now comes Death knocking on the Philippines’ doors. But chant the mantras.
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Monday, 16 May 2011
Antonio J. Montalvan II