By: John Walter B. Juat, 4th yr UP DILIMAN student. Reposting with permission.
in response to RH: Through the Eyes of the Youth
First and foremost, I would like to share my views on the quote “Ang reproductive health ay tungkol sa karapatan ng bawat isa” I would like to believe that, because I also am in a quest that all of us, young or old, fat or thin, big or small, girl or boy, share the same rights. It does sound really pleasing to hear, that reproductive health is about the rights of everyone. However, if you think about it critically, is reproductive health really the only right that we fight for? “Reproductive Health is a license given to married couples. A right is something that we must inherently have by the mere fact that we are human”, said a friend of mine. I am not against reproductive health, but I am against the taking away of other rights as a consequence of achieving that right which is only given within the context of marriage. What about the rights of the unborn child? What about the right of women to give birth? Should the RH bill be passed, reproductive health (which in fact is a license) will take away other important rights.
The youth is a major stakeholder of this RH bill. I very much agree. Issues are overwhelming when it comes to teenage unplanned pregnancy, rape, STDs, maternal deaths and so on and so forth. I agree that this should be addressed. However, RH bill is not the way to solve it. In fact it will worsen it. One can never let go of the anti-life mentality that is instilled in the RH bill. When contraceptives are being promoted, it will give an idea that it is ok to have sex with anyone, anytime, anywhere, as long as you are “safe and protected”. Moreover, it is a big misconception that contraceptives are safe because the medical field can state countless side effects of these contraceptives, and some are even abortifacient. If it prevents fertilization, it still has an abortifacient effect on the minds of the people because pregnancy now becomes unwanted. Should the contraceptive device or method failed, and a fetus is formed, it does not take away the fact that it is still unwanted, and this lead people to consider abortion. People say that by using contraceptives, one become responsible because you avoid pregnancy. Is this really responsibility? NO. Responsibility is taking the consequences of your actions. Sex, in its design should be for the unity of the couple (man and woman) and open to life. What happened to openness to life? If the problem happens to be rape and teenage pregnancy, then the most logical remedy would be to focus on values education, and to conduct parenting seminars so that the parents will be better equipped on raising their children on this very sensitive and important topic in which a lot are uncomfortable to talk about. Strengthen the values that these may be avoided, not provide an excuse that will justify something wrong. On the issue of healthcare and maternal deaths, the way to eliminate or lessen it is to fund health workers, improve medical facilities, be able to get regular prenatal check-up. This is where the money should go.
On sexuality education, it should not be done in a school setting. It is the duty of the parents and not the teachers to instruct the students about sex, as it is a very sensitive topic, and must only be explained to them when they are ready. Pro-RH bill advocates say it is age-appropriate sex education. How would one qualify age-appropriate? Each of us matures at different paces. Some may be able to deal with the topic of sex when he/she is 12 years old, while others may be ready at 14. It is very important that it is the parents who do the sex education because it is them who know their child best, and it is important that sex won’t be something malicious for them. In a large class, a teacher might not even know the student in a personal level, and may just go on and teach the curriculum. Do they care if the child is ready or not? I don’t think so. Besides, how would the teacher know if the student is ready to comprehend a topic that is very sensitive? It has been stated that it is not something easy to talk about, and that parents are shy, or they are not sure when the best time is to teach the child about sex. The solution, which the RH bill suggests, is a comprehensive age-appropriate sex education in a school setting. It is not only 1 subject, but what is scarier is that it will be integrated to Mathematics, English, and other subjects. Even if students are allowed to be pulled out by their parents who do not wish to take part of the sex-education part, it is not a feasible remedy. Students who are pulled out will miss out on skills, and his/her classmates will end up just talking to the student about what he/she missed, and now the source of information on sex will be based on the information and understanding of the classmate, which most likely spark wrong curiosity and malice. Instead of focusing on sex education, why not fund for better classrooms, better resources, and higher salary for teachers so that their proficiency in Math, Science, English, Filipino and other subjects may improve. Again, I am for sex-education, but this must be done at home, and only by the parents.
I do agree that all must be treated equally regardless of sexual orientation, but I believe that the RH bill will not be a solution to this. There can be a separate law that can answer to violence against LGBT, but this bill will only encourage more, who may be confused of their sexual orientation to be brave and live out what think they are. Attraction is a part of being human, so attraction to the same sex is not wrong, but it is an issue that should be addressed. We should be able to help them and guide them back, not make fun of them, disrespect them and be scared of them. They are part of the community, and there should not be any discrimination, but what the RH bill can do is in fact to give them encouragement. If it remains at a level of attraction, it is okay, but if sexual actions come in, it is a big risk. Studies show that most cases of HIV in our country is from sexual activities of people of the same sex.
Next I would want to comment on being marginalized. It is true that this is an issue that we want to solve. We want even the poorest of the poor to have all their rights. It is good to exercise freedom and have power to make informed choices. I have nothing against that, but this becomes a risk when and if the RH bill will be made into a law. Choices are good, but who does this information come from? Who is this someone who will inform the person? The government? The Church? The family? This is one question that is very important to answer. I do not believe that people really lack choices. It is precisely the lack of the foundation of values that mistakes are made. There is already informed choice even without the RH bill; it’s just that people are not strong enough to accept what is right. As a result, they find other ways in order to be able to do what they want, even if they know it is wrong.
The solution to the country’s problem is proper allocation of funds and the strengthening of the values we have. We are a nation that is pro-life, pro-family, and pro-God. We must be strong in these values at all cost. Though people don’t like the idea of using God too much in the arguments, one can never take away the concept of morality. Every law made should be for the common good. We must at all cost protect and uphold the family, as this is the basic unit of society. As a youth, a concerned citizen and as someone who loves our country dearly, I know that the RH bill will only make our country’s problems worse. Let us not sacrifice morality for money. Let us working on reviving the Filipino values, protecting the family and valuing life, and I believe that we are on a continuous uphill climb to progress in our beloved country.