Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), in a move to show the government and the Catholic Church’s vehement opposition to the RH Bill, issued a Pastoral Letter entitled: “Choosing Life, Rejecting the RH Bill.” In an attempt to counter the points raised by the bishops against the Reproductive Health Bill, a certain Faith Bacon commented on each point tit-for-tat.
She commented against four of the arguments posted in the pastoral letter. Here are her counterarguments against CBCP’s pastoral letter and my answer to her answer:
CBCP Pastoral Letter: Contraceptives are hazardous to women’s health since they cause cancer.
Faith Bacon (FB): Research will show this to be false. There is no conclusive medical finding that backs this up. On the contrary, the National Cancer Institute in their website cites that use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Need we say more?
My Answer: The question begs an answer and my answer is yes. There is some things that are needed to be said about the issue that “contraceptives cause cancer.” The fact is, she failed to tell her readers about other kinds of cancer that may result from taking contraceptive pills. She just focused on “ovarian cancer” and just made a sweeping conclusion that there are no “conclusive findings that proves that contraceptives causes cancer.” Contraceptive pills result in the increase of risk in contracting breast and cervical cancer. An article from Cancer Help website agree with the argument found in the CBCP pastoral letter. A study made by Dr. Gerard Nadal also agree with the argument that contraceptive causes breast cancer. Read the article of Dr Gerard Nadal about the link of contraception, abortion and breast cancer. Contraceptive pills may lower the risk of some types of cancer but it also causes the increase in risk on other types of cancers, so the most prudent position to take is for women not to take contraceptive pills.
CBCP Pastoral Letter: Use of condoms cannot prevent HIV-AIDs.
FB: Everyone knows this to be false! the only other alternative is abstinence which the Bishops are advocating of course.
My Answer: FB failed to inform her readers that condoms have failure rate that is not widely publicized by condom manufacturers. A conservative estimate says that 2% to 6% of condom can break or fall off during sexual intercourse. Other studies mentioned annual failure rate for condoms as high as 36%. HIV/AIDS is a very dangerous disease and because of this fact, 2% to 6% is large enough to make a person, who is active in sex-life with multiple partners, to be condemned to a lifetime suffering because of HIV/AIDS.
It should also be noted the comparative case between Thailand and the Philippines. In 1984, Philippines started seeing AIDS cases and on that same year Thailand initiated the “100% Condom Use Program.” Condom vending machines were put in public places and vigorous condom promotion was done. Philippines, on the other hand, turned on the promotion of abstinence. In 1999 the UNAIDS reported 755,000 total confirmed cases of HIV infection in Thailand with 65,000 dead of the disease. That same year, in the Philippines, the total number of HIV cases was only 1,005 with only 225 people died because of the disease. By August 2003, 899,000 HIV/AIDS cases were documented in Thailand and about 125,000 deaths were attributed to HIV. In the Philippines, as of September 30, 2003, there were 1,946 AIDS cases resulting in 260 deaths.
It should be noted that abstinence is more effective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. 2% to 6% failure rate of condoms really matters when it comes to HIV/AIDS. Thus, CBCP is not wrong in its insistence on abstinence and sex for married couples only. The experience of Thailand shows us that condoms and contraception give people an illusion that they are 100% “protected” from HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. This illusion is further reinforced by deceptive marketing strategies of condom manufacturers. Because of this illusion, people will engage in more extra-marital and pre-marital sexual activities and many people will have multiple sex partners.
CBCP Pastoral Letter: Contraception will NOT reduce abortion.
FB: A study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute have shown that use of contraception will drastically reduce abortions from the current 600,000 to 100,000. That is half a million abortions prevented if only we provide RH information and services.
My Answer: It is a fact that people who use condoms or other artificial contraceptive methods avoid having a child. It is also a fact that artificial contraceptive methods fail. As I had mentioned previously, condoms have a failure rate of 2% to 6% (conservative estimates) up to 36% (based on other studies). Studies say that typical use of combined oral contraceptive pills prevents a diagnosed pregnancy in only 90 to 96 percent of women. This means that four to 10 women out of every 100 using the pill for one year will have a diagnosed pregnancy. So, what will happen if a woman avoiding pregnancy got pregnant even if she uses contraceptive pills and her partner uses condoms? The normal recourse is to look for an abortionist and have her baby aborted.
With the promotion of contraception, many people will do irresponsible sex life and many women will have “unwanted” pregnancies. With the rise of “unwanted’ pregnancies, the number of abortion clinics will also rise. This is just simple application of the law of “supply and demand.”
CBCP Pastoral Letter: Women should not have power over their bodies. (Allegedly written in the pastoral letter)
FB: And they say this is “post-modern spirit”. From what rock did these Bishops crawl from. It is POST-MODERN and the year is many many millions of years AD already. Women have fought for over a century to “have power over their bodies” and dominion over all.
My Answer: Nowhere in CBCP’s pastoral letter says that “women should not have power over their bodies.” For clarification, let me quote the part of the pastoral letter that Faith Bacon is commenting about (emphasis mine):
Advocates also assert that the RH Bill empowers women with ownership of their own bodies. This is in line with the post-modern spirit declaring that women have power over their own bodies without the dictation of any religion. How misguided this so-called “new truth” is! For, indeed, as created by God our bodies are given to us to keep and nourish. We are stewards of our own bodies and we must follow God’s will on this matter according to an informed and right conscience. Such a conscience must certainly be enlightened and guided by religious and moral teachings provided by various religious and cultural traditions regarding the fundamental dignity and worth of human life.
The Church respects the free will of people and the pastoral letter underlined that fact. We are stewards of our bodies and that we can do whatever we want with it. You can drink as many contraceptive pills as you want. You can have sex to whomever you want. You can maim, torture, or destroy your own self if you want. The Church only guides and reminds you that your body is given to you by God to keep and nourish. Natural law, which emanated from Divine law, dictates that any living organism will do whatever it takes to keep itself safe. Yes, you can hurt yourself or even torture yourself, but you are doing is wrong because it goes against the natural law.
The fact is that women and men already have this “power over their bodies.” Anyone can buy contraceptives from drugstores, without any person or even the Church preventing them. FB and allies do not need an external force, like the government, for them to exercise their “power over their bodies.”
For the final paragraph, it seems that FB already lost her ammunition when it comes to the economic part of the RH Bill. She just said:
I will not dignify the statement on population and poverty because I will not fall into that trap. We have always posit that population may not be the sole reason for people being poor but it is a major determinant. We use the pie or the cake as a classic graphic example. Need we say more???
I will not dignify her comment about population and poverty because she failed to elaborate. What about the mysterious pie or cake? Well, Filipinos for Life contributor Abraham Llera already gobbled up that pie/cake arguments of theirs. Want to know how he gobbled that pie/cake argument? I suggest that you visit the “I Oppose the RH Bill” Facebook page and ask him ahout it. He is an active member there.
Need we say more? Oh, yes. They really need to say more but they don’t want to say it, that is why Filipino for Life was formed to say what is being left unsaid by the pro-RH camp.
Many people, specifically the pro-RH camp, reacted about CBCP’s pastoral letter. This post is not meant to FB alone but also to all of those who have dissenting opinion about the pastoral letter.
Read about FB’s article here.