Authored by Resty Odon. Reposting with permission.
War of religions?
The above article caused me to issue a major groan. I think Jesuit priest and constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas went overboard this time by wrongly framing the RH Bill debate as a war of religions. We prolife and anti-RH Bill advocates are against which religion exactly? We oppose this bill not to impose our own faith on others and with conscientious respect for religions other than ours. We’ve been opposing this bill since the start careful not to use the religious angle, using the angle only to show how the bill will be onerous to us who want to simply practice our faith. What are you up to, Fr. Bernas?!? You’re unbelievable, to put it mildly.
As far as I can see, people have been opposing the bill from the standpoints of: common sense; the law/constitutionality and long-term legal implications; media coverage, mythmaking, and PR wars; basic human rights (including female/women’s rights and more specifically, religious freedom (and not the right to religious arrogation); medicine, especially embryology, obstetrics/gynecology, and pharmacology; sociology, including the family; economics; demographic science (statistics, mathematics); ecology/environmental science; linguistics; basic education; psychology including developmental psychology and human sexuality; taxation and public spending; accounting, public administration, local politics and the culture of corruption; the workplace; Third World studies, Western hegemony and the foreign funding trail; and racism, eugenics and social engineering.
Granting we use Catholic theology and religion to back up our arguments, like I’ve said before, remove this aspect, and we will still oppose the bill because it is fundamentally flawed on ALL THE ABOVE LEVELS. How?
1 – Common sense
People have been freely contracepting themselves since the ’60s. Contraceptive mentality is already deeply embedded in the culture that there is hardly a need to reindoctrinate. Notice the vulgar ads. Just visit any health center and hospital and see how doctors and nurses conduct their affairs. Existing laws and DOH regulations already have provisions for maternal health care, so why the redundancy?
2 – The law, constitutionality, and long-term legal implications
Some, or many, contraceptives are abortifacients, making these automatically illegal because abortion still means murder of the unborn according to our constitution. Other legal loopholes have been noticed by legal experts pertaining to freedom of religion, freedom of expression/censorship, freedom of choice (ironic, since RH supporters call themselves pro-choice), etc. Additionally, the term ‘reproductive right’ sounds too uncomfortable, possibly opening the floodgates to new invented rights in the future.
3 – Media coverage, mythmaking, and PR wars
Manipulative headlines, inaccurate and out-of-context quotes to embarass or shame prolife sources, biased journalists and columnists, the possible use of spurious ‘scientific’ findings, and the questionable silence on other aspects of the Bill all point to a politicking of truth that makes one wonder what’s in the agenda other than what we read at face value. All this makes the RH Bill all the more suspect.
4 – Basic human rights (including female/women’s rights and more specifically, religious freedom (and not religious arrogation)
The effrontery of the crafters of the Bill to even attempt to infringe on basic human rights, with nary a hue and cry from the usual suspects (the hypervigilant liberal and/or leftist camp): freedom of expression, freedom of religion, right to life of the unborn, right of families to determine size, right of parents to educate children on sexual matters, the right of the individual or any group not to use contraceptives at all if it is against their belief! By fighting for religious freedom, we are, in fact, protecting all other religions. Is this a war of religions?
5 – Medicine, especially embryology, obstetrics/gynecology, pharmacology
The Bill turns a blind eye on the fact that life begins at fertilization, and certain contraceptives can kill a human being, cause breast cancer, and pose other high health risks due to other serious side effects.
The Bill coerces hospitals, doctors, and nurses/medical caregivers into automatically providing ‘RH services’ even when it is against their will, that is why this Bill is called fascistic (and this is just one reason why).
6 – Sociology, including the family
Supporters cite the popularity of population control/family planning through contraceptive use through survey upon survey, as though right and wrong, and human rights and human wrongs, should be determined by popularity. They confuse democracy with basic law precepts.
Meanwhile, the family, the basic unit of society, has been attempted to be redefined in terms of size, as in China’s one-child policy.
7 – Economics
The Bill presupposes in an appallingly reductionist thinking that population is a burden that must be minimized or a problem that must be eliminated to maintain a wasteful, terribly inequitable status quo. Other glaring factors are not even considered: the mismanagement of the economy, high-level corruption, etc.
8 – Demographic science (statistics/mathematics) and geography
The Bill wrongly assumes that overpopulation is an established fact rather than more of a perception, as though people have never taken an airplane ride or climbed mountains. It turns a blind eye on the sure and certain and irreversible demographic winter that is to come blighting all nations that have adopted a zero population growth policy.
9 – Ecology/Environmental science
The Bill assumes man as a disrupter of ecological balance, without considering the difference between human population and man’s environmentally abusive/destructive practices. Rabid environmentalists never consider nature’s built-in capacity to restore balance, if there is indeed a dire need, through pandemics, apocalytic natural calamities, localized famines, world wars, and the like. They turn a blind eye on the fact that technological knowhow/advances enable global food production to more than exceed human consumption, and all forms of food shortages are staged to maintain or jack up prices.
Additionally, have they heard how condoms clog canals, and how pills released into the water systems turn certain fishes into hermaphrodites?
10 – Linguistics
Especially irsksome is the use of specious wording and phrasing by lobbyists and the Bill itself, not realizing that the Bill has been framed from questionable assumptions about population, human rights, and human sexuality. The sheer amount of creative euphemisms used in the debate would have been so ridiculously laughable if it were not too heartbreaking: pregnancy as disease; contraceptives as essential medicine; sex as a danger to be protected against with condom as protection; contraception as safe motherhood, family planning, responsible parenthood, sexual health, and now reproductive health right; conception as embryonic implantation; and so on. What’s next? Abortion as fetal reduction, euthanasia/assisted suicide as advanced directive, homosexuality as sexual preference or, worse, gender identity?
11 – Basic education
The Bill proposes secular sex education on children even in their tender nonsexual stage! If you have been a child or has ever had a child, this is simply unbelievable.
12 – Psychology and human sexuality
The Bill’s presuppositions on human sexuality and management is too secular and utilitarian, reducing sex to a dangerous recreation and men and women as objects of entertainment, instead of the intention of sex (as originally interpreted by various faiths) as a sacred, intimate act between a man and a woman in marriage. Alternately, the sexual act is reduced to its procreative and economically theatening nature, entirely divorced from its other more important context (the unitive aspect). The Bill will, in fact, legalize all these aberrant views of human sexuality.
Also, have pro-RH people heard of post-abortion survivor syndrome among both the surviving mother and the child? Is there a special provision for them? How about the effect on women’s self-esteem of their objectification on a massive, legalized scale?
13 – Taxation and public spending
The Bill appropriates tax money for projects whose philosophical core is offensive to Catholic teaching and Catholic followers who are also taxpayers. If pro-RH people and their foreign sponsors are really after combating poverty, why not use the funds instead on infrastructure modernization, technology transfers, personnel training, job creation, etc.?
If all these people are really against poverty, then where are they on issues that may yet be the real causes of poverty (which ironically may be the cause of ‘overpopulation,’ which is really overcrowding in city and town centers)? Where, oh, where are their vociferous opposition and vehement manifestos (and tweets and posts) on patronage politics, culture of impunity, culture of corruption, monopolies or cartels and other unacceptable business practices, social inequity and inequitable legislations, vastly landed oligarchy, debt condonation, unfair labor laws and employment practices? Where are they in the fight against homelessness, street children, the grinding subhuman poverty among urban dwellers, other marginalized sectors of society, where? — apart from their effort at intensive condom distribution, that is?
(And where am I?, I might be asked. Well, I’m the middle of it, suffering in pain.)
14 – The workplace
The Bill requires all employers to provide ‘RH services’ to all employees regardless of the employer’s or employee’s choice. Again, fascistic, onerous, oppressive.
15 – Third World studies, Western hegemony and foreign funding trail
Supporters of the Bill refuse to see how this Bill, through subtle pressure from outside, is really a precondition for foreign aid — in aid of population control, that is.
16 – Accounting, public administration, local politics and the culture of corruption
Is there a system in place to see whether every centavo spent is spent in really advancing the supposedly good aims of the Bill? Supporters of the Bill can’t see how foreign aid could be another chance to line political pockets at the expense of the poor. Exhibit A: Maguindanao and the Ampatuans.
17 – Racism, eugenics and social engineering
Supporters of the Bill turn a blind eye on the implicit message of foreign funders who make no secret of their aim to reduce colored ‘races,’ to stop them from further burgeoning and threatening to be their competitors for the world’s finite resources. Isn’t the RH Bill based too much on fear?
Lastly, Fr. Bernas, in case you still insist despite all of the above that Catholics are indeed imposing their own religion, then what do you call the RH Bill, but an imposition of another religion, atheistic secularism?
See Willy Jose’s objections:
See also Meg Francisco’s objections to the most recent version from a legal point of view: