By Dennis Yu1
1. Dissecting the RH Bill
a. The problem being addressed by the Bill
The latest version of the RH Bill2 does not refer to any specific problem related to demography. It does not mention at all the typical justification of population-control-to-eradicate-poverty. This version3 refers to reproductive health per se. The Philippines, according to this Bill, needs a law on reproductive health. By implication, it says that the Philippines does not have any law that addresses the reproductive health needs, an implication that is incorrect since there are already laws that address many of the provisions of the Bill.4
The Bill seeks to address the reproductive rights of everyone. In Section 2, it affirms that there is such a thing as reproductive right and that such right is part of the human rights. It cites the international agreements where the Philippines is a signatory implying that the Philippines has to comply with its promises. What is not written in the Bill, though, is that the Philippines signed these agreements as the condition for receiving loans from international financial institutions.5
Paradoxically, however, the current head of International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, says that the “Philippines is in the enviable position of having a young population and a fast-growing work force, whereas most advanced countries and even some emerging markets in Asia have populations that are aging rapidly.”6
b. The objective of the Bill
The main objective of the Bill is to give everyone of his/her reproductive rights. In its words, it gives the Filipinos a “safe and satisfying sex life”7 and the “possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences.”8
c. The means to be employed
There are basically two means to achieve this objective: distribution of contraceptives and sex education. Put another way: educating the people how to use contraceptives. This may sound too simplistic, but at the end of the day, that is what the Bill is trying to do.
2. Internal contradictions of the Bill
The bill looks harmless and seems pro-women. But a careful reading of the bill brings several internal contradictions which include the bill’s sections related to the prevention of teen pregnancies, the right to life of the unborn and post-abortion care. I will be commenting these three areas as I go through the next three sections of the paper: the damaging effects of the bill on (1) the person and (2) on the family, and the (3) role of the State.
3. The Bill’s damaging effects on the person
i. The health risks of contraception
The pharmaceutical companies emphasize the benefits of their product and hide the negative effects. The Bill speaks of punishing any healthcare personnel who withholds information on the RH.9 But does the Bill require aggressive and complete transparency as regards the negative effects of contraceptives? The user should know the possible abortive effect of some contraceptives: that she is possibly killing her own child. There should be a warning in big bold letters just like the health warning in the cigarettes: SMOKING KILLS. To cite just one of the many health risks: “Oral contraceptive use > 1 year was associated with a 2.5-fold increased risk for triple-negative breast cancer”.10
ii. Contraceptive mentality
For the purposes of this paper, it is sufficient to look at Singapore (which has one of the lowest fertility rate in the world at 0.78). Singapore has been giving incentives for some decades now for couples to have more babies. Lee Kwan Yew, who was the author of the population control in Singapore, said that “in the future we will have to depend on immigrants to make up our numbers, for without them Singapore will face the prospect of a shrinking workforce and a stagnant economy.”11
In an interview with a business leader, he said that the Philippines has to worry about the below-replacement fertility rate12 when it eventually comes in a few decades or so. For now, according to him, the more urgent problem is to reduce the population growth. In Singapore, the fertility rate dropped steadily until it reached 2.1 in the 1970s. But it did not stop at 2.1. Here is summary of Singapore’s fertility rate13:
It seems irreversible according to Singapore’s experience. It took them a short time to “brainwash” the people for the fertility rate to fall. It is now taking them longer, if at all, to re-educate the people about all the advantages (economic, social and psychological/emotional) of having a large family.
What, in fact, the RH does, in the U.S. experience, is to make the girls promiscuous. Take note that the RH does not limit the contraceptives to married people. They are to be given to everyone. When you give contraceptives, the message is clear: have a “satisfying sex life”14. You can have a “safe sex”. But that is a false promise! The statistics on abortion show that contraceptives fail, and fail a lot! Its failure has killed millions of human beings, some 1.2 million in 2007 in the U.S.15
I do not know if the Filipino mothers have understood clearly that RH brings with it “casual sex” for their daughters. In the U.S., for the period 2006-2010, 4.4 million female teenagers engaged in pre-marital sex.16 I don’t know if the Filipino mothers can think beyond the short-sightedness of the pro-RH people. This evil ideology should not be imposed on the Filipino nation.
iv. Teen pregnancies
The Bill wants the Filipinos to have a “satisfying sex life”17 and at the same time it intends to prevent teen pregnancies.18 One has to be completely blind not to realize the contradiction of these two terms. Sex education will teach the teenagers on the pleasures of sex and expect him/her to control his/her urges at the same time.
Why does the MTRCB19 require “Parental Guidance” in watching some movies? Why does the State grant the right of suffrage only to those 18 and above? Why are minors not allowed to enter into any legal contract or own guns? It seems there is a difference between an adult and a minor!
The minors do not have yet sufficient capacity to make serious decisions. And yet they are given “reproductive right”! They can decide to have or not to have another human being, and yet they cannot vote in the elections! True, it is nature that endowed them their biological capacity to reproduce. But it is also true that they were given hands and the capacity to kill other people at any age. When my friend was 7, he almost pulled the trigger of the revolver of his dad thinking that it was a toy gun. And we say: his dad should have been more careful with his gun, right? Similarly, should we not be more careful in teaching the teenagers about sex?
The RH will not prevent teen pregnancies. Using contraceptives is not that easy. There are so many steps to follow to be able to use them successfully. The chances of pregnancy, therefore, are very high. In the U.S., in 2002, there were 10 million women who said that they got pregnant when they were teenagers (aged 15-19).20
i. Abortion is part of the contraceptive mentality
Due to the contraceptive mentality, pregnancy (= baby) is seen as a disease that has to be avoided at all cost. Contraceptives, according to the Bill, are to be treated as essential medicine21 to cure the “sickness” of pregnancy. The next step, then, is abortion.
To the contraceptive peddlers who say that contraceptive has nothing to do with abortion, and, in fact, is meant to reduce abortion, the statistical data of the Western countries belie their claims. In Spain there were 112,138 abortions in 2007. Here is the summary of abortions in Spain from 1992-200722:
Abortions have doubled in the last 10 years. Where is the efficiency of contraceptives in reducing abortions? Where is the sex education that will teach the girls to prevent pregnancy?
ii. Right to life of the unborn
The Bill repeatedly “protects” the life of the unborn by affirming that abortifacient23 is illegal, that the penal code on abortion is not repealed24, that the mother and the unborn have equal rights25. It prohibits postcoital pills and emergency contraceptive pills.26
But at the same time, it includes specifically the use of intra-uterine device (IUD)27, a device that prevents implantation and hence abortifacient. It also includes hormonal contraceptives that are at the same time abortifacient. As contraceptive, it inhibits the ovulation. As abortifacient (meaning, when the contraceptive function fails, the “back up” is abortive), it inhibits the implantation of the fertilized ovum.28
It seems that in the Senate debate last 19-XI-212, the senators refused to agree when life begins so as not to exclude IUD. They even put it on vote as if truths can be defined by popular democracy! (Even if they were to unanimously vote affirming that “Rizal never existed”, that will not change the fact that Rizal did exist.) Worse, the Bill implicitly acknowledges that, indeed, some contraceptives have abortive effects. Sec. 9 says that the “product… is made available on the condition that it is not to be used as an abortifacient.” But how can the government assure that the user will not use it as abortifacient?29
iii. Post-abortion care
The Bill says it does not repeal the Penal Code on abortion.30 It says, and I agree, that the abortionist mother should be given medical attention31 inasmuch as she is sick. But once she has recovered, she has to take responsibility for her action: murder of the most innocent human being.
True, the abortionist mother has suffered and will continue to suffer from many physical and psychological consequences of her abortion. But so is the rapist. He will be hounded throughout his life of the crime he committed. Why should the public be more “merciful” to the abortionist mother than to the rapist? The abortionist mother has committed a much graver crime than he. The rapist violated the dignity of his victim but he has not taken away her life. I am not trying to justify the rapist. I am just stating what should be obvious: that abortion is much graver than rape. Both the rapist and the abortionist mother should go to jail and pay for their crimes.
4. The Bill’s damaging effects on the family
a. The big picture
The Philippines does not have to implement the Bill in order to see its consequences. The widespread use of contraception in the U.S. shows its damaging effects on the family.
With a high number of pre-marital sex32, there is also a high cohabitation rate. And as cohabitation increases, consequently, marriage decreases. But not only that: of the few who gets married, many end up getting divorced, marital infidelity (adultery) being one of the causes.
There are many single mothers as a result of pre-marital sex and divorce. It is the woman who usually suffers. Where is equality, then? More and more children are born out of wedlock.
b. Prevalence and use of contraception
The number of women (aged 15-44) who engaged in sexual intercourse and who has used whatever method of contraceptive is 99.1%.33
c. Cohabitation and declining marriage
In 2002, there were 5.6 million women (aged 15-44) who are cohabiting.34 In 1980, 16% of the total population aged 15-64 got married. In 2008, that number has fallen to 11%.35
d. Single-parent household and children born out of wedlock
In 2008, an alarming 30%36 of all households is single-parent household. That is to say, more than 1 in every 4 households is a single-parent household. Do we want this for the Philippines? In 2008, close to half (41%) of all the births are born to unmarried women. In France, it is 53% and in Sweden 55%.37
e. Multiple opposite-sex partners (=adultery)
For the period 2006-2008, there were 46 million men (aged 15-44) who had more than one woman partner! Of this number, 13 million had 15 or more women partners in his lifetime! The corresponding numbers for women are 41 million and 5 million, respectively.38
If teenagers were educated to have sex with different persons before they got married, why should they be faithful when they get married?
f. Divorce rate
Marital infidelity often leads to divorce. In 2010, there were 2,096,000 marriage and 872,000 divorce and annulments. The average rate for 10 years is 40%. That is to say, almost half of the marriages end up in divorce and annulments!39
Socio-political problems of the RH
Principle of subsidiarity
One basic principle in political government is subsidiarity. “This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization.”40
Since the Bill does not use the population-control-to-eradicate-poverty justification, there is no reason why the State should enter a person’s private life. “Satisfying sex life”41 has nothing to do whatsoever with the State inasmuch as it has nothing to do with one’s choice of career. Leave that to the person and to the family. Why should the State influence and condition one to be promiscuous?
Spend tax on real needs
The State should concern itself on real public needs. The classic doctrine on tax is that it cannot be imposed unless there is a real public need. This necessity can be (1) absolute (hospitals, schools, etc.), (2) merely useful (weather forecasting service, etc.) and (3) neither strictly necessary nor useful but are helpful toward the spiritual and cultural welfare (museums, etc.).42 Obviously, public money should be spent in that order: it is first spent on what is absolutely necessary. Only when there is excess money (which is not the case of the Philippines) can public money be spent on the second group. And only when there is still excess money can it be spent on the third group. Or better yet, let that excess money be returned to the poor taxpayers.
The RH – which will cost P13.7 billion43 for a “satisfying sex life”44– neither enters the first group nor any of the 3 groups. It even harms public morality (just like pornography and prostitution).
The government has a very tight budget. If it approves the Bill, it should be very transparent and show which medical budget will be affected, which medicines (antibiotics, etc.), which medical expenses (hospital beds, etc.) will not be bought because the money is being re-allocated to the RH. The Filipino nation should be informed completely and thoroughly about the cost of the RH ideology.
The RH imperialism was clearly shown in the Manila Summit held in PICC last 15-XI-2012. It was a consequence of the London Summit45 held last 11-VII-2012. The “conspiracy theory” that Tatad mentions46 is not a theory but a fact47. The conspirators themselves do not hide it! Hillary Clinton has repeatedly said that she is committed to promote reproductive health (which includes abortion).48
It is not only the pro-RH legislators who are lending their services (for free?), but also some media personalities. Elisa Sangalang reported that some known media personalities underwent training in order to sell the RH ideology.49
I hope the Philippines will not succumb to the RH ideological pressure as she did not succumb to communism (when so many countries did). President Manual Quezon once said, “I would rather have a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos than a Philippines run like heaven by the Americans”.
My email: email@example.com. Permission is granted to reproduce this article.
Written on Bonifacio Day 2012
1My blog: http://prolifemarcus.blogspot.com.
2By “Bill”, I refer to the Philippine Senate Bill Number 2865: An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood [Population and Development] (amended copy as of 19 November 2012). Henceforth, SB 2865.
3The other version, House Bill 4244, includes the usual façade of population-control-to-eradicate-poverty. It also suggests an ideal family size of two children. See: HB 4244, Sec. 20.
4See Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004 (RA 9262) and The Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710).
5The World Bank has “Reproductive Health Action Plan” specifically for the Philippines (http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPRH/Resources/376374-1282255445143/Philippines6911web.pdf).
6See M. REMO, “Global interconnection has dark side, says Lagarde” in Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16-XI-2012 (http://business.inquirer.net/93172/global-interconnection-has-dark-side-says-lagarde).
7SB 2865, Sec. 4.
9SB 2865, Sec. 18.
10J.M. DOLLE, et al., Risk Factors for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer in Women Under the Age of 45 Years in Cancer, “Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention” 18 (Apr 2009), 1157 (http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/18/4/1157.full.pdf+html).
11LEE KWAN YEW, Warning Bell for Developed Countries’ Declining Birth Rates, “Forbes Magazine”, 7 May 2012 (http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2012/0507/current-events-population-global-declining-birth-rates-lee-kuan-yew.html ).
12The theoretical fertility replacement rate is 2.1.
14SB 2865, Sec. 4.
15See R.K. JONES, K. KOOISTRA, Abortion Incidence and Access to Services in the United States, 2008, “Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health” 43 (2011) 41-50.
16See G. MARTINEZ, C.E. COPEN, J.C. ABMA, Teenagers in the United States, National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 23(31), 2011, p. 15.
17SB 2865, Sec. 4.
18SB 2865, Sec. 13.
19Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
20See G.M. MARTINEZ, A. CHANDRA, J.C. ABMA, J. JONES, W.D. MOSHER, Fertility, contraception, and fatherhood, National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 23(26), 2006, p. 32.
21SB 2865, Sec. 9.
22See Instituto Nacional de Estadística ( http://www.ine.es/jaxi/tabla.do ).
23SB 2865, Sec. 9.
24SB 2865, Sec. 3.
25SB 2865, Sec. 2. This alludes to the Philippine Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 12
26SB 2865, Sec. 9.
28Cf. G. LÓPEZ, Aborto y contracepción, EUNSA, Pamplona 2009, 89.
29SB 2865, Sec. 9.
30SB 2865, Sec. 3.
31SB 2865, Sec. 3.
32Some 4.4 million: see footnote 16.
33See W.D. MOSHER, J. JONES, Use of contraception in the United States: 1982–2008. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 23(29). 2010, p. 18.
34See P.Y. GOODWIN, W.D. MOSHER, A. CHANDRA, Marriage and cohabitation in the United States, National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 23(28). 2010, p. 17
35Cf. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, updated and revised from Families and Work Transition in 12 Countries, 1980–2001, “Monthly Labor Review” September 2003 (c).
38Cf. U.S. NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS, National Statistics Health Report, No. 36, “Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States: Data From the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth”, March 2011, Table.
39CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends
40D.A. BOSNICH, The Principle of Subsidiarity, “Religion & Liberty” 6 (Jul-Aug 1996) (http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-6-number-4/principle-subsidiarity).
41SB 2865, Sec. 4.
42Cf. M. CROWE, The Moral Obligation of Paying Just Taxes, CUA, Washington 1944, p. 23. CROWE cites J. LUGO, De Iustitia et Iure, Lyons 1670, Disp. XXXVI, sec. 1, n. 1.
43See M. AGER, DOH proposed nearly P14 billion to fund RH bill in 2012, “Philippine Daily Inquirer” 4-X-2011
44SB 2865, Sec. 4.
45See Global Leaders Unite to Provide 120 Million Women in the World’s Poorest Countries with Access to Contraceptives By 2020 at http://www.londonfamilyplanningsummit.co.uk/.
46See F. TATAD, Foreign meddling kill the RH Bill, not save it published in Manila Standard Today, 19-XI-2012 (http://manilastandardtoday.com/2012/11/19/foreign-meddling-will-kill-the-rh-bill-not-save-it/).
47For more details, see R. CASCIOLI, Il Complotto Demografico, Piemme, 1996.
48See Clinton Promises Global Push for Abortion Rights, National Review Online, 1-I-2010 at http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/192857/clinton-promises-global-push-abortion-rights/susan-yoshihara#.
49See E. SANGALANG, Media: Co-opted by the well-oiled RH lobby and PR machinery, 27-VIII-2012