A Second Look at RA 10354-A A +A
As I See It
Monday, February 4, 2013
THE Responsible Parenthood and Reproduction Health Act of 2012 is a law in our country that guarantees universal access to methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care. This has become controversial because the Roman Catholic Church and other churches have made a solid stand to preserve and protect life.
Provisions on maternal and child health seem good and acceptable. The debate is on the key proposal that there will be a government – private sector partnership in funding and distribution of family planning devices like condoms, birth control pills, IUDs, and the continuous advocacy of the government through the health care centers. In a democratic and Catholic country like the Philippines, the issues become sticky. Varied opinions come from all sectors-academe, medical profession, religious institutions, political parties and business sectors. Colorful debates and hot rallies are the scorching menus in public places and tri media.
The issues have become personal and political. There are priests, nuns, bishops and cardinals who are openly campaigning not to vote for the congressmen and senators who favored the passage of RA 10354. Before we condemn anyone here, may I ask a question: have we read the provisions of RA 10354? What have we understood from the contents? How do we consider moral issues on the procurement, distributions and use of the family planning devices? Catholics are attending Sunday masses and the non-Catholics are also attending their regular services. What are said by our priests and pastors? On any topic related to morality, we do not listen only to our ministries but we listen also to our conscience.
Husbands and wives are the key players. Just like us, God gave them intellect and will. They have to reflect on the morality issue. Unmarried Christians or those planning to be married have also to beopen-minded and be careful in choosing their options. The government has done a job of safeguarding the right to sustainable human development. It is not perfect but the program is there. It is the obligation of the state to protect the life of the mother and the unborn, the children, and the youth. While the government is in the advocacy tract, our churches should also have their way in safeguarding the basic principle contrary to life.
The churches and the government should also pay attention to freedom. It is a gift from God. Freedom separates us from the monkeys. Through freedom, we can be monkeys if we like; but monkeys can never be us. We do not want the government or the church to be dictator. Abraham Lincoln said, "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves." Freedom is fragile because one may have the right to be wrong but does not have the right to do wrong. In the streets, we have freedom as long as we do not hit the nose of someone who is also there enjoying his freedom also.
I firmly support the stand of the church on moral issues but I am not free to curtail the freedom of the guy standing after me. We have our biological needs and we have to attain them. How do we attain them? Let your conscience decide. This is not about religion and this is not about politics. This is about common sense and our common sense may tell us that this could be about business also and that we are just specimens.
Where do I stand? I stand stiff where my conscience vibrates. "Lord, give us clear understanding to know where we stand and what to fight for, because unless we fight for what we stand for, we shall reap nothing."
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 04, 2013.