RH bill: some questions-A A +A
Sunday, August 5, 2012
WHAT’S your stand on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill?
That was obviously the question of the weekend after the Catholic Church flexed its muscle Saturday by holding major protest actions in Cebu, the Edsa Shrine in Quezon City and other parts of the country.
My answer has remained the same: I don’t have something definite yet.
My ambivalence partly comes from the seeming reversal of roles played by the “conservative” Catholic Church hierarchy and progressive groups.
Activists pride themselves in seeing the big picture, but on this issue the church is asking the faithful to see the bigger one. I listen to my friend, Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer of Human Life International, argue the church’s case and I am reminded of the kind of topic activists talk about when inspired.
“I-Google ra gud nang reproductive health ug low intensity conflict,” an editor told me when I asked him if he finally has a stand on the RH bill issue. He was ambivalent in his stance before. “I am now against it,” he had declared.
I would consider low intensity conflict or LIC as among the most-studied terms by local militants and revolutionaries because it lays down a method of combating rebellions. The editor who raised the LIC issue isn’t a militant but he is well studied. That he bumped into it is because some anti-RH bill groups raised it. Which brings me to my point about reversal of roles.
I have listened to RH initiators in Congress, notably Rep. Edcel Lagman (brother of the slain activist Filemon or “Ka Popoy” and the desaparecido Hermon), argue their case. The arguments are compelling if one focuses specifically on the provisions of the consolidated measure whose passage Congress may soon put to a vote.
If only for that, I would have gone all-out for the passage of the bill. But there are admittedly some worries that I hope progressive groups considered when they decided to push for the passage of the bill. An interesting article published by the bbbc.co.uk website presented “ethical” concerns when dealing with population control programs. I bring it up here in the form of questions:
--Isn’t the aggressive push for the RH bill part of an “imperialist lobby” that takes either of these forms or both: “rich countries funding contraceptive programs in the third world or rich countries demanding the implementation of birth control programs in exchange for financial or other aid”?
--Wouldn’t the RH bill push us into the trap of justifying “regulation of fertility, independent of economic concerns”?
--Wouldn’t the RH concept “offend human dignity by treating children as commodity” or “encourage people to abort fetuses in order to obtain the benefit of small family policies if their birth control method fails”?
--What would the RH bill’s effect be on Philippine culture? Would it “change the relationships and power dynamics” in our society and allow foreign concepts to overwhelm local traditions and beliefs?
I admit to the possibility that those questions may merely be making a mountain out of a molehill. After all, the RH bill may end up in its final form as having been so emasculated of the “sinister designs” that hound population control programs it wouldn’t make a dent on the status quo. In that case, the actual benefits would be more than the needless worries.
Still, those questions make for an interesting RH bill discussion.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 06, 2012.