What the CBCP Assumes in the Campaign against the RH Bill

That the RH Bill is simply about contraception. It is not. It seeks to provide better training to midwives, access to basic pre-natal care services, a range of family planning methods, post-birth maternity checks, education on and treatment for fatal sexually transmitted diseases, and other basic health care rights.

That the only contraception is artificial contraception. It is not. Sec 3a. specifically states “there should be no bias for either modern or natural methods of family planning.”

That sex is a sin. It is not. Otherwise you or I will not be here today. And not every Filipino believes in the concept of sin, and not every Filipino shares the same religious values.

That contraceptives necessarily promote frivolity. It does not. The only scientific correlation between contraceptives and sex is the incidence of impregnation and disease reduces significantly with their use. It is not necessarily a license to be licentious.

That the bill is pro-abortion. It does not provide for abortion, it simply seeks to provide care for women who suffer from complications (about 100,000 per year), and from which 1,000 Filipinas die every year. And please don’t tell me that their death is their punishment for seeking an abortion. The ban on abortion, and therefore the high fatality from them, don’t change the reasons women have abortions in the first place. A lot of them more justifiable than your narrow punitive and puritan minds think.

That contraception is synonymous to abortion. It is not. The two are mutually exclusive. Contraception is to counter conception, abortion is to terminate a pregnancy which can only exist after conception. If abortion is performed, conception was not countered. Thus no contraception occurred/contraceptive was used. If contraception is used, then an abortion can never take place; that is unless contraception fails, but if it does, then the Church’s flawed argument is likewise moot.

That couples can support an infinite number of children. They cannot. And thus the Population and Development aspect of the Reproductive Health and Population Development Bill.

That couples are aware of the consequences of an infinite number of children. They do not necessarily. And thus the education aspect of the bill. Should you be punished for something you do not understand? In law, it is called mens rea or a guilty mind.

That those affected by this law, all Filipinos, are Catholic and believe in the teachings of the Church. They are not. That is why Church and State are separate. Please refer to constitution.

Most tellingly, the CBCP assumes that the Catholic Church has lost its guiding power. If the RH Bill enables health practitioners to explain both Church-approved and modern family planning methods, and who by the nature of the provisions of the bill are unable to persuade a couple from choosing one or another, and instead places the power of decision solely on the couple, then if the Church can teach right then the couple will choose the “morally superior” option (in the Church’s POV), would they not?

And if you are a Catholic, and the RH Bill is in place, then simply do not opt to use contraception if it does not sit well with you. But give others who do not share your belief the opportunity to make a decision for themselves. Do not take away their rights to control their own lives.

The Church’s adamant rejection of the bill reflects sorely on the Church’s loss of faith in themselves to properly guide its flock in the face of a “challenge” to the old ways of the Church. Its doubt in itself, its blindness to divergent beliefs, its stubborn insistence that the teachings of the Church (which after all is a religious institution comprised of mere mortals, its leadership with little to zero experience in sex, family rearing and actual economic output) are infallible and universal — all this puts in danger the health and development of an entire nation.

And lest you need reminding, CBCP, GOD GAVE US FREE WILL. Let us have it.


Marie Claire in 2008 launched an ad campaign supporting the RH Bill.

“The Marie Claire Mouths”

"Women should represent themselves."

"Don't less someone else speak for you."

"Don't let someone else decide for you."

Felicity

  • liberdad

    To them sex is okay if it is for procreation but it is a sin if it is for recreation. <<< HAHA MUKANG NA-LEFT OUT SILA 😛

  • manuelbuencamino

    Felicity, if I didn’t know you, I would think that the post was a tell-all written by a bishop. It explains why the bishops are acting the way they are and why there is no popular support for their stand.

    However I would refine the assumption that sex is a sin. I think the pleasure associated with sex is really what bothers the bishops. To them sex is okay if it is for procreation but it is a sin if it is for recreation.

    • Jay Salazar

      Clerics who detest sex for recreation should read Gaudium et Spes (my underscoring):

      The biblical Word of God several times urges the betrothed and the married to nourish and develop their wedlock by pure conjugal love and undivided affection. Many men of our own age also highly regard true love between husband and wife as it manifests itself in a variety of ways depending on the worthy customs of various peoples and times.

      […]

      Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation; rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen. Therefore, marriage persists as a whole manner and communion of life, and maintains its value and indissolubility, even when despite the often intense desire of the couple, offspring are lacking.

  • Edgar M. Chavez

    Felicity – Your meritorious comment is duly noted. Thank you.

  • Felicity

    Edgar – I agree, but politics aside, the Church should do just that: leave politics alone. it is not their place. it is no longer the medieval ages. that ended 500 years ago.

  • Edgar M. Chavez

    My views and analysis: knock out!
    By: Edgar M. Chavez
    Forever Catholic

    The Pnoy administration is now set to dialogue with Church leaders. But Pnoy through his spokesperson Atty. Edwin Lacierda, maintain its position on the RH Bill that “All the methods of family planning would be provided to the Filipino public and it is up to the parents to decide on what method they choose to use”

    It appears that Pnoy administration is now utilizing the diplomatic war strategy, negotiation while advancing, creating a reputation for being tough and uncompromising.

    While the Roman Catholic Church will use its appeal to fairness and morality as cover to advance their position in defeating the RH Bill issue.

    By continuing to advance, and by keeping unrelenting pressure despite threat of excommunication and civil disobedience, the Pnoy administration is now forcing the church to respond and ultimately to negotiate.

    It must be noted that, the majority of bishop in Asia, Africa and Latin America fight contraception; while majority in North America and Europe allow it. (Please see comprehensive discussion by: Jarius Bondoc, Philippine Star, issue dated 10/04/2010)

    The Pnoy administration will not continue to advance in order to grab land or possession but putting themselves in the strongest possible position and win the war on RH Bill issue. Once they have forced the Roman Catholic Church to settle, then, they have the room to make concession. In the process they might even seem nice and conciliatory.

    However, once the Pnoy administration was able to establish stronger position, and wide support on the RH Bill issue, the government can take further by refusing to compromise, making it clear that they are willing to walk away from the table-an effective form of coercion. The church may call it a bluff, but, majority of the Filipino Catholics strongly disagreed, with bishops’ stance on family planning and reproductive health.

    According to Prince klemens von Metternich (1773-1859) “Let us not consider ourselves victorious until the day after battle, nor defeated until four days later…Let us always carry the sword in one hand and the olive branch in the other, always ready to negotiate but negotiating only while advancing.”

    Apparently, members of the Roman Catholic Church are divided on the RH Bill issue. Needless to mention, the Church leaders are losing wide support coming from its members. The Catholic church shifted to another bluff from excommunication to civil disobedience. The RH Bill is crafted to control population growth. Who will support the bishop?, as compared to the Civil disobedience called by Tita Cory way back in 1986, the church merely supported Tita Cory’s call, the purpose of that is to end tyranny and dictatorship.

    Again, with all due respect to my church leaders, it is time to concede. It took Joe Frazier to make Muhammad Ali a truly great fight. A tough opponent will bring out the best in you. The bigger the opponent the greater the reward, even in defeat. It is better to lose to a worthy opponent like Pnoy who is supporting RH Bill that calls for public information on family planning methods than to squash some harmless foe like couples who want to exercise the right to choose the birth control method under RH Bill. You will gain sympathy and respect, building support for your next fight.

    Every Kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household fall. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?(Luke 11:14)

    Finally, at the end of the day, according to Ana Marie Pamintuan, “the Catholic Church isn’t going to turn its back on the only son of Corazon Aquino”

  • Felicity

    Speaking of assumptions as well, it would be a gross assumption to think that just because there is a bill pending in congress about condoms and OTHER forms of contraceptives, natural or otherwise, that it is the only thing that needs to be met by government (as is the implication of your statement that for (emphasis) ALL of their unmet needs, contraception is one of those things that need be met by government.

    There are more of course, including education, access to basic health care, food, job security and other such basics. But the scope of the argument, and in fact public discourse at the moment, is the Rh Bill. And that’s what it’s talking about.

    And to answer your question as to why it needs to be met by government — forms of family planning, condoms included but not limited to such, is a public policy that has proven in many countries to be successful in many different areas of social policymaking: health, women’s rights, economy, job security, access to food, access to education, better distribution limited resources to the beneficiaries (which is after all what policy is about) — the link between reproductive health and population development are inextricable. see the bigger picture.

  • GabbyD

    Speaking of assumptions…

    there is an unstated assumption in the case for govt distribution of condoms

    — why condoms?

    the poor, BY DEFINITION, have many unmet needs. why, for ALL of their unmet needs, is contraception one of those things to be be “met” by govt.

    people on the internet have their own answer i’m sure. but the govt hasnt given one!