Free will. Choice. Faith. Science. Words easily uttered these days leading up to the vote in Congress of the Reproductive Health Bill. The most vocal opponent of the bill is the Catholic Church, led by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines.
The bill, like many laws of the land is complex. The issue is not simple. So its proponents have distilled it into the salient point: maternal health, and a matter of choice. It is on these points that it has gained much support.
The bill is far from perfect. But what law is? The sad truth is that this bill is made even more imperfect because of the lack of learned debate between those for it, and those against it.
The sad truth is that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines sees this debate as about them. Passage of the bill signals a more secular society. The perceived power of the CBCP, to them dwindles. If on this moral issue, the CBCP fails, what on other issues of the day?
Another sad truth, because of the CBCP’s trolling behavior on this issue, real debate on the lack of, or the merits of this bill never came to pass. It’s a shame really.
On Twitter, @jeromegotangco points out, “Here is opinion. I agree with healthcare but I do not agree on subsidizing some else’s sex life.” Jon Limjap replied, “It’s a toss up between subsidizing someone else’s sex life or welfare of someone else’s kid. We’re doing the latter!” Both are valid points of view. And both should be part of the debate on the merits of the Reproductive Health Bill. Has it been?
The truth is, reproductive health isn’t about religion. The bill does not go against the prohibition on abortion. It does not prevent a Catholic from listening to church teachings on natural family planning. It doesn’t prevent a Catholic couple to plan their family, to spread their kids over a span of years, according to their capacity to take care of that child. It does prevent the Catholic belief on natural family planning to apply to everyone of different faith. It does try to prevent irresponsibility: that a couple can have kids, without giving a thought to the future of that person.
People are now rightly asking, “How will I feed my kid?” “How can I give this human being, proper education?” “how can I give this human being a good life?” If that is the case, how is this going against Jesus’ commandment of Love?
Without doubt, the reproductive health bill should be passed. Whether we argue or not on its imperfections, or the nature of the debate, the fact is, this bill will be better for everyone.