I’m the last person to be talking about absent sons and daughters. I’m not a parent. And I’ve often heard the expression that “No parent should ever bury their child”. So I can’t comment on the grief that Senator Sotto framed his opposition of the Reproductive Health Bill. I can’t imagine or relate to the Senator in that respect.
ABS-CBN described the Senator as “teary-eyed” in a news item. The news item quotes the Senator as saying, “The Makati Medical Center said he died because my wife used contraceptives.” The entire speech is summed up to be about absent sons, and absent daughters and in one message: “Contraceptives are to be blamed for my child’s death, so don’t use it!”
I hope that they did an autopsy. Science and all that. There is nothing like the certainty of the scientific method to get the cold hard facts, regardless whether we want to hear them or not.
Oddly enough, the Reproductive Health bill is about absent sons, and absent daughters. That is, if you frame children as objects and possessions. Sons and daughters are there to “lift the family up from poverty”. The translation being sons and daughters are born to make money to feed the hungry family. Sons and daughters are there to pay for their younger siblings’ education. To act as parents, because their parents can’t afford to send them to school. It is a common and vicious cycle of absent parents.
The parent is supposedly the one who should provide for their children. They should be the one to feed them. To put warm clothes on their back. To give them toys, and to play with them. To create happy children who are secure in themselves when it is their turn to be adults. You know? To prepare their children to be better than their parents.
You don’t have kids so they’ll take care of you when you’re old and sickly.
At least, that’s how I view it.
I’m not trying to say that being compassionate about your family is a bad thing. It is natural for Filipinos and family to look after each other. I’m saying the lack of family planning. The lack of parents being ready to be parents is the single biggest problem of our society.
How many of today’s crime is wrought by children doing drugs? Kids who fall to substance abuse because of family life problems? Or life problems? Or just because no one was there to help them out? How many of these kids are born when parents themselves are not yet ready to be parents? How many of these kids stop going to school, or parents unable to help with homework? How many kids are born, and parents resent them for it because they can’t go out and party, or have the time of their lives?
The Reproductive Health Bill, at its core is about choices. Choose the family planning method you want after the government or health professional gives you all the options. The health worker is kind of like the sales person in the mall. This one is natural planning… this one is using a condom, etc. etc. It is also about parents finding choices to help them decide on when you want to have kids. A time when you’re ready to be a parent. So the reproductive health bill is about absent parents. Like having fewer of absent parents.
It always isn’t foolproof. Nothing in life ever is. At least, nothing human hands have created. From time to time, something fails. Perhaps it is a manufacturing defect. Perhaps someone used a pin to put holes on that condom. You know, psycho girlfriend-style. I mean, life always would try to find a way to send you a curveball.
A senator’s son could have, or may have died from complications. Just because you have the money, just because you have the means, doesn’t excuse you when life throws a curveball.
Those against the reproductive health bill say this is a bill against having kids. Too much, or two many screws up people. That it makes people selfish so fewer kids translate to fewer mouths to feed. Yes, it is about fewer mouths to feed, particularly, in the first place, when you can’t afford to feed them in the first place.
Picture a man, who makes two hundred fifty dollars a month. That’s less than 10 thousand pesos a month. If he has three kids and a wife to feed, how in all the heavens can you give each child the opportunity to be better? How can you feed them, much less send them to school? Public school isn’t absolutely free to begin with. There are still expenses, and PTAs and stuff, correct? How are you going to feed them so they can actually go to school, to begin with?
So the reproductive health bill isn’t about cutting back on the kids. It is about being responsible parents. Don’t have children if you’re not ready to have them. If you can’t feed them. Do you know how much milk costs these days? If you can’t pay for their clothing. Do you know how much diapers cost these days? If you can’t pay for bringing them to the doctor during the middle of the night. Do you know how hard it is to see your child in pain, and not being able to buy medicine or giving them good health care? Do you?
I don’t, but I’ve seen friends and family pay exuberant amounts of money for their kids. Money that in my bachelor lifestyle would have gone on to other stuff, like machines, and toys.
What is happening right for the past decade or so is that parents– from teens and everyone of reproductive health have kids and they don’t have a clue that hey, eventually, I have to pay for my kid’s college. We actually live in a society where all grandparents aren’t loaded with money to you know, pay for their grandkids’ tuition. So we have absent parents. We have people who— they don’t know any better have kids because that’s what humans are programmed to do in the first place. You know: people have sex. Animals have sex, and just because we’re humans, doesn’t mean that base part of us doesn’t come out. Hormones, and you know, natural selection at play. Men and women have needs.
Reproductive Health care is about absent sons, and daughters. To create a world where sons and daughters can grow up to be human beings. And not merely to survive day in, and day out in the street like dogs, and cats do. We don’t go out and say it, but don’t you take pity on them, but hardly give a second thought? This is about a world of fewer absent sons and daughters who have fallen off the tracks, do drugs, do crime, or die, and be forgotten. It is about a world of fewer absent parents, and instead create a world where parents think about raising their kids, and preparing them for life—- for kids to be better than their parents. To live, not merely to survive. Why can’t we have that? Why can’t we put the reproductive health bill up to a vote because of life?
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