Beyond Contraception or Abortion: Passing RH Bill 4424
There is a strong support coming from the academics on the passing of the Reproductive Health Bill 4424, from both the secular and religious universities in the country. Sectoral groups representing the GLBTC population strongly supports the passing of the said bill. The Catholic Church, however, through the CBCP derails its enactment as it needs to do so being the moral guardian for the sanctity of life and the protection of the religio-cultural orientation of its followers.
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion on the passing of the said bill. But it pays to be informed before expressing a strong opinion. This informed decision will have to consider looking at the issue in its various angles, ruling out what the bill is not and establishing what it is really for, compared against what various sectors say.
A national survey on public opinion may not be necessary, although based on the Pulse Asia’s recent survey,conducted in October 2010, 69% or almost 7 out of 10 Filipinos would approve of its passing, while back in October 2008 under PGMA’s administration more people (82%) are in favor of it.
Media reports also present disparate information, with claims on being backed up by the same research methodology, even the data that they present were a little short, an exaggerated figure if not invalid and unreliable. An online newspaper reports a different condition, that in 2009 more Filipinos (96%) are not in favor of passing the RH Bill.
The media is presenting multifarious views to the issue, using the vantage points of the church, solons, common people, academics. If one is not following these threads of information, it is easier to be trapped on a single-sided perspective. The legislators are also dividided on the question as to whether pass the bill or not.
RH Bill 4424 is not totally new, this consolidated version has gone several revisions to consider other views and angles. So far, it is comprehensive. On the challenges of the church, one may not find textual evidences that it is intended to kill life of the unborn, control the population or degrade the sanctity of marriage. It is comprehensive because it goes beyond the issues of contraception or abortion as it seeks to protect the life of the woman and the dignity of a married couple in making choices for their family.
More than that of protecting the woman, her identity, her sexuality and the promotion of social equity. The Bill imposes on the government a responsibility to consider fundamental rights to make a choice for life – without curtailing the right of the unborn. It would allow access to universal reproductive health care, access to vital information, and services for men, women and children regardless of their sexual orientation.
RH Bill 4424 is not only liberal, but also emancipating for the nation and the state to be more open, concern and conscious of the people’s reproductive health and the human sexual nature. It is emancipating because it will free people from the bondage of being ill-informed of their reproductive health, of sex and of sexuality. On sex education – the bill is clear to promote values, although ambiguous on what values should be promoted.
But, RH Bill 4424 is just the first step. If it is not passed, where do we go next? It pays to be informed, while it costs allot to be ill-informed. RH Bill is not just about contraception, abortion or population control. It is about ensuring quality life and healthy lifestyle for every one in the state.
The highest moral obligation of the Filipino is not only to the protection of his ideosyncracy or belief, but to his kapwa, to the very least who can not afford to manage his family, or give his wife the reproductive health care she needs, and to those unknowing of the difference between healthy and unhealthy sexual lifestyle or the dignity of gender, sex and sexuality.