First of all
Read the bill. Read the whole goddamn thing. Just take a few minutes and sit down and, if you’re a hardcore Catholic, clear your mind of biases and read the words. It’s actually short, and phrased simply, more understandable and less confused than its previous incarnations.
Now, to the bill!
That prickly issue called “abortion”.
A congressman during the plenary debates said the RH bill would lead to the legalization of abortion, and that the bill, in effect, is pro-abortion.
Here’s the wording in House Bill 4244:
While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner
The Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law.
The Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law.
The Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and
Oh, you get it now? Okay.
Next: said congressman said, Since abortion is illegal, why do we need to put in a line about post-abortion complications?
Wala palang abortion e, bakit pa magkakaroon ng post-abortion complications?
Drug use is illegal, but we do recognize drug rehab facilities right? Or should we close them up, because drug use is illegal anyway?
What I like:
- …achieve a minimum ratio of one (1) fulltime skilled birth attendant for every one hundred fifty (150) deliveries per year
- …establish or upgrade hospitals…
- For every 500,000 population, there shall be at least one (1) hospital with comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care and four (4) hospitals or other health facilities with basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care
- All accredited health facilities shall provide a full range of modern family planning methods, except in specialty hospitals, which may render such services on an optional basis.
- …spearhead the efficient procurement, distribution to LGUs and usage-monitoring of family planning supplies for the whole country
- …the DOH shall endeavor to integrate a responsible parenthood and family planning component into all antipoverty and other sustainable human development programs of government, with corresponding fund support
Two-child policy? Nah.
- The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.
You can choose to have two (ideal) or twelve! Or more! The State won’t stop your sperms!
The following acts are prohibited:
Any healthcare service provider, whether public or private, who shall:
(1) Knowingly withhold information or restrict the dissemination thereof, or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health, including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;
(2) Refuse to perform legal and medically safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of third party consent or authorization. In case of married persons, the mutual consent of the spouses shall be preferred. However in case of disagreement, the decision of the one undergoing the procedure shall prevail. In the case of abused minors where parents or other family members are the respondent, accused or convicted perpetrators as certified by the proper prosecutorial office or court, no prior parental consent shall be necessary; and
(3) Refuse to extend health care services and information on account of the person’s marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, or nature of work; Provided, That, the conscientious objection of a healthcare service provider based on his/her ethical or religious beliefs shall be respected; however, the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another healthcare service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible who is willing to provide the requisite information and services; Provided, further, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in RA 8344 otherwise known as “An Act Penalizing the Refusal of Hospitals and Medical Clinics to Administer Appropriate Initial Medical Treatment and Support in Emergency and Serious Cases”.
(b) Any public official who, personally or through a subordinate, prohibits or restricts the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning; or forces, coerces or induces any person to use such services.
(c) Any employer or his representative who shall require an employee or applicant, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to undergo sterilization or use or not use any family planning method; neither shall pregnancy be a ground for non-hiring or termination of employment.
(d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 15 of this Act; and
(e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.
What may be worrying:
- Age-appropriate Reproductive Health and Sexuality Education shall be taught by adequately trained teachers in formal and non-formal educational system starting from Grade Five up to Fourth Year High School using life skills and other approaches
Sex education is always worrying. Will we be able to find enough qualified teachers, free from prejudice and malice and, above all, hatred? Sex education will elicit the most inane jokes from students (TRUST ME!)- how will educators react? (I had a high school classmate, male, who once asked in class, “Mahirap po ba gawin yon? Bakit po pinagpapawisan pag ginagawa yon?”) Finding a teacher with a sense of humor is like discovering a needle in a haystack.
- The current substitute bill is a consolidation of House Bills Nos. 96, 101, 513, 1160 and 3387 as previously approved by the population and family relations committee. Once the bill becomes law, appropriations for the program in the national budget, starting in 2012, could run up to P3 billion.
Money is always worrying in this corrupt country.
Several people had put forth their position on the RH bill. Some dragged morality and religion into the equation, and it showed me how backward and simply hateful some people can be. It saddens me. Do they hate sex? Do they fear it? Do they somehow loathe themselves? Why do they care what other people do in the privacy of their bedrooms? So they worry about your eternal soul.
How fragile is the soul that it can apparently be destroyed by a single bodily act.
How hateful a person can you be, how disgusting, that you would overlook all the kindnesses a person has done just because he uses a condom or she uses a pill and he or she devotes his or her body to a person he or she loves?
Oh, you take care of your parents and pay your taxes and do your job well, but you use contraceptives? Ugh. Burn bitch burn!
A priest said “Ligation is a sin.” Really? Inhabit this body first, Father, and then tell me what you want me to do with it.
Another said, “It will lead to abortion, same-sex marriage -”
Same-sex marriage! And why won’t we want that, Father? Why would it be so bad?
Don’t answer. You’re making my head hurt.
And the hypocrites! There are bound to be hypocrites in this anti-RH bloc. Dear Congressman, look me in the eye and tell me you don’t use condoms. Really? Not even once? Fuck you, you hypocrite.
Yes, the budget and the part about sex education are problematic, but I want to live in a country where a poor woman can walk into a clinic and ask for birth control pills, and she will be given a pack for free, no questions asked, no lectures about fire and brimstone, and she and her husband can space their babies and plan their life together and still have sex.
Because people have sex and they love it and you or me or the priest at the altar have no right to step into their bedrooms and tell them to stop.
However I know
that passing this bill will not give me that scenario. Re-evaluating our values might, but that will take years, generations. These grumpy, anti-contraceptive, anti-sex people won’t disappear overnight.