Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Real Agenda of the Repro Health Bill

THERE is no mistaking that the real agenda of House Bill 5043 otherwise known as An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development, and for other purposes is not what it insists to tell. The only thing that is closest to the truth is that bill is really “for other purposes”, which is where the problem lies.

It is not for “reproductive health” if by that we mean the honest to goodness health of mothers and babies. But the rub is, this bill liberally defines the term as the United Nations does—which refers to what a mother wants to do with her body and sexuality, including the “right” to contraception and abortion. This verbal construct has been formally incorporated into official U.N. lexicon at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo.

It is neither for “responsible parenthood”, because if it is really, why legislate provisions that take out the responsibilities of parents? In the bill, some basic responsibilities are removed from the parents and are placed in the state like a diktat in totalitarian countries—such as the one that mandates a two-children policy per family and the mandatory reproductive health education from Grade V to Fourth Year High School.

And, of course, even Juana at the corner store knows that the bill is not really for “population development”. It is rather for something that will decelerate the population. And if it is really for the development of population, legislators should work for real measures that will enhance the quality of life of Filipinos. But as track record will bear, politicians have been one of the primary causes of the underdevelopment of the populace.

A book entitled “The Truth and Half-Truths About Reproductive Health” released recently by The Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines, aptly describes, “The proposed law is anchored on an ideological misreading of demographic data. It is absolutely superfluous and deceptive. It is unconstitutional. It is destructive of public morals and oppressive of religious values and beliefs. It has nothing to do with the common good, but is primarily intended to serve the interests of those who see the nation’s (and other countries’) population growth as an economic and security threat to the developed countries, now plagued by an aging and dying population, and a systemic financial-monetary crisis.”

It looks like some people are not telling the truth. And perhaps they are getting highly paid at that.

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