Red light of RH bill – a reflection

Let’s shoot straight by going right to the core of the subject that divides a wedge and results in two diametrically opposed views – the pro-RH and the anti-RH – of this never-ending clerico-congressional orgy.

What on reflection are these points everyone gravitates to?

There are those who tend to push it as a religious issue, is it? Then there are those who claim it an anti-dote to poverty if indeed less is more. And for the purpose of this article, let us arrive at a third point, namely, on whether the purported claim of reproductive health rights do really have two legs to stand on in the present Constitutional or ideological context. No right thinking scholars would claim so.

Let us proceed. In so far as the bill impacts on an obvious morality question of whether to accept or reject the whole idea of abortion, let us grant that then it carries a highly religious overtones. Explicitly or implicitly, abortion under the bill, is part of the territory. Let us not fail to read from the catch-basin provisions all so repeatedly stated throughout the bill.

Secondly, we might be pushed to believe in the Malthusian myth long debunked that population results in less food on the table. Simplistically enough, with more mouths to feed, there will be less food. Its theoretical bias seems flawed given other factors that actually come into play – cycles of birth with cycles of death, et cetera. Sufficient to say, there are ‘equalizing factors’ that cannot be taken for granted.

Lastly, the bill unpretentiously constructs the very Constitutional foundation of a new wave of State policies and principles, that in the first place, have not been written yet nor breathe in the present constitutional order. But in reality, there is no such thing as reproductive rights, or reproductive health rights. Rights for whom – the poor, the unborn, the pregnant, the women?

The bill has, unthinkingly enough, erected the entire edifice of a law that is soon to crumble like a castle in the sand. We hate to believe that some ‘payola or lobby money’ is the prime inducement for pushing hard the bill no matter the grim and dim consequences may be.

Are we beyond redemption? We are saved if we vote no to RH bill or open the gates to hell by voting yes. Certainly, it is one of those bills built on some outworn medical fallacies that have already been disputed as bereft of higher scientific basis.
It is unfortunate that if we look around, it seems that they have already place the cart before the horse. There are LGUs already implementing important provisions of the yet proposed RH bill.

Offhand, the bill made us appear as if we are not better informed if we are to exercise our freedom when in fact, the proponents let us track the road toward being more misinformed by their constant and uncharacteristic denial that it, in fact and in effect, promotes abortion.

In the bill, a provision aptly states of this area called, ‘post-abortion complications’, and this has to be deleted to serve as a single proof of good intention, if it can. This seems to be the only way to prove that no abortion is even contemplated, but can the authors do so, pray tell?

Other points we could cull from that TV show dubbed, “The RH bill – the grand debate” make crystal clear the following observations. Let us name some plus additionally, some more observations.

One, as long as the method is safe, effective, and legal – be it natural or artificial – then the green signal is on. In short, it is of no moment if such method is ethical much less moral. Hence, modernity at the expense of morality is advanced.

Two, the notion of development is narrowly construed as dependent on population thus the reductionist tag that finds couples or parents as the culprit or convenient scapegoat.

Three, the bill, by indicative design, puts in one class or category married and unmarried couples and therefore no longer discriminates between them thereby totally unmindful of the value attached to marriage and family.

Four, the inclusion of the concepts of ‘basic emergency obstetric care’ as well as ‘comprehensive emergency obstetric care’, form, as if it were, the license to break the abortion barrier.

Five, we can see the hand of the State trying to limit, to space, and even to prevent pregnancy under guise of freedom of choice in the altar of modernity. The law boldly declares that ‘reproductive health rights refer to the rights of couples, individuals and women whether or not to have children’. Does this not sound like abortion has become permissible?

Six, there is clear interference of the State in matters otherwise consistent with religious beliefs of medical practitioners. It now prohibits an obstetrician-gynecologist ‘refusal to perform legal and medically safe reproductive health procedures’ even if he or she must on account of his or her religious belief or professional oath. And the bill makes it appear that for the obstetrician-gynecologist to refer the patient who wants to undergo the procedure to another will dissolve whatever ethical or moral problem has been attached to such refusal.

Eight and last, with the door wide open for the free, open and total access to a ‘full range of safe, legal, affordable, effective, natural and modern methods of limiting and spacing pregnancy’, what logical consequence would it bring on womankind? We can see the bill is consciously against pregnancy at methods made accessible to anyone – couples, parents, individuals, women – with a marriage license or not. Offhand, doesn’t this wreak havoc to the institution of marriage?

Now, pray tell, are we worse off or better off with this RH bill?