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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kris-Crossing Mindanao: The façade that Lagman et al. want us to see

Below is an article from the "other side". All they really do is condemn pro-choice advocates for trying to find ways to improve and uplift the quality of lives of Filipinos and their families.

Please, get off your moral high horse people and present solutions! We're tired of your "arguments" and so-called philosophies cause as far as the country is concerned, national policies should not solely be based on mere religious beliefs and doctrines but rather should find solid basis on sound, reasonable and relevant measures addressing the signs and needs of the times acceptable to people of all faiths, and even to those who don't have faiths at all!

The façade that Lagman et al. want us to see

By Antonio J. Montalvan II
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:06:00 06/23/2008

MANILA, Philippines - The Honorable Edcel Lagman, Janette Garin, Narciso Santiago III, Mark Llandro Mendoza, Eleandro Jesus Madrona and Ana Theresa Hontiveros Baraquel would have us believe that their bill respects religious convictions and is not pro-abortion. If only they knew whereof they speak. It is an established fact that the connection between contraception and abortion is not only inseparable; there is a close identity between them.

The unnumbered house bill of these honorable representatives that goes under the lengthy title of “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development, and for other purposes,” and referred to in brevity as the Consolidated Reproductive Health Bill, quietly passed the House Health Committee in an unprecedented two minutes without any decent discussion or appearance of meeting the requirements of the legislative process. With a seeming inclination to do away with lengthy processes simply to rush its approval, the bill is expected to proceed to plenary without dragging along public controversy.

Either out of naiveté or sleight of hand, the bill declares a stance against abortion. But is it unequivocal? In a bill that avows the promotion of the “full range” of family planning methods, both natural and modern, that anti-abortion stance remains much of a lame proposition. Call it even a myth. We can hardly believe that the bill’s authors are ignorant of the inarguable fact that many contraceptives within that full range are abortifacients. And nowhere in the bill does it renounce abortifacients, at the very least.

Not a few contraceptives work by causing early term abortions. The intra-uterine device prevents a fertilized egg from being implanted in the uterine wall. The pill does not always stop ovulation but sometimes prevents implantation of the growing embryo. The new RU 486 pill works altogether by aborting a new fetus, a new baby.

There is a grave contradiction there. Not only is it a contradiction, it is a grievous mistake. By its failure to address abortion as an odious reality in our society, how can our elected representatives claim that they labor for the progress of that society where even new life cannot have the privilege of safety, much less of life? I am convinced that they did this not out of sleight of hand. Respect for life has become an ideological choice, not a natural moral condition for humanity. Without that moral imperative to respect life, the bill cannot even stand behind a façade of “responsible parenthood.” For that is what it is, a façade that only cloaks its pro-death capabilities.

I like the manner that Janet Smith, a professor of philosophy at the University of Dallas, argues: We need to realize that a society in which contraceptives are widely used is going to have a very difficult time keeping free of abortions since the lifestyles and attitudes that contraception fosters create an alleged “need” for abortion.

Each year, a million and a half American women seek abortion, in the land where the full range of contraceptives has been available since long ago. As the American societal experience has taught us, abortion is a necessity in the contraceptive lifestyle. Smith tells us: The “intimate relationships” facilitated by contraceptives are what make abortions “necessary.” “Intimate” here is a euphemism and a misleading one at that. Here the word “intimate” means “sexual”; it does not mean “loving and close.” Abortion is most often the result of sexual relationships in which there is little true intimacy and love, in which there is no room for a baby, the natural consequence of sexual intercourse. Contraception enables those who are not prepared to care for babies to engage in sexual intercourse; when they become pregnant, they resent the unborn child for intruding upon their lives, and they turn to the solution of abortion.

The argument against the concept, often misused by many of our legislators, that contraception is the antidote to abortions and unwanted pregnancies, is a simple one. Contraceptions have been permeating this world for the past 30 years. Within that time, unwanted pregnancies and abortions have not gone down. The argument is clearly fallacious.

Lagman et al. define full range as “Hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, injectables and other allied reproductive health products and supplies [that] shall be considered under the category of essential medicines and supplies which shall form part of the National Drug Formulary and the same shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.”

Notice the term “essential medicines.” There is at once a pharmacological but social meaning. It is so very classic American contraceptivism. It is part of the pro-death lingo, so careful, polite and tame in its approach so as not to hurt religious sensibilities, yet unmasked by the realities of demographic truth.

If there is a victory that Lagman et al. would have us believe, it is that they have finally abandoned the other myth—that there is a population explosion that can only be arrested by our acceptance of contraceptives, saying that “reproductive health and population development goes beyond a demographic target because it is principally about health and rights,” but there is still another fallacy there nonetheless.

Babies are no accident of pregnancy. It is only this that we have to think of when we register our opposition to the bill of Lagman et al. Babies, not contraceptives, are the fuel to our understanding of a healthy society.

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