RH Bill: It All Boils Down to Trust

by Clarrise E.

Debating online about the RH Bill made me realize that there is something quite bothersome on how we look at the people around us and the society we live in. It seems to me that people don’t trust one another these days. Personal relationships with friends or lovers aside, our trust simply dwindles when it comes to our country’s people, youth, leaders and everyone else who are a part of a great nation.

Trust in the Filipino Youth

Having encountered this a million of times, most anti-RH debaters tackle on how Sex Education in the classrooms will make the youth be more inclined to have pre-marital sex, as if they will not be able to restrain themselves from humping in a cheap motel just because they have been educated about various sexually transmitted infections including HIV / AIDS.

I think this belief completely undermines the intelligence, values and character ingrained in our youth, our nation’s future. To believe they would start having crazy public orgies to their parent’s horror because they have been taught the dire consequences of these kind of behaviour is an absolute insult to every Filipino adolescent.

Saying that Sex Education will promote promiscuity is like saying people will be more reckless driving when educated about proper road rules. Personally, I’d rather have the driver of the Jeepney I’m riding schooled from a respectable institute rather than just their peers who happen to know how to drive.

Do we really hold our sons, daughters, nephews, nieces and students in such low regard to believe that they would forget every moral fiber their parents, school and church have instilled in them?

Trust in the Government

Corruption. The big bad word every political debate revolves around at. Let us not pass the RH Bill because it is prone to corruption. All those contraceptive drugs, maternal care paraphernalia and funding for women’s health must already look like piles of cash to crooked government officials. Think of cartoons with Peso signs for eyes. They could smell instant wealth a mile away like hungry sharks near a bloody shipwreck.

I admit, our country is known to have corruption rampant in our political system, and it is an accusation not without basis. However, do we really abhor and distrust the officers we, ourselves, have put into place that much to not give a chance to a much needed government reform that could save thousands of women’s lives and improve the quality of living of our fellow citizens?

Everything is prone to corruption. Every road paved, every school built, every municipal renovated, every fund given to any project is prone to exploitation from those in charge. If I were to follow the “Let’s not support the RH Bill because it is prone to corruption” principle, then why don’t we boycott the government altogether, not pay taxes and live in another country? Our leaders are dishonest, money laundering politicians anyway, why support them in anything that they do?

Every election season, we go out of our homes, endure the lines and the heat and vote for whomever we think is best for the job. We choose the person who we trust to lead our country to a better future. Where is that trust now? Where did this commanding negativity come from that we cannot hope for the best even if it is in exchange of the lives of women around the country?

Trust of the Roman Catholic Church in its Followers

Pills kill. Contraceptives are unborn-baby-killing weaponry of mass destruction and using artificial means of contraception is a SIN to our Lord, Jesus Christ. He will frown upon the Filipino people as his mother, the Virgin Mary silently weeps beside him while being comforted by angels armed with Kleenex. The Almighty Father is not happy either. Didn’t He tell us to “Go forth and multiply”? The billions of people in the country are not enough! We must continue to reproduce relentlessly despite health risks of pregnancy to some mothers and unplanned babies born out of wedlock. Abstinence and NOT contraceptives is the answer to all these immoralities!

This is the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics, with the backing of the RH Bill, will fall into the chains of devious Satan and descend into the sinful void of earthly desires. The only way around this is abstinence. Should the Church’s followers believe and apply these philosophies? By all means, YES, if they want to be faithful to their religion and do what it says. A true Catholic will uphold the doctrines of her church even if the choice to do otherwise is staring at her in the face.

For debate purposes, let us imagine a future where the Reproductive Health bill is a law.

A Catholic mother is at the health center asking the barangay health worker about the various methods of family planning. The BHW discusses to her all the options available, including both the Natural Family Planning method and artificial means of contraception.

The question is this: Is the church confident that she will choose the alternative that is considered as morally acceptable and corresponds to her faith’s creed? Because it seems to me that the CBCP is not assured, the way they’ve been acting, that their devotees will opt for the choice they have set upon as right and sinless. Because if they truly believe in the faith of their herd, all these debates about morality and sanctity of life (based solely on the Catholic dictionary) are not at all necessary because our country is composed of different religious views and principles, not just the almighty Catholic Church.

In situations like these then, who should be answerable? The (1) government that is trying to meet the needs of its people, (2) followers of a church not in tune with its teachings and philosophies or (3) the church itself for not ingraining a concrete sense of Catholicism to its flock?

Furthermore, does that make it right for the CBCP to force their beliefs unto everyone including those who are not bound by the Catholic dogma?

Trust in the Decision Making Capabilities of the Poor and Marginalized

Contraceptive mentality, increase in extramarital affairs and an absolute dissolution of Filipino family values. These are some of what sceptics fear when choices about reproductive health and, most importantly, access to said choices becomes within reach to our less fortunate countrymen.

Do we really look at the poor this way? Hand them rubber that will prevent unplanned pregnancies and diseases and all of a sudden, they will make love to the neighbour instead? Give them the chance to have fewer children so that they could take more care of the ones they already have or space their children properly and out of the blue, no one will want to have babies anymore therefore setting up a future where our country is overrun by wrinkled people and devoid of the young?

Yes, most of the poor are unlearned but they do have a mind of their own. They can make their own decisions especially if presented first with necessary information needed to make such choices. They are not sheep waiting for a shepherd. They are human beings, analytical and reasonable and thus capable of making decisions for themselves, for their family and for their own bodies.

Let us not underestimate them. Let us not underrate the intellect, character and ideals of our fellow countrymen. Let us trust in one another’s capabilities, and most of all let us trust in ourselves.