Myths to expect from the anti-RH Law
by Jego Ragracio as originally posted at the Philippine Online Chronicles
As you might know, the Supreme Court is scheduled to make a final deliberation on the petitions challenging the constitutionality of R.A. 10354, better known as the RH Law, on April 8, 2014. Already, you may have seen anti-RH Law personalities make more and more statements against the law in the past few days. Even the CBCP has gotten in on the action.
They are fighting an uphill battle. The opponents of the RH Law were a clear minority in Congress, losing the vote by a wide margin. During the oral arguments before the Supreme Court, the anti-RH petitioners met stern rebukes from the Justices for presenting a premature case.
As April 8 approaches, we can expect them to step up on their attacks against the RH Law. Here’s a countdown of 7 myths you can expect them to say, in no particular order, and the facts you need to know about what they’re saying.
Myth #7: Majority of Catholics want the RH Law junked.
The Facts: Impartial surveys have consistently reported an overwhelming majority of Filipinos supporting the RH Law, with opposition at a low 28-30%. Doing the math: assuming that all of the 28-30% of Filipinos are Catholics, and assigning the remaining estimate of 30% non-Catholic Filipinos as part of the 70% majority, that still leaves 40% of Filipinos (Catholic by our assumptions) as being in favor of the RH Law. Clearly still a *majority* of Catholics.
In fact, in a worldwide survey of Catholics, it showed that 68% of Filipino Catholics supported the use of artificial contraception – a figure consistent with local survey results.
In response to this, all the anti-RH have to offer is a vague accusation of bias in the conduct of the survey.
Myth #6: The RH Law is all about population control.
The Facts: The authors of the RH Law themselves had references to population control removed, stating that such provisions were no longer within the current scope of the RH Law, namely that of reproductive health rights and empowerment. In fact, Sec. 3 (l) states that “[t]here shall be no demographic or population targets,” which runs counter to the claim that the RH Law is a population control measure.
Myth #5: RH Law advocates are paid by pro-abortion organizations.
The Facts: Anti-RH people make reference to a document from Likhaan that had budgeted P350 per participant for a pro-RH activity at the time it was still pending in Congress. While the original “expose” article claimed that the P350 was actually given to each participant, it was merely an insinuation, and no proof was ever shown to that effect. Likhaan had also clarified that the budget per head was for food and supplies, as is normal for such activities, and was not a stipend given directly to participants.
Anti RH people will also target media personalities as being “paid hacks,” without neither proof nor qualification as to where the money comes from or who pays them. They have already started on social media, but expect such attacks to step up in the coming days.
On the other hand, there were consistent allegations that grade school, high school, and college students were *required* to attend anti-RH rallies, and would be promised higher grades for their attendance, as well as for writing articles and participating in online discussions pushing the anti-RH message. At least one student has publicly confirmed this tactic.
Myth #4: The RH Law is not needed. Contraceptives are available in the market, and no law prohibits people from buying them.
The Facts: First, the RH Law is not all about contraceptives. It is primarily about education, information, and the provision of reproductive health services. Contraceptives only form one component among all these.
That being said, availability is not the same as accessibility. Rural poor have no immediate access to drug stores and pharmacies, let alone convenience stores that carry contraceptives. Even if they are informed of their reproductive health options, such knowledge is futile without the means to exercise such option. This is why the RH Law mandates the provision of such contraceptive medicines and devices, so that those who choose to use them may have access to them.
Myth #3: Oral contraceptives pills (OCPs) cause abortions.
The Facts: The so-called “third action” that the anti-RH love to raise against the OCP, where OCPs allegedly prevent a fertilized egg from implanting on the uterine lining, has never been proven to actually happen. There is simply no science behind the claim.
Even the morning after pill (MAPs) has been found by the World Health Organization to NOT interfere with the implantation process. What more OCPs, which do not have nearly the same levels of progesterone or estrogen as MAPs?
Myth #2: The RH Law allows and even promotes abortion.
The Facts: The RH Law clearly upholds the existing ban on abortion, even making mention of this ban no less than 4 times in its provisions: Sec. 3 (j), Sec. 4 (q-3), Sec. 4 (s), and Sec. 29. Nowhere in its provisions is abortion accepted as a valid reproductive health care measure; three of the four provisions cited above explicitly state otherwise. The anti-RH have consistently avoided pointing out a specific provision of law to support their claim, and have done so even before the law was passed.
Myth #1: The RH Law is unconstitutional
The Facts: The constitutionality of the RH Law is precisely what the anti-RH are asking Supreme Court to determine. They are getting ahead of themselves and of the Supreme Court if they claim, definitively, that the RH Law is unconstitutional even before the Supreme Court rules on it.
The fact is that in law, legislation passed by Congress enjoys a presumption of constitutionality. It is the burden of those who allege unconstitutionality to prove it before the SC, with clear and convincing evidence. Whether or not the evidence presented by the anti-RH petitioners meets and overcomes the presumption remains to be seen.
Jego blogs at raggster.wordpress.com and can be found on twitter @raggster .
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