Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's your choice

A lot of misinformation has been going around. And earlier today, I saw yet again another instance of one who, most likely thinking he had his facts straight, contributed to the spread of more inaccurate information. It really is a pity that in an age where the high level of progress in technology facilitates communication in terms of reach and speed, we bungle it up by communicating things that are simply erroneous.

Many discussions -- online and otherwise -- exploring House Bill 5043 are ongoing. No matter what side of the fence you're on, or whether or not you're still only scratching the surface of the issues involved, you owe it to yourself to be informed.

"The right to make one's own choices" has been trumpeted a lot lately. Some have even gone so far as to say that opposing HB 5043 is the same as being against freedom and people's right to make their own choices. After careful study of the bill, it becomes clearer why the opposite is true.

Here's an excerpt from an article that will shed more light on the whole issue, providing background information as well:

Access to contraceptives is already unrestricted in the Philippines. The government family planning service, which has been in place since the 1970s, has an infrastructure of workers all the way down to the grassroots. The private sector is equally active; the International Planned Parenthood Federation supports two federations of NGOs providing various types of family planning services: Family Planning Organizations of the Philippines, and PNGOC (Philippine NGO Council), the latter with 97 member groups. Sex education is also an integral part of the high school curriculum.

So what is the purpose of House Bill 5043, which is entitled “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development”? Raul del Mar, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, has described it as pushing an open door. If so, what makes it so objectionable to the church and those legislators and members of the public who are pushing from the other side?

The answer is, coercion. The contraceptive-driven fertility decline program of HB 5043 may be the most coercive ever designed outside China. It obliges the government to provide free contraceptive services and products; it establishes an “ideal” family size, setting the stage for a proposed two-child policy; it imposes a national sex education curriculum at fifth grade level. Couples would be denied a civil marriage license unless they present a “certificate of compliance” from a family planning office certifying that they have been adequately instructed in family planning and “responsible parenthood”.

If before, quota-driven programs have led to gross human rights violations, this time around this bill could easily penalize with fines and jail sentences workers who will be unable to meet their quota. Employers who refuse to provide reproductive health care services to their employees will likewise be subject to penalties. Worse, it curtails freedom of speech, since any person who dares to talk against the program will also be subject to jail sentence and fines.

This program turns the Philippines into a veritable police state with the government using police powers to interfere in the personal affairs of its citizens.


Read The Filipino front in the culture wars at MercatorNet



8 comments:

sparks said...

If you are a family of 8 living on minimum wage, family planning commodities will probably not be high on your list.

This country has a lot of things freely available on the market. Unfortunately not everyone has the economic freedom to buy them.

Fact: only 51.6 percent of currently married (and in union) women of reproductive age practice any kind of family planning (please see NSO and NSCB sites).

Fact: The Philippines has a 15.7 percent "unmet need" which means they express wanting only 2 or 3 children but end up having more for reasons such as lack of access, lack of purchasing power or lack of knowledge (again check NSO and NSCB sites).

Fact: the Philippines has the highest maternal and child mortality for a country of its level of development - and also in comparison with its neighbors.

Fact: the Philippines is 1 of 6 predominantly Catholic countries with no comprehensive reproductive health program. The rest have seen the light.

Fact: Abortion is happening whether the Church acknowledges it or not. 475,000+ annually is the conservative estimate.

Fact: Contraceptive prevalence lowers abortion rates.

-----------

CFC: 1. As employers, do you agree to be compelled to provide free reproductive health care services, supplies, devices and surgical procedures (including vasectomy and ligation) to your employees, and be subjected to both imprisonment and/or fine, for every time that you fail to comply? Section 17 states that employers shall provide for the free delivery of reproductive health care services, supplies and devices to all workers more particularly women workers. (Read the Definition of Reproductive Health and Rights Section 4, paragraph g, Section 21, Paragraph c and Section 22 on Penalties)

CLARIFICATION: The bill complements already existing provisions in the Labor Code which mandates employers to provide family planning services and incentives to their employees. The labor code also prohibits employers to deny these benefits to women employees to avoid having pregnancy be a reason for employment termination. The bill expands on these provisions by mandating free RH services and commodities to their employees providing of course that employees request them (Labor Code Article 134 (a-b) and Article 137(a1-a3).

CFC: 2. As health care providers, do you agree that you should be subjected to imprisonment and/or fine, if you fail to provide reproductive health care services such as giving information on family planning methods and providing services like ligation and vasectomy, regardless of the patient’s civil status, gender, religion or age? (Read Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Letter a, Par 1 to 5 and Sec 22 on Penalties)

CLARIFICATION: The bill's penalties are primarily geared towards preventing health care providers from refusing to offer RH services based on the client’s personal circumstances.

Those who refuse to render services on account of religious convictions will not be penalized provided that they immediately refer clients to others with the same facilities. Provided also that the client is not in an emergency or serious case as defined by RA 8344.

CFC: 3. As a Spouse, do you agree that your husband or wife can undergo a ligation or vasectomy without your consent or knowledge? (read Section 21 on Prohibited Acts, Letter a, Paragraph 2)

CLARIFICATION: The bill does penalize those who refuse to perform vasectomy or ligation on a person of legal age on the ground of lack of spousal consent or authorization. Once a spouse has sought these services, it is assumed he or she has done so in consultation with his or her partner. It is no longer within the purview of the law and the state whether he or she has decided to undergo these procedures without the express consent of the partner.

A husband does not own his wife's body and vice versa.

CFC: 4. As parents, do you agree that children from age 10 to 17 should be taught their sexual rights and the means to have a satisfying and “safe” sex life as part of their school curriculum? Reproductive Health Education will be mandatory from Grade 5 to the end of High School (see Sec 12 on Reproductive Health Education and Sec 4 Definition of Family Planning and reproductive Health, Par b,c and d)

CLARIFICATION: The bill endorses age-appropriate sexuality education to ensure that young Filipinos have the right information while instilling values for them to exercise responsible decision-making in matters of sex and reproductive health. Section 12 lists the main elements of the proposed sexuality education to be incorporated in school curricula. The bill does not contain specifics on having a “satisfying and safe sex life.”

The following are the general topics to be taken up in sexuality education class mentioned in the bill:

1. Reproductive health and sexual rights
2. Reproductive health care and services
3. Attitudes, beliefs and values on sexual development, sexual behaviour and sexual health
4. Proscription and hazards of abortion and management of post-abortion complications
5. Responsible parenthood
6. Use and application of natural and modern family planning to promote reproductive health, achieve desired family size and prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies
7. Abstinence before marriage
8. Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other STIs/STDs, prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other gynecological disorders
9. Responsible sexuality
10. Maternal, peri-natal and post-natal education, care and services

So, yeah. No details on kama sutra.

Also, only teachers who agree to teach sexuality education will undergo training.

CFC: 5. Do you agree that you should be subjected to imprisonment and/or pay a fine, for expressing an opinion against any provision of this law, if such expression of opinion is interpreted as constituting “malicious disinformation”? (See Sec 21 on Prohibited Acts, Par f and Sec 22 on Penalties)

If you answered NO to any of the questions above, then you are not for RH Bill 50433. Read the bill. You will find more objecrtionalble provisions such as losing our parental authority over a minor child who was raped and found pregnant (sec 21, 1, no. 3), reclassifying contraceptives as essential medicines (Section 10) and appropriating limited government funds to reproductive services instead of basic services (Section 23).

CLARIFICATION: In accordance with the law, the bill does not curtail every individual’s right of free speech. To express disagreement or dissent against the merits of legislation is the cornerstone of any democratic society.

HB 5043 does penalize any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of the Act. This includes such acts as claiming that the bill will punish parents who, in good conscience, disallow their children to attend sexuality education class.

sunnyday said...

"At the risk of being repetitious, I would remind the group that we have found the highest frequency of induced abortion in the group which, in general, most frequently uses contraceptives."

-- Dr. A. Kinsey, 1995 Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) Conference

British Abortionist Judith Bury, Brook Advisory Centres, 1981:
"...women...have come to request [abortions] when contraception fails.
There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might
expect, the provision [availability] of contraception leads to an
increase in the abortion rate." ["Sex Education for Bureaucrats," The
Scotsman, 29 June 1981]

Let me pick one of the points you wrote here, since many seem to be sure about what they're saying when they assert that contraceptive prevalence lowers abortion rates. Let's learn from the experience of others and refuse to turn a blind eye.

* Dr. A. Kinsey, 1995 Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) Conference:

"At the risk of being repetitious, I would remind the group that we have found the highest frequency of induced abortion in the group which, in general, most frequently uses contraceptives."

* British Abortionist Judith Bury, Brook Advisory Centres, 1981:

"...women...have come to request [abortions] when contraception fails. There is overwhelming evidence that, contrary to what you might expect, the provision [availability] of contraception leads to an increase in the abortion rate." ["Sex Education for Bureaucrats," The
Scotsman, 29 June 1981]

* Abortionist and international contraception promoter Malcolm Potts [former director of Planned Parenthood of England] 1976 (even as early
as 1973) quoted in Sex and Social Engineering by Valerie Riches:

"As people turn to contraception, there will be a rise, not a fall, in the abortion rate...".

sunnyday said...

Oops, I apologize for the repeated portions of my comment.

petrufied said...

1. Reproductive health and sexual rights
2. Reproductive health care and services
3. Attitudes, beliefs and values on sexual development, sexual behaviour and sexual health
4. Proscription and hazards of abortion and management of post-abortion complications
5. Responsible parenthood
6. Use and application of natural and modern family planning to promote reproductive health, achieve desired family size and prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies
7. Abstinence before marriage
8. Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other STIs/STDs, prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other gynecological disorders
9. Responsible sexuality
10. Maternal, peri-natal and post-natal education, care and services


Hi there, sparks, thanks for giving the outline. I just wonder, now that these topics will be taught to grade school students, what the implications are. Sure there is abstinence before marriage, but it's also coupled with prevention of STDs. The lessons don't jibe at all. Because if you really meant to instill in the youth the value of saving sex for marriage, you wouldn't need to teach them how to use a condom.

Also, what do they mean when they say reproductive health? Do we take the definition from the Cairo and Beijing conferences? If that's the case, then the course outline is meant to condition the mind of the youth to be open to abortion, nevermind lesson #4.

And sexual rights: maybe this needs an explicit definition as well. (Does it mean we have the right to have sex with anybody? Does the lesson plan cover why that's not a good idea? Where is the lesson on love being more than just sex? Where is the self-giving aspect of sex? Will these not be covered?)

It's easy to think that when one is well equipped with contraceptive information, and makes a decision regarding the matter, one is being responsible. But is it really what responsibility is? To take the sexual act when you want it? Will that make better people of our youth?

Put these lessons within the context of the permissiveness in the media and pop culture. Now, teens on TV are having sex also. Will the lessons then, allow them to realize how special sex is, or will it simply let them think that sex is casual, after all there are contraceptives to assure that no baby results from it.

Just some of my thoughts! :D

Manny said...

HB 5043 does NOT leave any room for choice. By penalizing the spread of "disinformation", the Bill sets a very dangerous precedent for curtailing free speech. Who is going to determine what counts as "disinformation"? Many things that were once thought to be untrue have been found to be true. Since when is it right for the government to determine what one can or cannot say about a controversial issue? Can we even trust this government to come up with fair definition of "disinformation" and enforce it properly? Forget it!

This attack on free speech. This right is so very basic that even the expression of controversial opinion is protected. The only limits are libel and sedition, and even these are very limited in scope. To legislate now some idiotic and overly broad provision prohibiting "disinformation" is patently unconstitutional.

I also find it amazing that there are still people who think widespread contraceptive use will lessen abortions. That's a big lie and those who insist on believing it are hiding their heads in the sand. Abortions rise with contraceptive use because of promiscuity and unavoidable contraceptive failures. In the US, where some contraceptive proponents claim the abortion rate is going down, you actually have medicated abortion where people use abortifacients like RU486. The incidence of medicated abortion is, of course, very much UNDERREPORTED. Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute admits that.

Manny said...

By the way, you can express your OPPOSITION to HB 5043 in an online petition:

http://www.petitiononline.com/xxhb5043/petition.html

Let's kill this dangerous Bill!

WillyJ said...

So true...

I have already responded to sparks that her clarification on item # 4 "The bill endorses..." is not quite factual. The bill "mandates", not "endorses". No option out for parents who discern that the POPCOM designed sex-ed curriculum is unsuitable for their children as they see fit. Certainly, your children will get failing grades if you don't let them attend those mandatory classes. Indeed, it makes one wonder what they mean by "pro-choice".

More power and may you have a sunny day ahead :-)

Manny said...

Just want to post a new development: A position paper against HB 5043 ("Catholic Alumni United for Life") has been released. It's purpose is to speak out against HB 5043 and counter the confusion and falsehoods generated by the earlier position paper released by the 14 Ateneo professors in support of HB 5043.

The paper can be found at:

http://www.phnix.net/Position_Paper_Against_HB_5043.pdf

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