Several bills have been filed in the two Houses of the Philippine Congress, proposing a law on “reproductive health.” These bills have provoked the most polarizing public debates. Many are puzzled by it. Why should anybody be so afraid of “reproductive health” when nearly the entire world has come to terms with it, and freely practices contraception, sterilization and even abortion, and some countries have even legalized euthanasia? What has happened to our exceptional ability to adapt to the latest fads and fashions of the West? Are we foolishly rejecting things which the rich consumer societies have long associated with progress? In this paper, we shall examine the real issues involved, and show why the proposed legislation has proved so divisive.
What is “reproductive health?”
In its plain meaning, it refers (or ought to refer) to a person’s health in both body and mind, in the mature and responsible use of his or her reproductive organs and faculties; its primary concern is the safe, licit and natural generation and proper upbringing of a new human being (a child).
But as a United Nations’ verbal construct, “reproductive health” or “reproductive rights” refers to what an individual wants to do with his or her body and sexuality, including but not limited to the “right to abortion.” This language was formally incorporated into official U.N. usage at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo; it has gained wide official currency since.
Thus, when some women, who had been victims of China’s “one male child policy,” heard it for the first time at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, they literally danced for joy, believing they would finally be able to bear as many children as they wanted ---- only to be told promptly that the phrase meant “the right not to reproduce at all.”
As used in the bills, “reproductive health” is not concerned with the safe, licit and natural generation and moral upbringing of any new human being. Its main thrust is the very opposite ---- how to prevent pregnancy and reproduction through contraception and sterilization.
The bills are, strictly speaking, anti-reproduction bills.
The proponents claim that ten (10) poor women are dying everyday from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. This may or may not be correct. If correct, experience has shown (as in Gattaran, Cagayan and Sorsogon, Sorsogon) that the incidence of maternal death arising from such complications could be fully mitigated and brought down to zero simply by providing adequate basic and emergency obstetrics care and skilled medical personnel and services.
It appears, however, that the proponents are not interested in addressing the complications. They are particularly bent on curing child-bearing, which is not a disease, as though it had become the biggest killer of women.
THE REAL KILLERS
According to the 2007 updated statistics from the Department of Health, more women ---at least 17 out of every 100,000---die every day from accidents alone. So many more die from the major killers. The daily toll on every 100,000 women is as follows:
1. Heart diseases, 80
2. Vascular diseases, 63
3. Cancer, 51
4. Pneumonia, 45
6. Diabetes, 22
7. Lower chronic respiratory diseases, 16
Women (and men) suffering from these diseases do not get free “essential medicines” and medical services from the State. But it appears to be of no moment to our anti-reproduction politicians.. They are simply intent on making childbearing the gravest medical disorder which the State must cure, with all sorts of contraceptives and sterilization devices, including those which the World Health Organization’s (WHO) has determined to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to humans. They warn their listeners that unless this was done, the poor would simply continue to multiply in exponential terms.
The proposed law is based on a preponderance of egregious errors.
Contrary to the claim, the proposed law is neither a health measure nor an anti-poverty one. It is a naked attempt to impose a hedonistic sex-oriented lifestyle upon individuals and families -- one in which marriage is reduced into a State-mediated partnership between two individuals whose primary purpose is to engage in a mechanical State-supervised exchange of carnal sensations while doing everything to avoid its most natural consequence, namely, the conception of a child.
The proposed law is anchored on an ideological misreading of demographic data. It is absolutely superfluous and deceptive. It is unconstitutional. It is destructive of public morals and oppressive of religious values and beliefs. It has nothing to do with the common good, but is primarily intended to serve the interests of those who see the nation’s (and other countries’) population growth as an economic and security threat to the developed countries, now plagued by an aging and dying population, and a systemic financial-monetary crisis.
WHAT ARE THE FACTS?
There is no “population explosion,” despite the highly orchestrated media hype about it. Our women are not multiplying like rabbits; “overpopulation” is a myth.
According to the proponents’ own statistics, the country’s population growth rate is down to 2.04%; the total fertility rate (TFR), or the number of children a woman of reproductive age can have in her lifetime, down to 3.02.. This is all according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).
According to the CIA World Factbook, 2008, however, the birth rate is down to 1.72%; the TFR down to 3.00. The U.N. Population Division projects that by 2020 the TFR will drop to 2.29 -- just a breath away from the replacement level of 2.1. Thereafter, it will all be downward until the rate falls below replacement level.
A SHRINKING POPULATION?
Has the population begun to shrink?
No. Why not?
Because despite the falling birth rate and the steady toll exacted by the leading killers on both men and women, the average Filipino today has a lifespan of 70.8 years, longer than his counterpart of the last generation. So the population will continue to grow, at a moderate pace.
The forecast is different for the rich countries. Precisely because of contraception, abortion and in some cases euthanasia, coupled with negative birth rates, some highly developed populations are soon projected to shrink. According to U.N. estimates, by 2050, at least 30 European countries and nine others will have smaller populations. Germany and Japan will lose 14% of their present population; Italy and Hungary, 25%; Russia, George and Ukraine, 28 to 40%. Some 170 out of 187 countries will have a fertility level of 2.1 or less.
At that point, fully one-third of the population of the developed countries and 20% of the population of the developing countries will be above 60 years. There will be at least 2 billion such seniors alive, and 379 million aged 80 and above. Prof. Gerard-Francois Dumont of the University of Paris-Sorbonne calls this phenomenon gerontocroissance (gerontogrowth). Europe, which used to account for 22% of the world population as against Africa’s 8% before World War II, will shrink to one-third the population of Africa.
NO NEED TO PANIC
There is an attempt to panic the public with scare scenarios about the country’s population doubling in 30 years, and everything else getting worse. The projection assumes that all variables will remain constant. But they never do. So we cannot treat the projection even as a scientific forecast. Still they insist on their scenarios.
Assuming the population does in fact double, then our population density would also double, from the present 277 inhabitants per square km. to 554. That would be nearly one/thirty-third of Macau’s present density, one-thirtieth of Monaco’s, and a little over one-tenth of Singapore’s and Hong Kong’s. If by then the same demagogues and economic doctors would still be running the show, then perhaps we haven’t got even a prayer. But if we could correct our mistakes, and get rid of our inept and thieving political leaders, then there is hope. How people conduct themselves is the critical issue, not how many they are.
There is no agreed statistic on the country’s or the world’s “carrying capacity” --- or just how many people it can hold or support. We normally look at the total population, total land area and population density (how many inhabitants occupy one square kilometer of land, assuming an even distribution of the population) to see if a given territory is sparsely, moderately, or densely populated.
Thus, one study suggests that if the United States with its 9,629,091 square km. were to take in the population density of Japan (339), instead of its own 31 inhabitants per square km., it could hold about 30 billion people, with a total GDP of at least $71 trillion.
For now, this is part of what we see:
1) China has 1,323,324,000 people in a land area of 9,596,961 square km,. Population density is 138 inhabitants per square km.—nearly one-fourth that of South Korea, nearly one-half that of Belgium, Japan, Israel or Guam. Is it overpopulated? So it would seem, when we look at the total population. But not quite, when we look at the population density.
2) India has 1,103,371,000 people, in a land area of 3,287,263 square km. Population density is 336 inhabitants per square km. --- lower than that of South Korea, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Japan. Overpopulated? Just like China.
3) Macau has 538,100 people in a land area of 29.2 square kms.. Population density is 18,428 inhabitants per square km. – the highest in the world. Overpopulated? So it seems. But given its GDP per capita (PPP) of $28,400, which is higher than most, we hear no strident complaints.
4) Monaco has 32,671 people in a land area of 1.95 square km.. Population density: 16,754 inhabitants per square km --- the second highest in the world. Overpopulated? Like Macau. Given its GDP per capita (PPP) of $30,000, which is higher than most, the kingdom seems content.
5) Singapore has 4,588,600 people in a land area of 707.1 square km, Population density: 6.489 inhabitants per square km. ---the third highest in the world. Overpopulated? So it seems. But given its GDP per capita (PPP) of $49,700, the highest in all of Asia, its leaders are asking young people to marry and procreate and married couples to have more children.
6) Hong Kong has 7,040, 885 people in a land area of 1,099 square km., Population density: 6,407 inhabitants per square km. – the fourth highest in the world. Overpopulated? So it seems. But given its GDP per capita (PPP) of $42,000, the second highest in Asia, it does not mind adding more migrant workers to its native population.
THE FEW AREN’T ALWAYS RICHER, THE MANY NOT ALWAYS POORER
The Philippines has a population density of 277 inhabitants per square km., a GDP per capita (PPP) of $3,400. The per capita distribution is, of course, only a mathematical notion, unrelated to reality. Those listed by Forbes magazine among the world’s dollar billionaires, and those not listed but who are as rich if not richer, could be earning several million times more than those among the bottom million, who could each be earning less than $500 a year. Over a million subsist on less than $1 a day and are officially classified as “extremely poor.”
But they are not all uniformly poor because they each have so many children. They need not have any; or they could have only one or two children. Their poverty precedes them; it precedes the birth of their children. The causes of poverty lie elsewhere.
Mainly because 80% or more of the population shares 20% or less of the nation’s wealth, while 20% or less of the population shares 80% or more of the nation’s wealth, coupled with a humungous foreign and public debt, unbridled corruption, and low investments in education, health care, and scientific research, the people are poor, and will remain poor, unless something bright and beautiful happens to any of their children.
Nonetheless, at least 36 other countries with more inhabitants per square km. than that of the Philippines have a much higher per capita income. And at least 50 other countries with a lower population density than that of the Philippines also have a much lower per capita income. One striking case is Central African Republic with only 6.5 inhabitants per square km., and a per capita income of $700.
A FUNCTION OF NUMBERS?
There can be no clearer and more convincing proof against the claim that our poverty is the inescapable and direct effect of having more people than some eugenicists and neo-Malthusians would care to see around. No rich couple has suddenly become poor just because they chose to have children. On the contrary, so many poor families lifted themselves from poverty because of their children.
It is so much easier to show that we are many because we are poor than that we are poor because we are too many. Poor and unemployed couples tend to have more time to spend together and procreate, while working couples tend to be busier and endure more work-related stress. Thus, the poor tend to have larger families, on the average. Clearly poverty is more a cause than a consequence of faster population growth.
WHAT IF THE BIRTH RATE DROPS?
Were the birth rate to drop to zero, and half or more than half of the country’s population to evaporate into the ether, would it alter the ratio of 80% or more of the people sharing 20% or less of the nation’s wealth while 20% or less of the people share 80% or more of it?
Would it automatically eliminate the notoriously bad governance, the unbridled official corruption, the humungous and ever ballooning foreign and public debt, the unmitigated conspicuous consumption and rampant smuggling and cheating on taxes among the predatory elite?
Would it allocate more resources to quality education, reputable health care, environmental protection, socialized housing, basic public infrastructure for transport, communication, energy, and food production?
Would it provide greater public access to technology, and greater attention to scientific research and development?
Would it transform the Philippines into a welfare state? Would it make people more morally upright, less pleasure-seeking, self-indulgent and selfish?
POPULATION CONTROL A DISEASE
The problem of extreme poverty is real. But population control has never been the solution, or even one of the solutions to it. So unless we stop listening to the sterile advice of neo-Malthusian economists and get rid of policymakers who make population growth the convenient scapegoat for all our ills, we shall never recognize the real causes of our poverty, the real resources we can mobilize, and the opportunities that should never pass us by.
THE REAL RESOURCE
The age structure of our population reveals our real strength. Its median age is 23 years, younger than that of 139 other countries, and older than that of 73 others. This means that while those older ones are phasing out of the workforce, and those younger ones are not yet ready to join it, our workers are already at their most productive. Assuming the average worker is retired at 65, this means the average Filipino worker has 42 productive years more to go as against the Chinese worker’s 31.4 years, the American’s 28.3 years, the Singaporean’s 26.6 years, the Canadian’s 24.9 years, and the Japanese’s 21.2 years.
If Pope John Paul II is correct when he says in Laborem Exercens that human labor is what creates capital; if Gary Becker, the 1992 Nobel Prize economics laureate, is correct when he speaks of the irreplaceable value of human capital, and the role the family and education play in developing that capital; if Julian Simon is correct when he asserts that the human being is the planet’s “Ultimate Resource” in his book of the same title, then we are sitting on top of a priceless resource that has not been given to everyone else.
All we need to do is to invest properly in its development. But the anti-reproduction people would rather destroy it at its root.
LEGISLATING A LIE
The proposed legislation is based not merely on a bad and discredited theory. It is based on a lie. Everything about the proposal is deliberately deceitful.
In one committee hearing, one Senator suggested that we avoid using the term “population control” and use “population management” instead. That sounds less coercive, more palatable. This, however, was not an innocent suggestion; there persists a systematic effort to glamorize the most horrid things about population control through the use of deceitfully enticing language. It is the dark side of Wittgenstein’s theory that “meaning is use,” and Heidegger’s proposition that “language is the house of Being.”
The result of this “verbal engineering” is what some people call “U.N.-speak”, the U.N. version of George Orwell’s “Newspeak” (in the novel Nineteen Eighty Four) in which the Ministry of War is called the “Ministry of Peace.” Outside of Orwell’s novel, readers of children’s literature encounter the same thing in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, where Humpty Dumpty tells Alice: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean---neither more nor less.” . This explains what happened to those Tibetan women in Beijing.
AN ABBREVIATED HISTORY OF POPULATION CONTROL
Population control is a racist and eugenicist idea whose real objective is to eliminate the poor and others who are deemed “socially unfit,” while purportedly trying to help them. To be fair, it did not begin with the proponents of the present bills.
They may not even be fully aware of the real inspiration behind their proposals, which appear to have been drafted not by them or their staff, but by the technical staff of the “Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development” (PLCPD), a foreign-funded pressure group.
Nevertheless they have a duty to know it before they start talking about it on the floor of Congress or on public television.
Population control began in antiquity. In ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh ordered every newborn male to be thrown into the Nile to prevent the fast-growing Israelites from outnumbering the Egyptians and taking over the kingdom (Ex 1:15). In Judea, King Herod ordered the slaughter of the innocents in order to get rid of the child who had been prophesied to deliver his people from bondage (Mt 2:16). In both cases, the reason had nothing to do with the health or poverty of the poor; it was pure and simple politics.
MALTHUS, GALTON, AND HITLER
In 1798, Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834), in his “Essay on Population as it Affects the Future Improvement of Society” theorized that population would grow geometrically while food supply would increase only arithmetically, thus creating unavoidable food shortages. This set in motion the early engines of population control. It eventually converged with eugenics, the science developed by Francis Galton (1822-1911) and which advocated controlled breeding to ensure the propagation of good genes and check the transmission of bad ones.
The most rabid eugenicists advocated the physical segregation of the “socially unfit” from the rest of the population. This meant the poor, the handicapped, the mentally retarded, the ugly, the ignorant, etc. Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) proved the most advanced; he had six million Jews executed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Sobitor, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Dachau and so many others, to create lebensraum (living space) for Germany, and a superior Aryan race to propagate Nazism. But Hitler lost the war and the Third Reich was reduced to ashes. Thereafter, the eugenicist idea vanished from the scene, or so it seemed.
RISING FROM THE GRAVE
Eventually, it rose again from the grave under the name of “birth control” funded by wealthy Europeans and Americans who saw in it the key to the demographic security of the West. By the seventies, it became a major activity of the United Nations. The UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) was created under the leadership of the late Filipino technocrat, Rafael Salas.
In 1974, one year after the U.S. Supreme Court (in Roe vs. Wade) legalized abortion, Dr. Henry Kissinger as National Security Adviser to the US President authored a crucial study entitled, “Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests.” Kissinger’s group studied 13 less developed countries (LDCs)---the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Columbia --- which were said to provide 47% of the increase in the world’s population growth.
NSSM 200 OR THE KISSINGER REPORT
This study, known as U.S. National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 200, or The Kissinger Report, was kept as a top secret U.S document from 1974 until 1989, when it was officially declassified by the White House. It created the template for the global population policy, which none of three previous international conferences on population----namely, the World Population Conference in Rome in 1954, the Second World Population Conference in Belgrade in 1965. and the World Population Conference in Bucharest in August 1974 (four months before NSSM 200)----had tried to create.
Kissinger and his group saw that if the population of the 13 and other LDCs continued to grow, after the population of the United States and the First World had stabilized, the developing countries would end up using their own natural resources, to the utter deprivation of the First World. They also saw that if the developing countries acquired the technology of the First World, a reversal of roles could follow---today’s masters would become tomorrow’s slaves. They also saw that the arrival of every new population carried in its train potentially destabilizing values.
Therefore, the continued population growth of the LDCs presented a threat to “U. S. security and overseas interests.” It had to be moderated.
TWO-CHILD FAMILY FOR ALL
What to do?
Launch a World Population Plan of Action “to achieve (worldwide) a replacement level (a two-child family on the average) by about the year 2000,” said NSSM 200.
“This will require the present (1974) 2% growth to decline to 1.7% within a decade and to 1.1% by 2000, compared to the U.N. medium projection; this goal would result in 500 million fewer people in 2000 and about 3 million fewer in 2050. Attainment of this goal will require greatly intensified population programs,” the Kissinger Report said.
Since the Action Plan was not self-enforcing, it required vigorous efforts on the part of the LDCs, the U.N. agencies and other international bodies to make it effective ---“under U.S. leadership.”
FOCUS ON THE LDCS
The Report urged primary focus on the 13 LDCs. Population programs had to be integrated into their development planning; conditions created to bring about fertility decline, including “developing alternatives to children as a source of gold age security; education of new generations on the desirability of smaller families.”
USE LOCAL LEADERS
The Report urged the U.S. President and the Secretary of State to “treat the subject of population growth control as a matter of paramount importance and address it specifically in their regular contacts with leaders of other governments, particularly LDCs.”
The Report urged them. to “encourage LDC leaders to take the lead in advancing family planning and population stabilization both within multilateral organizations and through bilateral contacts with the LDCs.”
However, the Report cautioned the U.S. government “not to give the appearance to the LDCs of an industrialized country policy directed against the LDCs…Third World leaders should be in the forefront and obtain the credit for successful programs,” the Report said.
(Egyptian President Anwar Saddat, Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi, and Indonesian President Suharto were among those honored by the U.N. for their work on population in their respective countries. Sadat and Ghandi were both assassinated in office, while Suharto was forced to resign on charges of corruption, and other reasons. In the Philippines, the U.N. awarded Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani a plaque for her advocacy of population control before and after the Cairo conference where she was a delegate.)
MASS MEDIA AND SATELLITE SYSTEMS
The Report assigned a special role to the mass media and satellite communications technology, particularly in dealing with “large and illiterate rural communities.” Thus, the amazing hype on the anti-reproduction bills among media persons who seem to feel no need to show any understanding of the real issues involved.
From 1965 to 1974, according to the Report, U.S. AID obligated $625 million for population activities. .It supported population control programs in 70 LDCs. US AID quickly became the biggest contributor to the UNFPA. WHO, UNICEF, ILO, UNESCO, World Bank, Asian Development Bank are among the other big public donors.
Among the private donors, the Report identified Pathfinder Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and Population Council. David and Lucile Packard Foundation and many others have since been added to the list; so have some of the world’s richest individuals---Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Ted Turner, George Soros, etc.
In Cairo, it was agreed (although the agreement was to be “non-binding”) that the LDCs and economies in transition would appropriate $17 billion in 2000, $18.5 billion in 2005, $20.5 billion in 2010, and $21.7 billion in 2015--- for reproductive health.
While NSSM 200 did not specify abortion as a preferred family planning method, the Report observed that “no country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.”
Thus, from the August 1984 international population conference in Mexico through the June 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the September 1994 ICPD in Cairo, the March 1995 World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, the September 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing, the June 1996 U. N. Habitat conference in Istanbul, the November 1996 World Food Summit in Rome, the 2002 U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, etc. there has been a sustained effort to push abortion as the one, true solution to the “population growth” and other related “problems.”
This has not prospered, thanks to the sustained vigilance of the Holy See, the Islamic and some Latin American countries. No thanks to the Philippine government. Still, the number of countries legalizing abortion has grown. So has the number of abortions. In 1974, NSSM 200 estimated the annual abortions worldwide at 30 million. That figure has nearly doubled since – nearly equal to the entire population of Britain.
In the Philippines, reproductive health advocates tend to inflate the number of criminally induced abortion in order to provide the pro-abortion lobby a twisted argument for perversely advocating the legalization of abortion. On the basis of fudged or completely manufactured data, they first try to show that the incidence of murder is rising and can no longer be stopped, then they conclude that the only solution is to decriminalize or completely legalize it. Many countries have followed this scandalously fallacious path.
CONTRACEPTION FIRST, ABORTION NEXT
The proposed anti-reproduction legislation constitutes the first step. Abortion is the next. This is the unbroken historical pattern. And it owes much of its support to the anti-life and anti-family ideologues in the United Nations.
At the UN, international law has shifted further and further away from relations between and among nations and deeper into the personal lives of men and women. The most libertarian democratic principle is invoked to support the most totalitarian and personally invasive interventions. This is a most egregious development.
PRESSURE FROM CEDAW
Consistent with this, the CEDAW Committee has been trying to pressure party nations to legalize abortion or to increase access to abortion if they had already legalized it. Between 1995 and 20008, the Philippines and 64 other countries were subjected to such pressure, although unsuccessfully in our case.
To her credit, the Philippine delegate (Health Undersecretary Nieto) resisted the pressure, pointing out that the Philippine Constitution bans abortion and that a specific statute criminalizes it. To which the CEDAW members from Croatia, China and Ghana said that since no one was being prosecuted for abortion, the government should now legalize it.
The pressure continues, through various channels, and in various forms.
THE ROLE OF THE PLCPD
In Congress, it is openly and casually talked about that the anti-reproduction bills had been drafted by the PLCPD staff, rather than by the authors themselves or their respective staffs. Even the House substitute bill, which consolidates four component bills into one after only one public hearing, is attributed to this group, instead of having been put together by the Joint Committees on Health and on Population and Family Relations, to which the original bills had been referred, or by a Technical Working Group appointed by the same committees, as is the usual practice.
The PLCPD declares on its website (http//:plcpd.org.ph) that it was established in December 1989 as “a non-stock, non-profit foundation dedicated to the formulation of viable public policies requiring legislation on population and management and socio-economic development.” It lists several senators and congressmen as members. Its donor agencies include UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, and David and Lucile Packard Foundation. All these donors are actively engaged in promoting population control. PLCPD’s executive officer is a scholar-grantee of Packard Foundation.
A press statement appearing in the July 25, 2008 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer quotes the Foundation as complaining that the Philippine government had not been buying contraceptives for sometime. To which the appropriations committee of the House of Representatives promptly responded by approving a whooping P3.4 billion funding for the highly questionable reproductive health bill. And the Department of Health announced it would soon start distributing condoms as a prophylactic against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),
In my years in the Senate, mostly as Senate Majority Leader, from 1992 to 2001, I had never heard of the PLCPD. Today, it is all over the place, wherever the reproductive health bill is talked about.
Political lobbying requires the PLCPD to register as a “foreign agent” pursuant to Batas Pambansa 39, otherwise known as the Foreign Agents Act of 1979. This is a law I authored in the interim Batasang Pambansa, together with then Minister (now Senator) Juan Ponce Enrile.
Why foreign agent? Because foreign agent is “any person who acts or agrees to act as political consultant, public relations counsel, publicity agent, information representative, or as agent, servant, representative or attorney for a foreign principal or any domestic organization subsidized directly or indirectly in whole or in part by a foreign principal.”
But what PLCPD is doing goes far beyond the legitimate activity contemplated in BP 39. It constitutes active interference in legislation, which should be abjured and penalized by Congress.
LGUS AS CONDUITS
Moving on a parallel track but faster than the bills in Congress are anti-reproduction ordinances which are being pushed with exceptional zeal by the same foreign lobby through local government councils whose ordinance-making power is otherwise limited to local matters within their respective jurisdictions and competence.
The first council to succumb was that of Olongapo City, which passed the unconstitutional ordinance without any serious public consultations, publicity or debate. Many other cities and provincial governments have since tried to follow suit.
In all this, the most aggressive campaigners are brand ”nationalists” who are normally quick to shout “imperialism” and burn a foreign effigy or flag whenever they suspect any undue alien intervention in the nation’s internal affairs.
Apparently blindsided by the high rhetoric about “women’s rights,” they have become the most ardent and zealous supporters and spokesmen of this most vicious intervention in the innermost lives of Filipino individuals and families. It is imperialism of the worst kind, and the customary anti-imperialists are the ones openly championing it .
THE CENTRAL ECONOMY PLANNERS
Not far behind are free market economists who like to talk of “liberalization, privatization and deregulation” but who appear ready to discard their basic philosophical orientation in order to do central economy planning, which is the ideological opposite of what they are supposed to stand for, except that the subject of their central planning is not just the economy, but rather the private lives and aches of the Filipino poor.
Instead of trying to see how our limited resources could be used more efficiently to benefit the poor, our economists seem determined to allocate the poor according to the meager resources available. It is no longer economics, but population engineering.
Nothing could seem to explain this change in ideological orientation better than the fact that most if not all of these economists have been associated with the international institutions actively involved in population control. The foreign program is in control at the expense of the sovereign rights and interests of the Filipino people.
Even if no other reason existed, that alone is sufficient reason to reject the proposed legislation. We cannot allow ourselves to become an extended laboratory for the failed population policies of the West. We cannot afford to commit the same folly that has engulfed the moral imagination of those countries, and created the vast and growing moral and spiritual desert that Pope Benedict XVI has warned against.
WHY THE PROPOSED LAW MUST BE REJECTED
We have already seen the false and utterly unscientific premises of the proposed law. Not even the belated entry into the debate of 26 economics professors from the University of the Philippines has helped to sort out the skewed logic and demographic analysis. We shall discuss now the specific reasons why the proposed legislation should be rejected.
1. IT IS TOTALLY UNNECESSARY AND DECEPTIVE
According to the proponents, they simply want women to have free access to all contraceptives and sterilization devices. They are less than honest.
What they purportedly want our women to have the women have long appropriated for themselves. Access to contraceptives is free and unrestricted. Despite the WHO cancer-research finding that oral contraceptives cause breast, liver and cervical cancer, none of these items have been banned by law. None of them are even required to be labeled as “cancer-causing” or “hazardous to women’s health.” Even abortifacients (drugs that induce abortion) are openly sold as plain contraceptives, without any warning whatsoever about their abortion-causing qualities. Just as no one is prohibited by law from using contraceptives, no one is barred from getting sterilized if they want it. In fact, health workers are the ones campaigning that men undergo vasectomy and women get ligated. Neither is anyone restrained from making a fool of themselves and telling the Church to change its position on the subject because they will not stop defying it.
Indeed, the Church continues to teach that contraception and sterilization are intrinsically evil. But just as the Lord himself will not use force to stop anyone from stealing in office, the Church will not strongarm anyone into following its teaching on reproductive health. Thus so many women will freely take contraceptives while imagining themselves to be still “Catholic.” This helps to explain the national contraception prevalence rate of 50%.
Now, if Church law has not prevented “Catholic” women from contracepting, and no civil statute prevents them from doing the same thing, what is the necessity of the proposed law, assuming such a law could be moral and constitutional?
That would be clearly pushing an open door. That is why the proposed law is deceptive.
THE REAL PURPOSE
The real purpose then is not to give women what they already have. Rather it is to legislate a sex-oriented lifestyle which the State shall enforce by providing women (and to a certain extent, men) all the anti-reproduction agents and devices that are paid for by the taxpayers against their moral principles, religious beliefs and sensibilities, if they are practicing Catholic.
Why should the State provide?
“Because,” the proponents argue, “the poor women just cannot afford it.”
This is pure argumentum ad misericordiam---an appeal to pity, which cannot be the stuff or staple of any legal debate.
First of all, is there really an “unmet need” or simply a created “want”—a want created by massive doses of consumerist and sexual propaganda directed from outside?
RP A WELFARE STATE?
If the Philippines were a welfare state, it would be obliged to provide for everybody’s “needs.” But not being one, it is under no obligation to do so, and does not attempt to do so. Given its limited resources, which are hardly enough to sustain the present level of corruption, debt service and other wasteful expenditures, the State could never provide for everybody’s needs, even if it wanted to. How then could it be obliged to provide for some people’s “wants?”
If child-bearing were a disease, and its victims could not afford to pay for their medicines, they would seem to have a legitimate reason to ask the State to provide. This is the case of so many sick Filipinos today. And yet, when was the last time you heard of someone who could not get a hospital to release the body, or even the death certificate, of their deceased relative just because they could not settle the hospital bills of the deceased?
How then could you oblige the State to provide free medicine to cure childbearing, which not even the most rabid population controller has dared to call a disease? Wouldn’t you rather oblige the State, especially if it is not a welfare state, to spend whatever money it has on basic social needs and uncontested priorities?
“Because,” the proponents say, “the women want it; they have a right to have a safe and satisfying sex life.” What happens then when they begin to say they “need” to have their breasts enlarged, their belly fat removed, their private parts re-engineered in order to have a safe and satisfying sex life? Will the taxpayers be obliged to pay for all those, too?
Who will ultimately pay for what they want? The taxpayers obviously. And who are these taxpayers? You and I obviously. Grouped according to moral and religious belief, this means primarily Catholics, who constitute at least 80.9% of the population, Muslims and other religious groups.
Since Catholic teaching condemns contraception and sterilization as evil, can the State use the Catholic taxpayers’ money to fund a program that directly assaults a teaching of their faith? Can the State, in fact, promote any policy that attacks a basic teaching of any church, be it the most or the least numerous?
Will the State legislate anything to offend the faith of the Muslims, who constitute 5% of the population, the Evangelicals, who constitute 2.28%, the Iglesia ni Kristo, who constitute 2.3%, the Aglipayans, who constitute 2%, and the other Christian denominations, who constitute at least 4.5%?
Why then do these politicians believe they can do whatever they please to the Catholic majority? Is it because they believe Catholics are easily imposed upon?
Are they perhaps trying to provoke a tax boycott or civil disobedience or something worse led by the Catholic majority? There may be any number of Catholic laymen who may want to rise to the challenge. Are our anti-reproduction politicians ready to risk it for their foreign principals?
PROGRAM, THOUGH ILLEGAL, ALREADY EXISTS
We have seen that the proposed law is not needed, even if (arguendo) the Constitution and the moral law did not forbid it. But they do forbid it, as we shall soon see. Nonetheless, it is well known that, in violation of the Constitution, the government has long been running an active contraception and sterilization program in collaboration with foreign institutions and agencies, which have no business meddling in our sovereign affairs. The present proposal, therefore, is clearly intended to legalize an illegal practice which has been going on for years.
Let me provide a personal testimony. In 1976, while I was a member of the Cabinet, my wife delivered our fourth child and second boy in a well-known hospital. As I put on a hospital gown to go near my wife, a nurse came up to me with a form she wanted me to sign. I asked what it was, and she very casually said it was a consent form for my wife’s tubal ligation. No one had asked me beforehand whether I wanted my wife ligated. So I blew my top and reported the matter to the hospital chief. There I learned that the Department of Health was paying the nurses and attendants a fee for every tubal ligation they initiated.
EVIDENCE FROM CAIRO
The 1994 ICPD in Cairo provides conclusive official evidence. During one get-together with NGOs in that conference, then Health Secretary Juan Flavier, the Philippine chief delegate, boasted that he had succeeded in setting up a contraceptives- and sterilization-based family planning program that had the support of all government hospitals, all government departments and all the NGOs.
In his talk, which a conscientious delegate dutifully tape-recorded and handed over to me, the Secretary said the hospitals provided at least 70% of all the services, but that he had to make use of CARE, the U.S. relief agency, in order to distribute condoms, pills, intra-uterine devices (IUDs) together with CARE’s food relief packages around the country.
It was in that speech that Flavier delivered his most famous anti-Church line, “If you want to anger the Church, make fun of it.” Just as the present proponents and supporters of the anti-reproduction bills are now trying to do. The rest of Flavier’s remarks will not be repeated here, but he gave conclusive proof that as early as 1994, the government’s hospital-based contraceptives and sterilization program was already in place, even without a questionable legal mandate.
What then do the proponents need their proposed law for?
HEALTH COMMISSION FINDING
As a senator and member of the Congressional Health Commission during that period, I surveyed the state of our hospitals and clinics around the country, along with other members. It was shocking to see that in many hospitals and clinics they did not even have the merest alcohol or cotton to dress a wound, but they were up to their ears in pills and condoms.
What then do they need their anti-reproduction law for?
2. THE PROPOSED LAW IS PATENTLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
The Constitution is the basic law of the land. Congress cannot pass any law that is in conflict with it. The proposed legislation is in conflict with the Constitution. It is also in conflict with a principle higher than the Constitution. It is therefore void from the very start.
A META-CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE
We shall first discuss that which is meta constitutional –--above the Constitution. The Constitution governs the State, but both the Constitution and the State are human political constructs, whereas the human being is God’s natural and original creation.
In the relationship between citizen and State, the State has the right to define his duties, and the duty to recognize his rights. It may tax him to its heart’s content, expropriate his most valued piece of land for public use, and call on him to die in its defense, but it may not tell him how to live the truth of his personhood or how to manage his personal relationship with God.
MAN AS MAN
For man is first a man before he is a citizen; there are certain areas of human activity where he is accountable only to God. The right to breathe, to think, to communicate with others, to love and be loved, to live in faith and in grace, and the duty to live a morally upright and spiritually-driven life----these are beyond the State’s authority or competence to repeal, review or amend. The State may never tell a man tell him how to embrace his wife or father her child.
But this is precisely what the proposed legislation wants to do. It is an abomination. Our lawmakers seem completely unaware that they are not omnipotent; that they cannot enact any law they want to enact just because they are legislators. The State has its limits, and legislation has its limits. We need not learn this from St. Thomas; Dirty Harry will do: “A man must know his own limitations,” he says.
They seem to believe that if they could get enough congressmen and senators to support their proposal, then they could have a reproductive health law. One ideologically driven NGO has even threatened to produce a million signatures to show that there is popular support for the proposed law.
MAJORITY VOTE IS NOT ENOUGH
While a majority vote is needed to enact every law, it is not the majority vote per se that confers the ultimate authority upon the law. Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that there had been many instances in the last century when a majority decision served only to abrogate freedom. As one contemporary scholar puts it, the binding force of the law “does not come from popular consent (nor is it removed by popular dissent). It comes from justice. A law does not have more authority because it is approved by many, or less because it is enacted by a few, or even by only one. A just measure ought to be obeyed ---i.e. it carries authority----even if it is a minority decision, and an unjust measure ought to be resisted---it lacks authority----even if it is backed by a landslide majority. A just law binds as much in a democracy as in a totalitarian state, an unjust law binds in neither.”
Can you ever have a just law that seeks to repeal or amend the laws of God and the truth about man?
VARIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
Let us now consider the Constitution. In what way will it be violated if the proposed law were passed? In many ways.
a) First, Section 1 of Article II provides: “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”
In such a state, the government does not plan the citizens’ private lives. No organ of the State enters the family bedroom to tell married couples how to practice marital love. That is more a feature of the totalitarian state. But the anti-reproduction bills would now precisely turn the country into that, a totalitarian state, by requiring couples to contracept before they could engage in the marital act.
FAMILY LIFE SACRED
Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution provides:
“The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous and social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”
“Sanctity” –-the state of being holy—is an attribute of God. Why does this non-legal, non-political word appear in this organic political and legal document? Because it wants to tell us that we cannot consider the family’s mission as the basic unit of society outside of the mission entrusted to it by God.
“And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gen 1:28).
THE DUTY TO REPRODUCE
By these words, the Creator gave his creature not only a right, but above all a duty to be fruitful and multiply. “Rights may be waived, unless the waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals, or good customs, or prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law.” But not duties. So no married woman can say she has a “right not to reproduce.”
We are not saying here that in order to equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception the State must require married couples not to practice contraception or submit to sterilization. The State has no supervisory or regulatory role here; it cannot require couples not to contracept any more than it can require them to do so. Neither the one nor the other is State business. Its business is simply to respect the inviolability of the family as an autonomous social institution, and never to get involved in what husbands and wives do in the privacy of their bedroom. But precisely because it has the duty to protect the life of the unborn from conception, its burden is greater not to get involved in any program of contraception and sterilization.
THE RULE OF NECESSARY IMPLICATION
This is the clear and necessary implication of its duty to equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. For how can the State be a protector of the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception if its first assigned task is to prevent women from conceiving?
There is every attempt to muddle this issue by provoking a debate on when conception takes place and life begins. To the best of our knowledge, culled from centuries of medical science, conception takes place upon fertilization, when a spermatozoon enters the male secondary oocyte, resulting in the formation of a viable human zygote.
REDEFINING THE BEGINNING OF LIFE
Fertilization is completed within 24 hours from the time of the sexual intercourse. Four days later, the multicellular human embryo known as blastocyst moves across the uterus for two days and anchors itself to the surface lining (epithelium) of the endometrium (the mucous membrane lining the womb which thickens during the menstrual cycle in preparation for the possible implantation of an embryo.”
At least seven medical textbooks agree on this definition. And it is a long settled fact. However there is a strong ideological effort to redefine when life begins. The anti-reproduction lobby says it begins upon implantation rather than upon fertilization. The obvious intention is to allow women to use abortifacients without being seen to commit abortion, even after “fertilization” has been completed, and before implantation has occurred.
UNCHANGING STATE DUTY
But no matter when human life inside the womb begins, it is not material to the point I am making. What I am saying is that the State has no business getting involved in any program of contraception or sterilization, precisely because its duty is to protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. How can there be any “unborn” to protect if the first business of the State is to do everything to prevent any “unborn” from entering the reproductive system?
A PRACTICAL ANALOGY
This point is clear enough. But to make it even clearer, let us draw an analogy. Someone is being hunted by assassins. The police learn about it, and tell the target individual to take refuge inside a police facility. There he would be absolutely safe. But as soon as the police chief has assured the individual, he orders all police personnel not to allow the fellow to enter the facility. So he gets killed. Will you now accept the statement of the police chief that he had agreed to protect the victim from his assassins inside the police facility, but that unfortunately he never got inside the facility?
WHEN IS THE STATE BLAMELESS
We are not to blame the State if nobody gets pregnant after everyone has decided to contracept or get themselves sterilized either on their own or upon the prodding of an individual or institution. But the State would be doing violence to its duty under the Constitution if it tried to play tricks with the Constitution by undertaking its own program of contraception or sterilization. This would be rank travesty of the law.
FURTHER FAMILY PROTECTION
b) Article XV provides:
Section 1. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development.
Sec. 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State.
Sec. 3. The State shall defend:
(1) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood;
(2) The right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development;
(3) The right of the family to a family living wage and income; and
(4) The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.
The anti-reproduction bills constitute a shotgun blast on every part of the above-quoted provision. Ostensibly to ensure the family’s material wellbeing, the bills seek to shred into little pieces the family’s right to a sound moral and spiritual development.
To protect the family as the foundation of the nation they put the family’s most private and fundamental rights under the boot of the State.
To protect the right of spouses to found a family according to their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood, they put State edict on morality and parenting in place of what the Church and parents teach on these issues.
To help in the education and rearing of children, they offer a sex education program that would teach them (from Grade V up), without need of parental consent, all about contraception and sterilization and a two-child family as “the ideal” to strive for.
To assure families of a family living wage, they want to put them in a Procrustean bed where they can have only two children or fewer, instead of standing them up to learn new skills and helping them raise their incomes.
To consult with families or family associations, the proponents summoned government agencies and foreign-funded NGOs to provide the artificial clamor for the proposed legislation.
STEAMROLLER IN THE HOUSE
In the House of Representatives, the Committees on Health and on Population and Family Relations held one committee hearing on three bills, then announced that all three bills plus a fourth one had been consolidated into a substitute bill, which would no longer be subjected to any further hearing.
They justified this by saying that the same bills had been heard in several past Congresses, except that they had failed to prosper. But under their own rules, any old bill may be re-filed in a new Congress, but it must go through the mill all over again, as though it had never been filed before.
So, even if we do not consider the substantive defects of the House bill, it now appears void ab initio, for having failed to meet the constitutional requirement of sufficient consultations with families or family associations.
In the Senate, the government agencies and foreign-funded NGOs tried to overwhelm the hearings with their sheer numbers. But in the first two hearings, there were not enough senators present to constitute a quorum. This renders the validity of the hearings highly questionable.
3. THE PROPOSED LAW IS DESTRUCTIVE OF PUBLIC MORALS AND OPPRESSIVE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF.
Article II Section 6 of the Constitution provides: “The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.” The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines inviolable as “never to be broken, infringed or dishonored.” Now, politicians, journalists and reproductive health activists of all shades quote this to say, “why is the Church meddling in this business of the State?”
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE MISREAD
Wrong. A million times wrong. In the prehistory of Christianity, the Emperor or the King decreed what the empire or the kingdom was to believe. Official religion dominated all private religions, which were tolerated only if those involved recognized the state cult first. Christianity changed all that. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21). To the Church God gave the authority and mission to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that he has commanded his disciples.
The Supreme Lawgiver did not confer the same authority upon the State. The State is not the custodian or arbiter of truth; it does not have a moral doctrine of its own, which would be the basis of its own praxis. Its praxis, as Pope Benedict XVI points out, cannot create the truth; the truth must create the praxis. The State cannot and should not, therefore, attempt to override or overrule the teaching authority of the Church, particularly on matters of faith and morals.
RETURN TO CAESAROPAPISM?
To do so would throw us back into what is known as Caesaropapism. This was the period after the Edict of Milan of 313 AD ended the persecution of Christians and Constantine, as the “Christian Emperor” of the Roman Empire, thought he was also the pope or higher, and therefore tried to exercise ecclesiastical powers. A supreme disorder. In 494 AD, Pope Gelasius I, writing from Rome to Emperor Anastasius I in Constantinopole, clarified the distinction between sacred powers and kingly powers.
The rest is history. The principle of “separation of Church and State” ultimately entered political theory and practice. It became a major principle of our Constitution. Correctly understood, it simply means the State shall not interfere in the ministry and teaching office of the Church, which does not have any armed divisions, as Stalin once put it. Therefore the correct thing to say is, or should be, “Why is the State meddling in this God-given authority of the Church to help men and women live morally upright lives?”
IS HUMANAE VITAE WRONG?
Some anti-reproduction partisans have accused members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) of unduly trying to pressure members of Congress to withdraw their support for the proposed legislation. Indeed, bishops and priests have asked senators and congressmen to abandon the proposed legislation, but this is not “undue pressure.” This is legitimate moral pressure. Pastors have a duty to provide moral guidelines on serious moral questions. They have a duty to enlighten confused legislators, especially if the latter claim to be Catholic Christians and are in danger of legislating something immoral and harmful. Pastors should be faulted if they do not talk to the legislators at all, and not when they do.
Some of the proponents, professing to be “independent Catholics”, whatever that means, have gone so far as to say that Church teaching on the evil of contraception began only with Humanae Vitae, in 1968 , and that Paul VI’s encyclical on the regulation of birth is not an infallible document, and therefore not to be obeyed at all. They proclaim that one day the teaching would change because of growing indifference to it.
Let us examine the various parts of the statement.
AS OLD AS ONAN
1. Is it a recent teaching of the Church? Scripture does not say so. In the Old Testament, we read of Cain’s murder of his brother Abel on the one hand, and Onan’s sexual misconduct with his brother’s widow Tamar on the other, and how differently Yahweh dealt with each offense.
Despite the gravity of Cain’s crime, the Lord said, “If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenhold. And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him” (Gen 4:15).
Whereas, when Onan went into his deceased brother’s wife Tamar and spilled his semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother, as commanded by law and custom, he so displeased the Lord that the Lord “slew him” (Gen 38:10). Withdrawal is contraception, and Onan’s death is the first---and harshest---recorded sanction against it.
OTHER POPES BEFORE PAUL VI
Among the Popes, Pius XI and Pius XII had pronounced on procreation before Paul VI, appealing to Scripture, to the Fathers of the Church and to tradition. While Humanae Vitae itself was not infallibly proposed, it meets the criteria set forth by Vatican II for an infallible exercise of the ordinary magisterium of the bishops throughout the world.
For that purpose, four conditions must be met, namely: that the bishops be in communion with one another and with the pope; that they teach authoritatively on a matter of faith or morals; that they agree in one judgment; and that they propose this as something to be held definitively. They have been met. As one theological writer puts it, “the Church has always taught contraception to be gravely sinful; she has never taught that it is good, permissible, or even venially sinful.”
Forty years after the encyclical, no error imputed to it has been proved. What has been proved instead is how prophetic it was when it predicted:
• That the widespread use of contraceptives would lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality;
• That the man will lose respect for the woman and no longer care for her physical and psychological equilibrium and will come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion;
• That widespread acceptance of contraception would place a dangerous weapon in the hands of public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies;
• That it would lead men (and women especially) to think they had absolute and unlimited dominion over their bodies.
All these have happened and are happening in many other societies. For all our problems, we Filipinos have so far been spared from the seemingly irreversible moral disorder wrought by the hedonistic lifestyle in those countries. Let us not try to catch up.
A TEACHING TO BE IGNORED?
2. Now, is the Church teaching on contraception likely to change soon?
A number of non-Catholics, lapsed Catholics, apostates and agnostics have been quite assertive in saying that Catholics should be free to ignore what the Church teaches on contraception, since it is “too conservative,” and is not even supported by all the theologians who had written on the subject.
This is pure and simple ignorance, and a Catholic with a true conscience should ignore it. A Catholic believes what the Church believes and rejects what the Church rejects. He is part of his Church and not “independent” of it.
There is no sign that what the Church is saying today on contraception it will no longer be saying tomorrow. The teaching has been definitively held; it will stay. But a Catholic must obey Church teaching not because it will stay but because it is Church teaching and his duty is to obey. This is the same rule that every citizen is obliged to follow. The citizen obeys the law not because it cannot be repealed or amended, but because it is the law. It could change the next day, but it must be obeyed for as long as it is the law. Unless, of course, it is an unjust law.
BOGUS CLAIMS AND SURVEYS
In a bid to stampede the public into supporting the proposed law, the most rabid campaigners have claimed that nine out of ten women support the proposed law, and that politicians who oppose it are likely not to be reelected in the next elections. These are obviously bogus surveys.
Among the partylist entries, the biggest vote-getter in the last election was the pro-life “Buhay”, which took the most number of seats in the House. No openly anti-life party made it. But this thing about surveys has become the biggest running scandal in the nation’s political idiotization industry.
THE IDIOTIZATION CAMPAIGN
In 1992, upon my first election to the Senate, I sat in a workshop with newly elected senators in Tagaytay City prior to the opening of Congress. Out of the blue, an oily and arrogant man appeared to show us the alleged results of an alleged survey showing that a senator who did not support family planning would likely not be reelected in the next election. It was the most brazen, vulgar and arrogant public case of arm-twisting I had ever seen.
PRESSURE FROM POLLSTERS
We had not even warmed our Senate seats, and already we were being warned about our fate if we did not support the population control program which I had been attacking ever since I stumbled into NSSM 200 before it was formally declassified by the White House. Then he rudely snapped at me saying, “You see, Senator Tatad, there is no such thing as a Catholic vote.” He even more rudely cut me off when I tried to speak.
That revealed to me the menacing presence of the population control lobby, and its hold on certain propaganda organs in the country, from sectors of the mass media to the polling agencies.
JOINING THE ISSUES
Soon after we buckled down for work, the first statements in favor of state intervention in family matters were heard in the Senate. They were from Senator Shahani. On Sept. 1, 1992, I delivered my first speech in response. “Keep the State Out of the Bedroom,” I said. The issues were finally joined. But despite the strong push from at least two of the three lady senators, no proposal on reproductive health ever came to the Floor.
Not long thereafter, I got invited to lunch at the residence of a European ambassador. The invitation did not specify the purpose of the lunch, or how many others would be in attendance. But as soon as I arrived at the place, I realized I was the only invited guest. A great honor. But why? I did not know, and my host did not make it clear either.
We chewed on the usual subjects---national politics, world affairs. Finally, towards the end, he dropped his little bomb: “Why can’t you ever support family planning?”Only then did I realize the real reason for the lunch.
I looked at the ambassador and said, “We want to learn from your experience, Excellency. I don’t want what’s happening in Europe to happen to my country. Europe is going through a severe demographic winter, and they won’t have any spring again. Once-Christian countries like France are being paganized and Islamized; I can’t think of that happening to us here. Moreover, I have always believed that family planning should be left to the individual families. I wouldn’t want the State to get involved in it, even if I should happen to believe that Filipino families should have fewer children.”
My host looked at me long and hard without a word. I thanked him for his hospitality, and said goodbye.
PRESSURE ON THE SENATE
In 1994, in the run-up to the ICPD, the Senate had a new leadership. Senator Edgardo Angara had been elected president, and committee chairmanships had been distributed according to the respective preferences of the various senators. There were three ladies in the Senate then---Sen. Shahani, President Fidel V. Ramos’ sister, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Anna Dominique Coseteng. They had all chosen their committee chairmanships, but none of them had chosen the Committee on Women and Family Relations. Nobody appeared interested in it, not even then Sen. Raul Roco, who liked to be called “an honorary woman.”
TROUBLE BEFORE CAIRO
Precisely because no one wanted it, yet it could not be left non-operational, the Senate President asked me to chair it in the meantime. I agreed to do so, but as soon as I did, noisy protests erupted in front of the Senate building demanding my resignation. They called me a “woman hater,” a term of abuse which the gender feminists had earlier used against Pope John Paul II for his firm defense of the dignity and feminine genius of women. The feminists were obviously afraid that as committee chair, I would have a major role in the Philippine delegation to the scheduled Cairo conference, and say the very opposite of what they wanted the delegation to say at the conference.
I stood my ground, pointing out that I had not sought the position but had merely been prevailed upon to take it because none of the lady senators wanted it. When they could not get me out, they worked on the other senators to move for Angara’s ouster. With all the various forces, including the population control lobby cooperating, this proved to be successful. As soon as Angara was ousted, the committees were reorganized. I lost the committee and Shahani took over.
COUNTER-PRESSURE FROM THE CHURCH
Concerned about the Cairo conference, Jaime Cardinal Sin, then Archbishop of Manila, organized a mammoth rally at Rizal Park to demand that the delegation manifest the pro-life, pro-family position of Filipino majority at the conference. President Ramos had to take heed. But they purposely excluded me from the delegation. I had to go to Cairo as an official guest of the Egyptian Parliament.
OBSTRUCTED IN CAIRO
That allowed me to participate in the one-day parliamentarians meeting, and to circulate my statements among the ICPD delegates from outside the conference hall. It also allowed me to monitor the Philippine delegation, including Flavier’s infamous speech at one NGO gathering behind closed doors.
PRESSURE IN STRASBOURG
In 1996, I visited the European Parliament in Strasbourg with other ASEAN parliamentarians. The group included members from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. On our first day, I had the privilege of sitting with a distinguished Member of the European Parliament, the son of a former president of France.
As soon as we were introduced, the European MP turned on his rakish charm.
“So you are from the Philippines, where you have 60 million people and still have large families,” he said.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “I’ll have to update you on that. We are more than 70 million now, but not everyone has a large family like me. I’m one of the few who have seven children.”
“That’s alright,” the MP said, obviously noticing the counter-attack. “I also have five children.”
Then I continued. “You know, before I left for France, I thought of refreshing my limited knowledge of French, so I could at least order my café au lait in one of your bistros in French. But then I heard that in France today, you may not be able to get a good cup of coffee unless you spoke Arabic.”
His expression changed abruptly, as though he was actually glad to see he was dealing with an equal.
“C’est vrai, c’est vrai,” (it’s true, it’s true), he said, “in many parts of Paris, you find so many Arabs who refuse to speak French.”
“Well, I think this simply shows that the problem is yours rather than mine,” I said. “In my country, we still produce people, in yours you only produce migrants.”
After that, the MP became the soul of friendliness. He offered to book me in the best hotel next to where he lived next time I came to France.
PRESSURE IN BONN
In Bonn, a group of German parliamentarians lectured our group on human rights and the environment. They accused Asians of having double standards on human rights, and of not doing enough for the environment. Our group leader did not speak a word of German or English, and did not want to respond; so with the others. I asked permission to speak for the group, and they agreed.
I began by thanking them for receiving our group, and expressed our admiration for their wonderful achievements in the environment. I took particular note of how they had cleaned up their famous rivers---in London, they had cleaned up the Thames so that you could see the salmon swimming upstream again, and Parliament could open its windows again, without anyone getting knocked down by the putrid stench from the river. In Paris, they had done the same to the Seine; in Germany, to the Rhine. They had also kept their forests, their hunting lodges, and their wild game. I said this was something we in Asia would like to imitate, as soon as we had the means to do so, which we didn’t. I pointed out that our forests had been denuded by wanton exploitation by others, some forests by napalm. Perhaps there should be a system of indemnification, I said, which should allow us to rebuild our forests, our water systems, and clean up our air, with the help of those who had a hand in destroying them. We would be grateful, I said, for any help we could get from our European friends.
As for human rights, I assured the Germans that Asians did not believe in double standards. We believe there should be only one standard, I said. But we find it hard to reconcile the fact that while Europeans, Americans and other developed countries readily denounce “genital mutilation” in some African tribe as a violation of human rights, they are even quicker to proclaim the mutilation and destruction of the fetus inside the mother’s womb as an inviolable right of women. We have always wondered whether we are missing something here, I said, or whether we have failed to share our own insights with the developed countries of the world.
After my remarks, the chair suspended the session and offered us drinks and refreshments. And we had the most gregarious German politicians trying to smother us with their charm and offers of personal assistance.
ELECTORAL PRESSURE OVERCOME
I won big in my Senate reelection bid in 1995, despite some organized efforts by some “pro-choice groups” to rob me my victory. But obviously because of that Tagaytay incident, I would never figure favorably in any political “survey” ever. I made things worse for myself in 2004 when I denounced the statistical “trending” they were doing against my presidential candidate in their “exit survey.” To this day, nothing has changed to convince me about the utter lack of credibility of those surveys, especially those done to support an advocacy or agenda, by entrepreneurial pollsters who also have their own public advocacies and agendas.
SAME RECIPE, NO CREDIBILITY
Still, apparently unaware of the sinking credibility of the “survey”, they have recycled the same recipe. Recently I was asked to a TV debate on reproductive health. I was inclined to accept; but I smelled a rat when I learned that the debate would call for a “text vote.” I told the producers a text vote could be easily rigged; it was best to leave everything to the tv audience. But the studio would not budge, so I decided not to participate. Some of my more trusting friends, however, did. It was only at showtime that they realized they had been had. A condom maker was revealed as the program sponsor, and the text vote went for the affirmative side, exactly as I had predicted.
The deception continues. Our duty is to stop it right now, to make sure the nation is not permanently sucked into it. The poorest of the poor are being led to believe that the proposed measure is for them, when its very purpose is to put the most sacred part of their lives under the wicked boot of the worst form of imperialism that ever walked the earth.
A MOUNTAIN OF PORK
Given the corruption that has entered the budget-making process, it is not unlikely that the proposed appropriations clause authorizing a yearly renewable outlay for the official purchase of contraceptives and sterilization devices in the billions of pesos could be interpreted as an open-ended purchase contract for those products, which some unscrupulous politicians could claim as their continuing “congressional insertion” (pork barrel) in the annual budget, which entitles them to continuing fat commissions from the contraceptives manufacturers and suppliers, not to mention some donor agencies, for as long as they do business with the government. It is a distinct possibility, which we should not tolerate.
COMMENTS ON THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF THE BILL
In Parts I and II, we tried to show that there is no moral or constitutional basis for enacting H.B. 5043 under Committee Report 1156 and its Senate counterpart which has yet to be consolidated from several bills. They are completely superfluous and deceptive. Unless our fundamental objections are sufficiently met, we believe that commenting on the text of H.B. 5043 and the Senate bills would be a superfluity.
But just to complete our analysis and show that the defects of the bill range from questions of facts to questions of law, from the substantive to the procedural to the draftsmanship, we shall now examine the text, after two prejudicial issues:
I. WHERE DID THE VARIOUS BILLS COME FROM?
1. This question has to be asked because although there are several bills, with different authors, they appear to have been produced by a single source, on the basis of the obvious uniformity of concepts, language and style.
2. They are, in fact, casually and openly attributed to the technical staff of the Philippine Legislators’ Commission on Population and Development (PLCPD), a non-stock, non-profit organization funded by David and Lucile Packard Foundation and other foreign organizations, and of which some of the authors are listed as members.
3. PLCPD is not a formal creation by an act of Congress, but describes itself as “a non-stock, non-profit foundation dedicated to the formulation of viable public policies requiring legislation on population management and socio-economic development.”
4. In plain language, PLCPD has assigned itself the task of “formulating viable public policies on population” for the Philippine government, and coursing its proposed legislation through members of Congress.
5. This is beyond the contemplation of the Constitution when it conferred legislative powers upon Congress. Under the provisions of Batas Pambansa Bilang 39, the Foreign Agents Act of 1979, the representatives of PLCPD must first register as foreign agents before they are permitted to lobby Congress.
6. But “formulating policies” for the government, and drafting bills to transform such formulations into law is far beyond the legitimate activity of lobbying. It constitutes actual involvement in the legislative business of Congress. Because the ones involved are not members of Congress, nor lawful employees of Congress, but are in fact directly or indirectly, wholly or in part, subsidized by foreign principals, their act constitutes undue foreign intervention in the sovereign business of Congress.
7. That the authors of the bills cooperated with the PLCPD staff in their act of intervention complicates the issue even further. It raises a prejudicial question. Do the bills deserve to be deliberated upon by Congress, given their illegal and censurable origin? Should they not be denounced and declared void, ab initio?
II - WERE THE CONSTITUTION AND THE RULES OF BOTH HOUSES FOLLOWED IN HEARING THE BILLS?
1. Section 3 (4), Article XV of the Constitution provides: “The State shall defend the right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.”
2. Section 34 of the Rules of the House of Representatives likewise provides that “the committees or sub-committees, through their respective Committee Secretariats, shall undertake measures to ensure that public notices and/or announcements regarding the conduct of any of its meetings of public hearings are issued at least three (3) days before said meeting, conference or hearing. They shall undertake measures and establish systems to ensure that constituencies, sectors or groups whose welfare and interests are directly affected by measures to be discussed are able to participate in these meetings or public hearings. Meetings and public hearings shall be open to the public subject to reasonable regulations in the interest of security, order, and the safety of persons in attendance.”
3. On April 29, 2008, the House committees on Health and on Population and Family Relations heard three bills on reproductive health. They announced a second hearing for May 21, 2008. On such date, the committees met as scheduled, but instead of allowing representatives of various organizations to participate, the chairman announced that all three bills, plus a fourth one, had been consolidated into a substitute bill, which would now be reported out.
4. This matter was formally brought to the attention of the Speaker of the House and the Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Majority Leader in a letter dated June 2, 2008, and signed by the CBCP President, Most Rev. Angel Lagdameo, Archbishop of Jaro, and the Chairman of the CBCP Commission on Family and Life, Most Rev. Paciano Aniceto, Archbishop of San Fernando, Pampanga.
5. To the best of our knowledge that letter has gone unanswered despite the clear provision of Section 5 (a) of Republic Act 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, requiring the officials concerned to reply to that communication and inform the authors thereof of the action taken relative to their complaint “within fifteen (15) working days from receipt thereof.” Violation of the law carries a penalty of a fine not exceeding the equivalent of six months’ salary or suspension from office not exceeding one year or outright removal, depending on the gravity of the offence.
6. How does the House leadership propose to deal with the lack of compliance with the constitutional requirement of adequate consultations with family or family associations? Will the leadership adopt the position of the proponents to the effect that their proposal had been heard many times in previous Congress and did not have to be heard exhaustively again? Or will it allow itself to be reminded that under the rule of parliamentary procedure, an old bill that had failed to prosper in a previous Congress, if filed anew in a new Congress, will have to be treated as a new bill as though it had never been filed or heard before?
7. How does the leadership intend to deal with its clear and culpable violation of RA 6713?
8. In the Senate, six standing committees, led by the Committee on Health and Demography, heard several Senate bills on reproductive health on May 7 and August 11, 2008. The six committees have a combined membership of 78.
9. Under Sec. 22 of the Rules of the Senate, “one third of all regular members of the committee shall constitute a quorum, but in no case shall it be less than two.” The six committees need 26 senators to constitute a quorum, or at least four senators each of whom is a member of all the six committees, plus one other senator who is a member of at least two committees, or two other senators who are members of one committee each.
10. On the first hearing, however, only two senators attended. On the second hearing, three senators appeared at the beginning, then a fourth one joined later.
11. This means both hearings were held without a quorum, and therefore void.
12. Assuming the bills are not declared void for having come from a foreign-funded source, how then could the Senate proceed to deliberate on the bills?
III – HB 5043, A PRELIMINARY CRITIQUE
1. Section 2, Declaration of Policy is completely impeachable for being deceptive in language and in intent. It is pure Newspeak.
1. “The State upholds and promotes responsible parenthood, informed choice, birth spacing and respect for life in conformity with internationally recognized human rights standards.”
1.1 “Responsible parenthood” is defined in Sec. 4, but “informed choice”, “birth spacing,” “and respect for life in conformity with internationally recognized human rights standards” are not.
1.2 Sec. 4 defines “responsible parenthood” as “the will, ability and commitment of parents to respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children more particularly through family planning.”
1.3 “Family planning” is made indispensable to, and virtually interchangeable with “responsible parenthood,” so that, by implication, the latter cannot possibly exist without the former.
1.4 But “family planning” is defined as “a program which enables couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to carry out their decisions, and to have informed choice and access to a full range of safe, legal and effective family planning methods, techniques and devices.”
1.5 By program, the bill means “a government program.” The implication is that no one could practice “responsible parenthood” outside of the family planning program of government, which alone can provide them with “informed choice and access to a full range of safe, legal and effective family planning methods, techniques and devices.”
1.6 This definition eliminates the existence of the market, which in fact is the primary source of all the information and means which the authors of the bill want the State to acquire and pass on to the end-users. This means no one can practice family planning without involving the State. This is frightening.
1.7 The definition also eliminates any reference to the objective moral order which governs human existence, and allows man to live in obedience to the laws of God and the laws of men. This is one way of changing the human being’s vision of himself----he is now pure matter, made up of material needs and wants, and nothing else.
1.8 But while the bill talks of “informed choice”, it does not define the term, and it does not require manufacturers and suppliers of contraceptives and sterilization agents and devices to provide all the information about the products they are selling. How could there be any kind of informed choice there?
1.9 In particular, while the bill talks of providing “a full range of safe, legal and effective family planning methods, techniques and devices,” it says nothing about the regulation regime that would be imposed so that consumers and users of oral contraceptives specifically will know that the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined these to be carcinogenic to humans ---they could cause breast, liver, and cervical cancer.
1.10 While the bill talks of “birth spacing,” it does not define the term, and it does not talk of “spacing” sexual intercourse or practicing periodic continence, to correspond to the desired spacing of births. The necessary implication is that a couple should be free to have all the sex they want, provided they avoid its natural consequences. In other words, you are free to dive into the ocean anytime you want, just don’t get wet, because it’s bad for your health. It is a recipe for irresponsible sex, which is incompatible with responsible marriage and responsible parenting.
1.11 The bill talks of “respect for life” which needs no conditions or qualifications, but it qualifies the phrase by adding the words, “in conformity with internationally recognized human rights standards.” This is now Humpty Dumpty talking.
1.12 How can a program whose primary purpose is to prevent women from conceiving ever be premised on an honest and sincere “respect for life?” The only object is “contraception” and you call it “respect for life?” Is this the other term for “killing the ones we love”?
1.13 If the right to life of the unborn, which is guaranteed under the Constitution, part of “internationally recognized human rights standards”, given the fact that so many countries have legalized abortion, and are killing some 50 million unborn children each year? Does a woman still have the right to bear a child, under that provision?
2. “The State shall uphold the right of the people, particularly women and their organizations, to effective and reasonable participation in the formulation and implementation of the declared policy.”
2.1 What does the word “reasonable” mean? What standards will apply? Who will decide what is reasonable or not? Who will decide in case of conflict?
3. “The State likewise guarantees universal access to medically safe, legal, affordable and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, among other underprivileged sectors.
3.1 This runs smack against Sec. 12, Article II of the Constitution as explained earlier.
4. Section 3 is completely superfluous. If the law is clear and good, the principles behind the law need not clutter the document; they will shine through the provisions.
4.1 The text is too labored, argumentative, polemical, imprecise, unintelligible, dense. This is not how any law should be written.
4.2 For instance, the text talks of “modern or natural methods of family planning”; the accurate term is “artificial or natural,” “modern or ancient.”
4.3 It talks of abortion remaining a punishable crime. At the same time it talks of looking after women who have undergone abortion with compassion, without saying anything about the necessary consequences of the crime, in case of induced abortion, which is the punishable crime.
5. In Sec. 4, Definition of Terms, we read the following: “This implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so, provided that these are not against the law.”
5.1 This reads like an excerpt from an article in a pulp magazine, rather than from a proposed law. The law should carry objective terms, not subjective notions. For instance, what standards will be used to determine “a satisfying and safe sex life”?
5.2 When the bill says “people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life,” what happens to the moral norm of society which regards sex as something reserved only within marriage, which the Constitution considers “sacred” and guarantees to protect?
5.3 By “people” is meant anyone and everyone--- children, juvenile, adults, married or unmarried. Isn’t this the final blow against the morality that is the real basis of law, and which holds society together? Enacting notions like this will not result in law, but in violence against the law.
6. Sec. 5 recreates the Population Commission (Popcom) and gives it a 14-member board, composed mostly of Cabinet secretaries, which will be the central implementing agency of the government’s reproductive health program.
6.1 This is a virtual copy of the implementing instruction of NSSM 200, which calls on every agency of the government to get involved in its implementation.
6.2 It is not a formula for efficiency, but the opposite. There are not too many cases where a board composed of overworked Cabinet members has worked with remarkable efficiency on anything.
7. Sec. 10 provides that contraceptives shall be considered “essential medicines and supplies, which shall be part of the National Drug Formulary, and shall be included in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national and local hospitals and other government health units.”
7.1 This is dangerous to public health and contrary to public policy. Essential medicines should be limited to preparations, applications, potions, confections, injectibles, etc. that are meant to cure diseases, not drugs intended to prevent human life from forming inside the mother’s womb. This is Newspeak consecrated into law.
7.2 Whether a particular medicine is to be declared essential or non-essential, such declaration should emanate from the appropriate medical authority, with the recognized high professional competence in medicine and pharmacology, and the official responsibility to do so, rather than from Congress. This has to be a purely scientific statement, not a political or ideological one.
7.3 The proposal is particularly perverse, given the fact that oral contraceptives, which are sought to be included under the proposed classification, have been determined by the WHO to be carcinogenic.
7.4 The rightful duty of Congress is to require all contraceptives to be appropriately labeled, and to carry all the scientific information about each product so as to distinguish plain contraceptives from abortifacients which are normally sold as contraceptives.
7.5 The section reads like a lifetime purchase agreement with the manufacturers and suppliers of contraceptives. David and Lucile Packard Foundation should no longer complain that the government’s procurement of condoms and other contraceptives had stopped, as they complained in a press statement on July 25, 2008.
7.6 Next year it will be P3.4 billion; a year later, it could be double that amount. It’s really big bucks. And there is nothing to prevent anyone in control of the process from treating it as a congressional insertion which the condoms manufacturers could help implement. It could provide better terms than the usual pork.
8. Sec. 12 provides for a mandatory sex education for young children, Grade V and above. Grade V boys and girls could then be expected to pack condoms and pills into their lunch boxes. Does this lift your vision about the great future of your kids?
8.1 Or do you not see this as the clearest violation of the human rights of parents as the primary educators of their children, as enshrined in the Constitution and several international documents, and the greatest threat to the moral life of the young?
9. Sec. 14 requires makes a certificate of compliance from the local family planning office a requirement for the issuance of a marriage license. This is execrable, violates the constitutional protection guaranteed to marriage.
10. Sec. 16 provides that the State shall encourage parents to adopt “the ideal family size” of two children only. This is the original prescription of NSSM 200. Mission accomplished?
10.1 The State has no business recommending “an ideal family size.” Much more, “the ideal family size.” There is no scientific, moral, or legal basis for it. The ideal size of the family is what the parents decide it to be for their own family.
11. Sec. 17 seeks to make the availability of contraceptives to workers part of collective bargaining agreements. This is presented as a help to the workers, but it is ultimately intended to reduce the benefits that employers will have to grant to women employees who bear children while on the job.
12. Sec. 19 mandates a massive media campaign to educate the entire nation on reproductive health. This will usher a sustained period of national brainwashing about sex. The society is breaking down, it is in search of something nobler to mobilize its people. The law must help educate them on higher values, and help them develop and work for a more attractive vision of beauty and goodness. Mass media have done enough to debase our values and accelerate the idiotization of great numbers of our people; let the law help the media reverse their thrust and renew their ideological orientation for the greater good of all.
13. Sec. 21 enumerates the prohibited acts. The list reads like something dictated by a Nazi megalomaniac in a fit of madness. Every prohibited act reads like an offense against the highest national security at wartime. This section belongs in some work of fiction, not in any proposed legislation.
14. The appropriation clause should likewise be deleted. The Filipino taxpayers cannot afford to waste any of their meager resources.
15 . There are some good things in the bill, like breast-feeding, treatment of infertility, training and employment of more midwives, setting up basic and emergency obstetrics care facilities, and others. These need not be legislated. They are completely doable, and should have been done long ago by the Department of Health. They have been thrown into the bill as ornamentals and sweeteners, to mask the terrible things that are in it. They must now be segregated, and implemented, while the odious proposals are junked.
There is need for the State to make sure that nothing is sold in the market that does not come up to the highest safety standards. It is not its duty to provide contraceptives and sterilization devices and agents, but since it cannot ban these articles from the market, it has the duty to make sure that they are at least adequately and appropriately labeled, that they carry all the scientific information needed for the protection of consumers.
The State must also make sure that the pharmaceutical industry does not unduly exploit and overburden the poor by pricing their products beyond their reach. The State has a duty to make sure that more and more men and women will try to acquire a working knowledge of their reproductive systems so that they could plan their own families more confidently in a natural way, by taking advantage of the woman’s fertility cycle, rather than by resorting to artificial methods that are physically and morally harmful.
The proponents of HB 5043 and its eventual counterpart in the Senate should have the humility to realize that their real duty is to legislate for the common good, but that their present proposal, fueled by an unwelcome anti-life and anti-poor ideology, is taking them in the opposite direction.