Now come the latest SWS surveys.
These are a fitting climax to the high-octane propaganda campaign on reproductive health (RH). In numerous forums, RH propagandists had repeatedly bragged about alleged surveys showing popular support for HB 5043, and warning politicians against the wrath of the voters should they fail to support it. They will never get reelected, according to the propagandists.
It is an old con game. In 1992, before the seat of my pants ever touched my chair in the Senate, I attended a workshop for newly elected senators. Out of the blue appeared SWS’s Mahar Mangahas with an alleged survey claiming that if a senator did not support the government;s family planning, he would never get reelected.
Then Mangahas said, “You see, Senator Tatad, there’s no such thing as a Catholic vote.”
To which I replied, “In a Catholic country where most candidates are Catholic, there is no such thing as a Catholic vote. But try running a candidate whose program is to destroy the Catholic faith, and you’ll have a Catholic vote against that candidate.”
That was 16 years ago, but very little has changed. The population control lobby is poorer now, with the collapse of the global financial system. But it can still fund surveys, and remains as determined as ever to change our concept of human life, marriage and the family, and prevent us from becoming a threat to the security and economic interests of our richest friends. And the local conscripts proliferate.
Their claim of popular support has no factual basis at all. In 2007. the biggest voter-getter among the party-list parties was “Buhay” which won the most number of seats in the House of Representatives on its pro-life, pro-family program. No other party won a single seat on the basis of an anti-life, anti-family program.
HB 5043 is losing ground, and SWS had to shore up its sagging fortunes. But the survey questions were so skewed that one wonders why they were made public at all. All you have to do is read those questions, and wonder why SWS failed to report a 100% support for the bill.
The question SWS asked about the HB 5043, according to http://www.sws.org.ph/pr081016.htm, is as follows:
Ang “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2007” ay isang panukalang batas sa mababang kapulungan ng kongreso na magbibigay ng katungkulan sa gobyerno na magtaguyod ng programa ukol sa responsableng pagpapamilya o responsible parenthood sa pamamagitan ng sapat na impormasyon sa publiko at pagkakaroon ng mga ligtas, legal, mura at de-kalidad na serbisyong pang-reproductive health sa mga taong may gusto nito. Kayo ba ay PABOR o HINDI PABOR sa panukalang batas na ito?
It is devious. It neither mentions the basic provisions of the bill nor does it define the basic terms used. People expect “reproductive health” to promote reproduction, but in the bill it is meant to promote contraception instead. The intention to deceive is patent. SWS must have been disappointed it did not get a 100-% endorsement.
In the survey reportedly commissioned by Forum for Family Planning and Development, SWS asked the following questions (http://www.sws.orgph/pr081016b.htm):
1) “The usage of legal contraceptives like condoms, IUDs and pills can also be considered as abortion. Agree or disagree?”
It is also a devious one. While HB 5043 describes “artificial contraceptives” as “modern”, SWS describes them as “legal.” This subtly endorses the contraceptives as unobjectionable. Now, IUD is an abortifacient, some pills (not all) are also abortifacient, condoms are (barrier) contraceptives with a high rate of failure. No one is saying the use of condoms, IUD or pills is abortion; but by asking that question, SWS is suggesting it is one of the points of contention. Thus, SWS is able to claim points for contraceptives, etc. simply by creating a strawman for everyone to shoot down.
2) “There should be a law that requires gov’t to distribute legal contraceptives like condoms, IUDs, and pills to people who want to avail of them. Agree or Disagree?”
Again, “legal.” The respondent’s normal inclination is to think that if the contraceptives are legal, then the government should be able to distribute them. It is a clever way of skirting the moral and constitutional issues altogether. Again, the intention to deceive is patent.
3) “If family planning would be included in their curriculum the youth would be sexually promiscuous. Agree or disagree?”
Once more, it is an exercise in deception. No one is objecting to “family planning,” properly understood. What is objected to in this instance is the proposed“mandatory sex education” for children from Grade V until high school, without parental consent.” What is at issue is not just the kind of sex “education” to be imposed, but above all the right of parents as the primary educators of their children to decide what kind of sex education their children will get, where, and from whom?
The core issue is not about family planning at all. It is whether or not we shall allow the State to stamp its boot on our most basic human rights in the name of population control. This involves moral and constitutional issues which cannot be decided by any opinion survey, especially one conducted by pollsters who are themselves advocates of population control.