Reproductive health bill?
Reproductive health billThere appears to be three major points of view from which to approach the controversialreproductive health bill now pending with the House of Representatives for plenary deliberations, namely: legal, moral, and scientific. This is so since, the proposed legislativemeasure once enacted into law will affect society writ large. In short, there are many stakeholders by differing institutional concerns. It then becomes difficult to erect a tripod tohold the issue that has carried so much weight.There are those who think, once legislated, HB 812 or the proposed Reproductive HealthCare Act of 2008 will in fact set the stage for other anti-life laws or so-called D.E.A.T.H. bills(acronym for death, euthanasia, abortion, two-child policy, and homosexuality). The problemthat has been viciously overlooked in our legislative mill is the fact that legislators themselvesviolate the rule that a bill should have only one subject matter. Truth is, HB 812 may have tobe broken up into separate bills and for that matter into separate laws. An evolving culture of “aquarium legislation” is tantamount to a constitutional violation of the legislative process.Up until today, there is a serious opposition to a reproductive health bill in whatever form orsubstance it comes simply because there are such groups or organizations that are against it.For instance, the CBCP is against it and for that matter other like-minded Catholic sub-groups. True enough, from the time it was first filed in the past Congresses, the bill already experienced a string of failures – to be passed into law – owing to provisions that arequestionable legally, morally, and scientifically. It can be said that again, this proposed HB812 may go through another rough sailing unless it can be railroaded in Congress and Senate.One theory stands in defense of the bill which claims it is necessary in order to curbpopulation growth which is now pegged at 86 million Filipinos as well as for the sake of limited resources such as rice. But the myth of this Malthusian fear has already been settledlong ago and it does not anymore hold water. Why a ‘zero population growth’ as that whichwas a matter of policy in the whole of the United States and Europe? If we consider theearnings being remitted into our country from OFWs as the single factor that buoys up ourfledging if pale economy, then we should have no reason to argue against this bill. That ‘zeropopulation policy’ practiced by countries in the First Bloc now reached the irreversiblescenario of a graying population that depletes their respective economies in heavy statesubsidies. Is it then a boon or bane?The National Academy of Science and Technology supports reproductive health bill. TheCatholic Church or the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines does not. There arepro-life advocates versus pro-choice advocates. This camp says it involves no abortion,another camp says otherwise. This group claims contraceptives to be abortifacient, anothersuch group claims it is not so. Within the legal community, a wedge divides their sentimentsas to whether it is against the Divine Law to allow any room of choice toward abortion or tosome extent euthanasia. Cases of abortion do sometimes involve “life-boat ethics” – thatCatch 22 of having to choose which person to save – the unborn babe or the mother. Thereare issues at every loop, claims at every turn, and cries in every direction the bill takes – foror against.Moralists, legalists, scientists follow their own lines of thinking that are parallel unto oneanother – no lines intersect. There is where the problem lies. Is it then possible to weavefrom various strands or threads a beautiful tapestry of the proposed bill? Has it become timeto curb population growth or corruption? Incidentally, the Secretary of Health announcedthat an initial amount of P150 billion as start-up fund is intended for this project in terms of