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Why I Am Against the RH Bill Jesus P. Estanislao

Why I Am Against the RH Bill Jesus P. Estanislao

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Published by CBCP for Life

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Published by: CBCP for Life on May 20, 2011
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05/20/2011

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WHY I AM AGAINST THE RH BILL
Jesus P. Estanislao1. The bill, in its present “consolidated form”, dissimulates. It is far from transparent: it purports to befor reproductive health. In fact, by its aim, it is dangerous not only to the health, but even the life, of unborn babies. It can also be dangerous to the health—both physical and psychological---of women.2. The bill aims at fewer babies being born in our land, under the premise that the fewer they are, thebetter off the Philippines would be: fewer mouths to feed, fewer children to educate, fewer people tocare for. This premise looks at children---indeed at people---as mere liabilities. It turns a blind eye onthe other side, that they can be---indeed often are---great net assets.3. The bill claims to make the road to development much easier: the fewer babies we have to providefor, the more resources we free up for investments, particularly for infrastructure. It forgets that thebest investment we can make is on people, on a big natural base of human resources.4. The bill ignores one of the most pressing development issues now confronting Japan and a few othercountries as well, including many European countries and soon also South Korea and China. Ageing of the population, arising from too few babies being born, is bringing about a demographic winter, whichconsiderably darkens the long-term prospects of the economies concerned.5. The bill is simplistic in its view of development: one shaped and determined mainly by lowering birthrates and population growth rates. It fails to give due importance to the key determinants of development, which include the following top five factors: “good governance; openness to knowledge;stable finances; allocation of goods and services principally by markets; high rates of savings andinvestments” (Michael Spence).6. The bill expands the role of government considerably, expanding it into areas that are best left toindividual choices and responsible decisions of married couples. It violates the key governanceprinciple of leaving to individuals, institutions, and other lower bodies those decisions and duties thatthey can and should take up on their own. It disregards the maxim that governments govern best byrefraining from over-reach.7. The bill proposes to spend tax money on population control programs, featuring artificial methods of family planning, which many citizens find offensive to their conscience and objectionable on the basisof the constitutional protection of the unborn. Indeed, many citizens are asking: what business doesthe government have dispensing contraceptives and condoms and spending public funds on items thatare supposed to be a matter of individual “choice”?8. The bill is not only intrusive; it is also coercive. It tramples upon the right of conscientious objectionon the part of individuals and institutions by threatening jail and other punishments to those whorefuse to promote and observe its anti-life orientation and propagation of artificial methods of birthprevention.9. The bill offends the basic dignity of human sexuality so essential for strong families as thefoundation of a strong society. While proposing to improve the condition of families, it can easily leadto a fools’ paradise, characterized by “more premarital sex, more fatherless children, lessdomesticated men, more crimes, more social pathology, more single mothers, and therefore morepoverty”, as has actually occurred in some countries that have taken the path the bill proposes (GeorgeAkerlof).10. The bill promotes a mind-set that weakens the ethical fiber of our people. It devalues human life.It fosters short-term enjoyment of “freedom” without instilling a deep sense of duty to take on itscorresponding long-term responsibilities. It views personal relationships and social processes from a

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