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Family Planning Organization of the Philippines – Samar Chapter (FPOP-Samar) Corner 5th Street and Mabini Avenue Catbalogan City, Samar, Philippines Contact Info: twitter.com/waraya_fpop, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Facebook; Waray-Waray Youth Advocates (WARAYA) Group Page
HONESTY AND THE RH BILL
WARAYA’S REBUTTAL PAPER AGAINST ANTI-RH BILL BLOCK: FIRST ISSUE ABS-CBN’s HARAPAN: Ipasa O Ibasura, May 8, 2011 Author: DENNIS G. COSMOD-President
“Honesty: fairness and straightforwardness of conduct; adherence to the facts” -Merriam Webster Dictionary “Honesty: the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness; truthfulness, sincerity, or frankness; freedom from deceit or fraud” -www.dictionary.com
Last May 8, 2011, ABS-CBN News sponsored a debate on the pending HB 4244 also known as the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011 dubbed as the HARAPAN: Ipasa o Ibasura. It is undeniable that Waray-Waray Youth Advocates (WARAYA) is a pro Reproductive Health (RH) Bill organization. We have been advocating for Reproductive Health for so many years now for we believe that such is one of the answers to many problems in the society that we face today. WE SAY ONE OF THE ANSWERS BECAUSE WE DO NOT CLAIM THAT IT IS THE SOLE SOLUTION OF THESE PROBLEMS RATHER IT IS AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN ADDRESSING HOLISTICALLY AND COMPREHENSIVELY THESE PROBLEMS. And as such, we can’t help but cry foul on some of the DISHONEST argumentations of the ANTI RH Bill block who debated in HARAPAN. This paper divided the RH Bill issue in five parts; Part I: On Abortion, Part II: On Population, Part III: On Sexuality Education, Part IV: On Health and other concerns and Part V: Conclusions and Recommendations PART I: On Abortion (released May 11, 2011) They said: “Reproductive Heath (RH) has a hidden agenda of promoting abortion. It also promotes abortion because some contraceptives are abortifacients” Issue no 1: RH has a hidden agenda of promoting abortion. We say: What the law doesn’t include, it excludes. In law, there is no such thing as hidden agenda. If it declares to be against abortion in no way it will promote abortion. On this section let me first quote Fr. John J. Carroll, S. J. as published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer posted last May 04, 2011. “Neither does the
bill legalize abortion; on the contrary it reaffirms the constitutional prohibition. It is highly probable in fact that if contraceptives become more available to the poor, the scandalous number of illegal abortions performed annually will be dramatically reduced.” Fact: On Section 3. Guiding Principles letter j of HB 4244 states that “While this Act recognizes that abortion is illegal and punishable by law, the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner” Analysis: Two things can be deduced from this statement; 1) the proposed bill adheres to what is stipulated in the constitution and other related laws about the prohibition of abortion and; 2) the proposed bill has its MORE PRO LIFE stance because women who need care for post-abortion (intended abortion or not intended abortion) complications shall be treated and counseled. For others it may seem as toleration (if complications are brought about by intended abortions); short for permission of such immoral act, but in a closer look these complications can put the life of the mothers at risk. JUDGING THESE WOMEN instead of treating and counseling them is more immoral act. Quoting a school mate in college during a debate he said, “WHY JUDGE? ARE YOU GOD?” Issue no 2: Contraceptives as abortifacients. PRO LIFERS claim that Oral Contraceptives (OCs) has its tertiary effect (it makes the endometrium hostile for possible implantation of a fertilized ovum) aside from; prevention of ovulation (primary effect) and inhibition of sperm transportation through the cervix by thickening the cervical mucus (secondary effect). In this light, OCs abort fertilized ovum and therefore are abortifacients. We say: There is no conclusive scientific and medical research/evidence that has supported such claim. In this section may I quote the statement from ProLife Physicians in America, American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, (1998) “The "hormonal contraception is abortifacient" theory is not established scientific fact. It is speculation”. They added thru their summary statements that “ 1. We know of no existing scientific studies that validate the "hostile endometrium is abortifacient" theory. 2. There is regular successful implantation of the invasive blastocyst on surfaces a great deal more "hostile" than "hostile endometrium" (e.g., fallopian tube lining). "Hostile endometrium" is not a demonstrated clinical reality”. They were also supported by Christian Medical and Dental Association. (http://www.prolifephysicians.org/abortifacient.htm: retrieved May 11, 2011) Fact: The third effect of Oral Contraception is not yet scientifically and medically recognized. Dennis M. Sullivan Professor of Biology and Director of Center for Bioethics of Cedarville University in USA on his article “The Oral Contraceptive as Abortifacient: An Analysis of the Evidence” part of his publication “Perspective on Science and Christian Faith” released last September 2006 concluded that “To summarize the scientific case indicting COCs as having an abortifacient action [unlike progestin-only contraceptives (POPs), progestin implants (e.g., Norplant), and emergency contraception (EC)], the evidence appears inconclusive at the present time.” This conclusion was derived in reference of about forty four (44) related scientific and medical literatures on the issue. (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2006/PSCF9-06Sullivan.pdf, retrieved May 11, 2011) Analysis: It is not correct to tag OCs as abortifacients due to third effect because there is no scientific and medical evidence that supports such claim. This conclusion is respected worldwide thru the recognition of WHO of OCs as non-abortifacients. This is also the scientific reality that was adhered to by many Pre-
dominantly Catholic countries who have adopted modern family planning methods as part of their Reproductive Health services (see Table 3). This data is updated from year 2005 to 2007. It is also noteworthy to cite the observations made by www.mulatpinoy.ph on their article “The Inconvenient Truth: Facts and Common Sense on Family Planning, RH, and Development “ 1. For the Philippine Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, it must align with how other predominantly Catholic countries have addressed reproductive health and family planning policies. o Catholic countries like Panama, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Paraguay and Ireland all prohibit abortion as a family planning method, even as they vigorously promote contraceptive use, while the Philippines has not. 2. Chile serves as a model of how a predominantly Catholic country can pioneer a family planning program with the support of the Catholic Church, academe, and international community. a. The Catholic Church hierarchy promoted such policies because they felt it would reduce the alarmingly high rates of induced abortions that were then prevalent in Chile. b. Today, Chile has a sustainable population (17 million), with higher investments per person; Chile has become the first Latin American country to reach OECD and 1st World/Developed Status. 3. Ireland, a progressive, developed and mostly Catholic country, has a Constitution similar to the Philippines: “State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws, to defend and vindicate that right (Article 40, Sec. 3.3).” a. In light of this, the Irish government has a family planning policy that funds and delivers all modern contraceptive methods including IUDs, pills, injectables, and implants. Therefore, ANTI RH people are dishonest in presenting pieces of evidence to support their claim. They have been selective in choosing which medical literature to use in order to satisfy their fallacies. NO WONDER, A MEMBER OF THEIR PANEL WAS KNOWN IN THE 14th CONGRESS TO FABRICATE DATA. Fact: It is a fact that not all fertilizations come out as babies. In a September 1995 bulletin, the American College of Gynecology stated, "Approximately 50-70 % of pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion.” (A spontaneous abortion is the term for a miscarriage in the medical literature.) Most researchers agree that about 20% of all pregnancies with women who do not use any Oral Contraceptives (OCs) end up as miscarriages after implantation and cause symptoms like cramping, bleeding, and the passage of a clot or tissue from the vagina, while about an equal number cause "silent" miscarriages of pregnancies that have not implanted or that implanted only for a brief period of time. (D. Ashley Hill, MD, The Medical Reporter, 3-1-97, http://medicalreporter.health.org/tmr0397/miscarriage0397.html). It is generally agreed in the medical literature that normal fertile couples of child-bearing age will measurably conceive about 25 % of
the time over one cycle. It is also a fact that Modern Family Planning Methods specifically OCs, the breakthrough ovulation rate on the commonly-used low-dose OCs is anywhere from 2 – 10 % (http://pilltruth.com/kill.html). Analysis: With the data above, the following computation was presented by the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (http://www.prolifephysicians.org/calculations.htm, retrieved May 11, 2011) “So if we took 1,000 sexually-active women of child-bearing age not on contraceptives, 250 of them would knowingly conceive within a single cycle, and 20%, or 50 of those pregnancies would miscarry. Another 50 of the 1000 women would have a “silent” miscarriage. With a symptomatic miscarriage rate of about 20 % and an asymptomatic miscarriage rate of about 20 %, 1,000 women of child-bearing age would experience a total miscarriage of about 40%, which would amount to a miscarriage of 100 of their children conceived in that first month. “Let’s compare this estimate to an approximate number of miscarriages in the same amount of time among 1,000 women on OCs. Reviewing, the breakthrough ovulation rate on the commonly-used low-dose OCs is anywhere from 2 – 10 % (http://pilltruth.com/kill.html). Let us use the liberal rate of 10 % breakthrough ovulations for our calculation: of those 1,000 women on OC’s, 100 of them will ovulate in one month. Of those ovulations, let us assume that the 25 % pregnancy rate over one cycle holds true for ovulating women on OCs as it does for ovulating women who are not on OCs. Of those breakthrough ovulations, there will be 25 conceptions. “Let us pause here to reflect: even if all 25 of those babies miscarry, it is four times less than the number of miscarriages in the equal number of women who are not on OCs. Put in other terms, it could be said that the OC prevented 75 % of miscarriages. “In reality, the miscarriage rate of women on OCs cannot be that high, because the accepted rate for “pill pregnancies” is 3-5 per 100 women years. That is, if 100 women take the OC for one year, they will have 3-5 healthy pregnancies in spite of the OC. Thus, if 1,000 women took the OC for one year, they would have 30 to 50 healthy pregnancies over that year, or 2.5 to 4.2 healthy pregnancies per month. Thus, of those 25 conceptions that result from breakthrough ovulations in women on OCs, 2 to 4 (10 – 20%) of them will survive, resulting in a total miscarriage rate that is around one-fifth of that of women who are not on OCs. “Different physicians have calculated different possible OC-induced abortion statistics for the 10 million women on OCs in the U.S. Dr. Murphy Goodwin arrived at OC-induced abortions totals between 104,100 and 1,561,500 per year. Dr. Don Gambrell calculated the possible abortion rate induced by OCs to be 1,894,620 per year. “Compare those figures to the number of accidental miscarriages of the 30 million sexually-active American women of child-bearing age who are not on OCs. There were 4,021,726 births in 2002. At a 40 % miscarriage rate, 2,681,150 babies died via miscarriage to women who are not on OCs, much more than the most liberal estimates of miscarriage rates of women on OCs. “Add to that the 1,328,000 estimated to have been aborted in 2002, the vast majority of their mothers not being on oral contraceptives, and you have four million deaths of children conceived by mothers not on oral contraceptives. By these calculations, there are considerably less deaths of preborn children whose mothers are on OCs compared to mothers who are not. “As stated in the body of the main article, for a drug to be classified as abortifacient, the conception loss must exceed the base-line loss for populations not using the drug, or be shown to occur solely due to the drug. Thus, it is erroneous to classify OCs as abortifacient, and unnecessary divisive.”
Most recent researches however showed different data but still hold the fact that even without contraceptives, there is still heavy embryo losses- MUCH HIGHER THAN THOSE USING CONTRACEPTIVES. Biology Professor S. F. Gilbert, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, affirms that Natural Family Planning also results in heavy embryo losses: 20% of eggs come in contact with sperm. Of this 20%, 16.8 % have successful fertilization and 13.8% have successful implantation. Only 6.2% of the fetuses come to term. (Bovens, Luc. Journal of Medical Ethics, 2006; 32:355‐356). With that data, for 1000 women not using contraceptives, only 168 will be fertilized but only 62 will be born, a total of 104 embryo losses. But for 1000 women using OCs with a more liberal 10% breakthrough ovulation (100 egg cells to be released), only 20 will have contact with a sperm, 17 (rounded off) will be fertilized, 7 will be born as babies, with 10 embryo losses. In conclusion therefore, NFP causes more spontaneous abortion than OCs. Oral contraception is more PRO LIFE.
The rebuttal above used data from neutral sources and sometimes from organizations who claim prolifers to do away possible information sources who according to people from ANTI RH Block are biased towards promotion of contraceptives and abortion. But for purposes of information and discussion, Guttmacher Institute says:
“Modern contraception averts over 112 million abortions in the developing world each year, and conforms to majority of country experiences where increased contraceptive use lowers induced abortions. (See Figure 5) 1. This will help reduce the over 500,000 abortions in the Philippines, mostly from non‐users & NFP users.30 Examples: In Kazakhstan, South Korea, and Russia, contraceptive use climbed while abortion rates plummeted, and total fertility rates (# of children per woman) were went down to sustainable levels. 2. The use of contraceptives can reduce abortion rates by 85%. Figure 5. World and Country case studies: contraception and abortion inverse relationship
With all the discussions above on the issue of Abortion, the following things can be concluded, RH Bill doesn’t promote abortion and contraceptives are not abortifacients. RH Bill instead is more PRO LIFE than those measures/practices promoted by ANTI RH bill people.
(Second Issue to come out soon…)