The Catholic Church will try to flex its political muscle tomorrow. The CBCP is calling on the "faithful" to go out of their homes and show their opposition against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill. The Aquino administration has called on its Congressional allies to ensure the passage of the bill. Analysts say, come August 7, the bill is as good as passed.
Two things which convinced the Aquino administration to support the passage of the bill: surveys which show 7 out of 10 Filipinos in support of reproductive health and of course, the collective voice of civil society. Various groups have united behind the bill, believing that this bill could improve the quality of life of Filipinos.
President Aquino even said that he shares the Catholic priests' interpretation of "pro-life". Aquino claims to be "pro-life", which, for him, means improving the economic condition of every Filipino family.
Of course, this slightly differs from the Catholic perspective which is more protecting the life not just of the living but of the unborn. The Church fears that the bill, when passed, would justify abortion.
What is really the true meaning of "pro-life"? Let's look both in the secular and the non-secular perspectives.
For those who believe in God, being pro-life means respect in the sanctity of life--from the time of conception in the womb until death. Now, what the Reproductive Health advocates want is to give the State the power and authority to intervene in the conception of life. Meaning, the Reproductive Health bill seeks to give the State the power to intervene in someone's life even prior to the conception of life in the womb.
This intervention is in the form of artificial contraceptives, which RH advocates believe are most effective in managing population. Managing the population means managing the economy. When you manage the economy, you improve the economic condition of families and therefore, allow a broader range of people to seek a better quality of life for themselves. RH advocates believe in the Malthusian view that a bigger population accounts for the poverty that exists in a particular place.
There is no dispute as to the effects of a big population in the economy, and therefore, in some instances, account for the creation and proliferation of poverty.
However, if we say that population is THE only cause of poverty, that is entirely wrong.
Poverty is the direct result of the inequality of life created by the very system itself, the Capitalist system. We must accept the fact that the longer this system operates in a particular country or state, the more people become poor. Why? The Capitalist system disallows the creation of wealth from the bottom to the top. IN this system, no large segment of the population controls capital, because in a situation where every single one is a capitalist, who, then, will comprise the larger consumerist segment which is the engine that makes capitalism move? The direct result of capitalism is the concentration of wealth to a few who then manages the entire economic superstructure, creates the conditions to spur trade among people in the consumer markets, and allows a fairly large segment of the population to work in production. The slavish character of capitalism is the direct cause of poverty. And poverty cannot be entirely abolished in a capitalist system because it is by itself, the direct result of its operation.
Reproductive health, therefore, is just a tool of the capitalists to again provide a fake solution to the issue of poverty. It is an issue which it throws at civil society as an yellowish answer to the issue of poverty.
Poverty cannot be eradicated by a condom. The quality of life of the Filipino individual will remain poor, because the very system where he lives allows and perpetuates this cycle of poverty.
It is not because we are 90 million people that makes 27 million of us poor, no. This 27 million Filipinos and growing, are victims of the system. Even if we grow by 100 million, poverty will still be there inspite of the passage of the RH bill.
Worst, if the RH bill is passed, we allow the State to intervene even in private and personal affairs such as the decision to conceive life.
If a couple who live in Metro Manila decides to raise ten kids, it is a personal decision. What right does the State has to use its powers to change the decision of the couple?
The RH bill is a dangerous bill because it gives the State the power to intervene even in sensitive and highly individualist decisions such as child rearing and child bearing.
Likewise, RH advocates say, the bill will stop the rising numbers of maternal deaths. Maternal deaths are caused by inadequate health care, which is the direct consequence of being poor. IN modern and highly prosperous societies, maternal deaths are less than those in underdeveloped societies, because these pregnant women are being taken cared of more than those of poorer ones.
These are just some of the issues which people are discussing about the Reproductive Health issue.
For a much broader discussion of the RH bill, tune in tomorrow at Ratsada sa Inquirer at Radio Inquirer 990 khz, from 8am to 10 am.