24 December 2012

More Misinformation and Promises of Doom

Misinformation on the RH Bill
Last Sunday (16 December 2012), a Pastoral Letter was issued by bishops on RA 4244, the so-called Reproductive Health bill that senators and congressmen are called upon by President Noynoy Aquino to approve.

Entitled, "Contraception is Corruption," the letter was signed by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, CBCP vice president, for Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president who was in Vietnam for a plenary assembly of Asian bishops.

Some of the points it raised are the following:
  • "The RH bill if passed into law can harm our nation. Contraception corrupts the soul. The RH Bill is being gift-wrapped to look like a gift for maternal health care. It is not so. It will lead to greater crimes against women."

    As usual, there were no details given on how the RH bill can harm the nation and how it can corrupt the soul. Leave it to the bishops to instill fear and anxiety among its followers by claiming that eternal damnation will prevail once the bill becomes a law. End of the World is Coming! Repent or Burn in Hell! Sounds familiar? How many times do we hear these prophetic nonsense in history? This were the same lines that the Pharisses told their followers before Jesus admonish their teachings. Fortunately, enlightened Filipinos are not easily scared by unfounded scenarios pictured by the good bishops intended to make everyone blindly follow where no man has gone before.
  • "The poor are being promised a better life through the RH bill. It will not be so. The poor can rise from their misery through more accessible education, better hospitals and lesser government corruption. Money for contraceptives can be better used for education and authentic health care."

    Here we go again, twisting the words of the bill to create a picture that the poor are being exploited by its provision. The measure do not promise a better life, but offer couples (rich and poor), a wide range of contraceptive choices. Do you get the difference, bishops? The letter admits that the poor can be better serve with a more accessible education, which I agree, so why not expand it further to include sex education in schools.

    The letter also failed to identify what it means by 'authentic' health care. Is it 'authentic' when the services and products in the health industry only includes what the bishops has identified as acceptable? Or is it more 'authentic' if the government allow couples and women of reproductive age (WRA) access to a wide range of health products, including contraceptives, and services, including sex counselling?
  • "The youth are being made to believe that sex before marriage is acceptable provided you know how to avoid pregnancy. Is this moral? Those who corrupt the minds of children will invoke divine wrath on themselves."

    The statement above really takes the icing from the cake. I have not found any statement in the RH Bill that tries to mislead the youth into thinking that sex before marriage is moral. Maybe the bishops are far more detached from reality as I initially believed. Teenage sex is already happening and more youth are engaged in this risky behavior than before, as confirmed by the initial data from the recent Youth, Adolescent Fertility Survey (YAFS). The RH Bill seeks to address the risky lifestyle by preventing the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases and avoid unwanted pregnancy.

    There are no corruption of the mind here. The only corruption I see is the attempt to mislead the Filipino people into thinking that something cataclysmic and horrendous will happen to them if they don't follow the unfounded teachings of the 'prayles.' Some religious radicals thought that they can just ram their medieval teachings into the throats of Filipinos who will then accept them meekly as universal truths. Well, fortunately, the time of the 'conquistadors' are over.
  • "The Reproductive Health bill, if passed in its present form, will put the moral fiber of our nation at risk. As we your bishops have said in the past, a contraceptive mentality is the mother of an abortion mentality. The wide and free accessibility of contraceptives, even to the youth, will result in the destruction of family life and in greater violence against women."

    Here we go again. Moral Fiber is at Risk! Mother of an Abortion Mentality! Destruction is Upon Us! This is a classic example of using fear of divine wrath to get what you want. If someone offers to spread fear in order to influence the decision, it's pretty likely that they will look for any approach that makes everyone feel bad, even if the solution does not do anything for the underlying problem.