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RH Law- A Wrong Solution! The Philippines is divided once again!

This time, it seems that not even the great boxing icon and the so-called unifier, Manny Pacquiao can do something about it. In fact, he already made his stand as one who is against the law being debated upon. With the advent of RA 10354 or what is better known as Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, debates are ongoing everywhere. A lot of issues are being argued upon. In the congress, debates on the constitutionality of this controversial law are being held. We see our legislators trying to answer the question, when does life begin? At first glance, one would ask why the legislators should waste time on answering such question but if one will look deeper, he would know why. Pro-RH advocates say that life begins when the fertilized egg embeds itself in the uterus of a woman, but as one who opposes the law, I say, life begins at conception and that is when there is a union of the sperm and the egg. Even a fifth grader would agree with me. To this date, there are efforts to change this well-instituted fact and somehow, some people are confused. The controversy over the Reproductive Health (RH) laws

constitutionality is its provision that, the state will promote all methods of family planning, including effective natural and modern methods which have been proven medically safe, legal, and nonabortifacient. It is a common knowledge that most hormonal

contraceptives and intra-uterine devices (IUDs) are designed to prevent pregnancy through several means. A well known fact is that contraceptives inhibit the females ovulation, or the production of eggs. In addition, contraceptives also stop the transportation of the sperm cells to the egg. However, unknown to many, most effective

contraceptives however have a last-resort mechanism. According to some medical scientists, contraceptives can make the lining of the uterus hostile to the zygote attached to it which can result to the expulsion of the said zygote. This is the reason why the beginning of life and conception is being argued upon in congress not to mention also the fact that even those on the professional field of medicine are also divided on this issue. Article 2, Section 12 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. It clearly ordains the protection of the unborn from conception which is in this case- the zygote. If the people have access to

contraceptives that have the effect of terminating the zygote, then it is clear that this law is unconstitutional. Anyone who has been ardently following this issue would know that the proponents of this law posited that the cause of poverty in the Philippines is because of its looming population. And so we have to

have a reproductive health law to combat poverty. When did a reproductive health law ever become a solution to poverty? As one who is against this law, I stand firm on my belief that this law is not the solution to the problem of poverty in the Philippines. While it is true that the population of the Philippines is rising, I think we also have to understand that being many in number is not a burden in itself. Pro RH advocates have been citing a lot of examples pointing it out that a large population is cumbersome but is it? Yes, it is true that most mortality cases are from those below living below the poverty line. And yes, it is also true that the same people are the ones who cannot afford family planning and the like, but these are not actually surprising. This is because those who are poor cannot afford to give birth in hospitals that are good enough to suit their medical needs. They also do not have opportunities to discuss such family planning or health needs with a doctor because they are busy trying to look for ways on how they will feed their hungry stomachs, so going to the doctor is not an option. Will this situation change if they will be given contraceptives? Giving them contraceptives is like giving someone a band aid for his wounds. The band aid will help, but it definitely will not heal the wound. Can we not do something far better to solve the poverty problem of the Philippines? Can we not give them

opportunities for development? People do not live impoverished lives because of their number. They are needy and destitute because they are not given enough

opportunities to advance and enrich their lives. How can they do so if they are employed? How can they can they get well paying jobs when their educational qualifications are not sufficient for such? So again, there is the problem of education. It is a comforting fact that basic primary and secondary education is free in our country, but still reality would tell us that graduating in high school does not assure one of a job that will be enough to sustain his daily needs. Just recently, the Department of Education implemented the K to 12 system which is a good start but it should also improve the needed facilities so that this program will not go to waste. Time and time again, we often hear that what the poor need are opportunities. They need to do things that will improve their state in life. They need to do things that will keep them busy and productive not just reproductive. Even if they are able to do things if no opportunities are given them, then their abilities will be in vain. They do not need condoms, pills or the like. They need quality education and well paying jobs. They need better healthcare, not just

reproductive healthcare. These are but two among the other issues raised such as issues on morality, corruption and other negative things that would happen once RH law will be implemented but I leave such issues to the moralists. It is enough that we respect the supremacy of our constitution. Let us not try to change the definition of words just so to make the

definition fit in what we would like to achieve. The irony of it is that people will get penalized for not complying with a law that is in itself unconstitutional. More importantly, this should be a wake-up call for the government to give real solutions to address the problem of poverty. In some developed countries, a rising population is not an obstacle to progress, rather it has become their asset. Look at China. Can we not do the same in the Philippines? The government claims that it only has limited resources, yes we understand that but these limited resources should be spent on more important things such as to job creation and education and not on contraceptives or sex education. The poverty problem in the Philippines is encompassing with a lot of factors wherein employment is the number one culprit. It is unfair to blame it on just one factor which is overpopulation. Think of the benefit that the Philippines will get if it has a working population. Clich as it sounds, the people and the government need to work together to alleviate poverty with the latter leading the way. It is good that RH law advocates have acknowledged that poverty is by far one of or if not the most serious problems in our country because unlike wealth it trickles down to every level of our society but the RH law is not the solution! Passing the RH bill into a law does not change the fact that it violates the fundamental law of the land. As one prominent author said, Errors do not cease to become errors just because they are ratified in to law.

AN ESSAY ENTITLED RH LAW- A WRONG SOLUTION


IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS IN THE COURSE, PERSONS AND FAMILY RELATIONS

SUBMITTED TO: ATTY RONEY JONE P. GANDEZA

SUBMITTED BY: JO ANN L. LONGID

JULY 26, 2013 UNIVERSITY OF THE CORDILLERAS