When asked about the question “What’s your stand regarding the Reproductive Health Bill?”,we’ve got to take into consideration our different vantage points. Sometimes, choosing a certain option ends you up in getting an unsatisfactory answer. That is why we’ve got to base these answers from our own assessment and experience, not just because for the sake of having an answer. As for me, my question to myself is- Where do I stand given my view as a member of a middle class family, my view as a Christian, my view as a nurse, my view as a member of the Philippines state, my view as a Lea Salonga fan, or my view as an anti-Pacquiao?
As a member of a middle class family
In our case, our parents raised 4 children. When we were still a young family, we’ve tried living with our grandparents and then tried renting a unit. Both my parents landed good jobs hence, started saving some money for them to build our own home. They were able to send us to school and then 4 of us became professionals. We were also able to eat more than three times a day.
According to the RH Bill promotional TV campaign, it is a pro-chance. It has said that if we comply with this bill, the bigger chance the parents will be able to support all their children, the better chance to send them to school, to provide for their nourishment and other essential needs. With lesser offspring, the lesser their responsibility of bringing out cash from their pockets and the more chance they will be able to save for their future. No more needing of committing crimes to earn money.
As a member of a middle class family, I can say that life for us has been quite fair when it came to our financial status. I would want that for all the Filipinos.
As a Christian
I was baptized under an Anglican church. I have attended a Catholic school when I was in secondary school where I’ve had A to A+ grades in our Christian Living Education subjects. I was also a member of campus ministry where we acted as a choir for our school church and got the chance to visit some seminaries and other religious communities. For the first 2 years of college, I have also attended a university ran by the diocese, a sister school of my secondary school. I can also say that my Theology subject grades were beyond satisfactory. Then on my last 2 years in college, I have transferred to another school under the Episcopal Church or Anglican.
With more than 7 years of learning about the church history to the parts of the mass to interpretation of passages and hearing homilies for almost every week, I came to understand some parts of a life of becoming a Christian. It has been taught to us that we should be pro-creators with God. We should not obstruct anything that would stop a growth of life. No abortions and the like.
With the contextual interpretation of Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it . . .’,” most people would interpret this literally as going out to the world to conceive with a child. That’s one of the difficulties of the Bible. The elucidation of the message depends on how the readers interpret it. But whatever or however we understand it, we should not impede a growth of a God-given life.
The RH Bill offers methods of contraception meaning, prevention of fertilization in consequence, prevention of giving life. And this is the greatest point on why the Church STRONGLY negates the proposition of the RH Bill.
90% of the Philippine population are Christians – including Catholic and all the other Christian denominations. With this number, it would be really hard to follow the understatement “The Church should be separated from the State.”
As a Nurse
As a nurse who have seen some hospital drama, I can say that a major reason contributing to a high morbidity and mortality rate of a certain disease is poverty. Children and adults get sick and die because they don’t have enough money to buy their medications and pay other hospital fees. They get sick and die because they were not informed about the extent of their illness or don’t know that they’ve got one because they don’t know the nature of the disease because they don’t have the money to go to school. They don’t even have the resources to get them food for nourishment.
Many times have we had patients intentionally committing abortion because they are not prepared to become a parent. Many times have we had mothers in the delivery room with Gravida7 obstetric history whose occupation is “housewife lang po” and whose husband is “pa-raket-raket lang po.” With clients like this, nurses would ask them if they would like to undergo ligation. As nurses, we have learned about the different contraceptive methods which we can educate to them. We provide and explain the pros and cons of these options and it’s up to them to choose freely. We never force them to take a specific method and respect their decisions.
In health ethics, contraception is also an ethical dilemma. Nurses should always promote the people’s well-being and promote life.
And because we are nurses who know the health status of the Philippines, we are caring and passionate enough to reach out to the luck-less community members. We educate them about health promotion, disease prevention, and independence when they are ready to handle their health problems.
As a member of The Philippine State
Being a member of the Philippine state includes being a part of a society and even taking part in the political affairs.
There is an estimated more than 92.7 million people in the Philippines. As of 1997, 37% of the population lived below the poverty line. They lived in squatter’s areas and barely had money to buy their necessities. Though loyalty, strong family ties, and support are embedded in the social values of the Filipinos, there are still those who cannot and did not live it up hence, more suffering and poverty. The RH Bill would cater mainly to them.
As previously said, majority of the Filipino population is more than 90% Christians. Being a Christian country for hundreds of years means that Christian values and beliefs have been instilled to the culture and society. Just a simple comment about condom use can gain lots of approval or ridicule from the society. Take an abortion and the society will condemn you. That is how Filipinos are fixated with their religion. Religion, in return, suggests situations or acts that people should consider as either moral or faux pas.
But albeit the said principled beliefs of Filipinos, it was also suggested that the morality of the people in the country is declining. Because of globalization, we don’t only gain access to the products and technology of the outsiders but also their mentality. The introduction of condoms, contraceptive pills, and methods brought a spin-off that society either loved or abhorred. It gave birth to another social and moral issue about casual sex, live-in relationships, sexually-transmitted diseases and abortion. I’m not saying that these issues came out primarily because of the introduction of artificial contraceptives but it somehow strengthened the will of the people to engage in defamatory acts. People are now confident to fulfill their carnal needs because they know they are protected. Unwanted pregnancy and parenthood increase the number of abortions. These, as the society dictates, are wrong.
I don’t mean that the RH Bill proposes abortion but since they are promoting contraceptives, with lack of reiteration, it is a given that people will interrelate these units.
In the political arena, the senate is the central scene of the discussion this moment. The discussion between the members of the congress and senate has been on the news for quite some time now. They all take their own stands and are arguing almost every day that it became a media circus. The recent is Congressman Manny Pacquiao giving a naïve and hypocritical remark about the issue, Senator Miriam Santiago exclaiming he shouldn’t involve himself in the debate and then later, Aling Dionesia Pacquiao hysterically getting back at her saying she should leave her son alone. But despite the publicly-known discussion in the senate and congress, President Benigno Aquino III hasn’t given any statement on which side he is supporting.
In the societal and cultural aspects, there are those who still believe in the conventional family living and relationship practices but are now taking into consideration the use of neoteric practices.
In the recent poll surveys shown in the news and internet, regardless of sex, occupation, and financial status, those who are anti-RH Bill are still leading than those who are pro.
As a Lea Salonga fan and an anti-Manny Pacquiao
Now, this might seem childish. Choosing an option because of your idols, that is. But never underestimate the influence of celebrities over their fans. Their personal choices can be enough to make a change in their followers’ standpoint.
I love Lea Salonga! I have watched DVDs of her Les Miserables and Mis Saigon. I even played their soundtrack in the Windows Media Player of our desktop when I was younger. I also loved her as the singing Jasmine and singing Mulan in the Disney favorites. Who wouldn’t be impressed with the singer who became internationally renowned and even won a Tony Award? But nowadays, aside from seeing her on musical plays and music variety shows, she has been active on Twitter and TV interviews giving her rational opinion as a pro-RH Bill.
On the other hand, the mass also has turned their attention to the boxer-turned-congressman, Manny Pacquiao. He dubbed himself as an anti-RH Bill. We cannot blame him on his choice and we respect that. The only problem is that he should have studied the matter before giving his opinion. He said that he does not support the RH Bill which offers contraception when in fact, her wife, Jinky, uses the pill. He ended up being called a hypocrite. There were also these interview questions he answered with unconvincing answers. It’s that he doesn’t know the full content of the RH bill he was opposing to or he did not understand the question in English.
But despite his rather failure as a member of the congress, he has still this massive fans which he can influence even without saying enough reasons on why he opposes. Manny just saying “No to RH Bill” can be enough to persuade some to turn against it.
In conclusion, no matter what side we take, what is important is the reason why we stood by it. But we should also make sure that the reason is sensible and not vapid. Each individual is standing in one or two vantage points where he is the only one who can understand and see. These differences should be respected. And even though the nation is in the middle of a debate, this should not bring gap between us in these coming months or years. And I hope that after the Legislative and the Executive departments have raised the final decision, we hope that the people will accept it even what was wanted was unattained. But don’t you think that by being responsible enough, there won’t be a necessity for bills to be proposed?
And by the way, I am a pro if that’s what you wanted to ask.