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AITOpinion, Government, Jake Crisologo, The Philopino

Why I believe in the RH Bill


The Philopino | Jake Crisologo

I’m a guy who doesn’t have a lot of advocacies. I only have a few and most of them aren’t even worth mentioning. However, one of the things I advocate now is the RH Bill, something that’s all the rage now that the Senate has time to talk about it. I’m Pro-RH Bill because I can’t see how it can be unreasonable, even given its certain limitations, since in principle things are never really perfect.

It’s not just about contraceptives, obviously. You can check it out and see what it really stands for.

I believe that the RH Bill is such a reasonable bill that it’s almost obvious that it should be passed. Its supporters, myself included, don’t see it as a hater of life, as one Archbishop claimed in a very vague and pretty essay about life and the Philippines. Tito Sotto, who is going all teary and personal about a lost son and an anti-RH Bill page on Facebook (I Oppose the RH Bill),  is saying that the RH Bill is plagiarized from the UNFPA – which is just stupid because it was the portion where “Reproductive health” was defined. Since when was copying general definitions plagiarism? I don’t need to “steal” from a dictionary to define stupid, mind you.

The opposition is simple. Simple-minded, to be honest.

Actually, the RH Bill for me is one of the softest policies on population out there if ever it gets passed. It does NOT legalize abortion, it does NOT force people to take contraceptives and it does NOT hate life. How can a bill that advocates women’s rights, health and family hate life? If we want more ethical debates on population then let’s look at one or two-child policies in other countries, or infanticide or the classic and super-gasgas issue of abortion itself.

It’s not just about reproductive health; it’s about reproductive rights. Even if the Philippines were not overpopulated or the birth rate of the poor was not so damn high, people have the right to be better educated about these particular rights that play a huge part in their lives. Reproductive rights entitle us to information that concerns our health, the kinds, effects and side-effects of contraceptives and the prevention of the spread of STD’s. Knowing these rights actually empowers us to make better choices and live better lives.

So as a writer for AIT, what do I care about the RH Bill? Or the institute for that matter?

I won’t write a specified justification because I don’t have to. We come from an industry that’s so volatile to policies and general conditions. The effects of the RH Bill may not even be traced through tourism industry conditions, but it can be traced on its effects on people’s lives. And in our industry, people are the primary concern. (Even if we do need to transport goods, say cabbages, they don’t really have “fun” do they?)

But let’s throw the ball on the other side and look at what they say. They say that the RH Bill hates life, that it’s a sin to use contraceptives, that contraceptives can make you sick, that you’re going to go to hell if you support the bill, and that unborn or even imagined babies need to be fought for.

Honestly, I must admit that the RH Bill is not perfect. But is anything really?

The notion of “sin” is theoretical so let’s not linger on that. I really don’t claim to know what God thinks.

(By the way, the Church has released a new set of sins. One of them is “excessive wealth”. Hmmm. Maybe the Church is going to hell too, if that were the case.)

So can contraceptives make you sick? Actually, yes.

However, so can any drug and substance. I’m not trying to negate the idea that contraceptives can be harmful, but we should be aware about how harmful they actually are. Given information on the risks (which are minimal anyway when used properly) and the possible side-effects, many people will still choose taking contraceptives because it outweighs the cost of having unwanted pregnancies. It’s not an ice-cream truck kind of arrangement where the government will distribute contraceptives and lie about how great it is. But it’s about getting all the information, the good and the bad.

Maybe the RH Bill will create a shift in ideologies as well when it’s passed. Maybe life will be seen differently. Maybe more women will get abortions, illegal as it is right now. Maybe the population will plummet, or maybe our lives will get worse. Maybe morality will be shaken, and maybe we’ll still be poor. But if we do this right, damn it if we do this right, if the government does a great job educating people on their choices then maybe we’ll get another set of maybes.

Maybe life will be better. Maybe more mothers will live through childbirth. Maybe less kids will be malnourished because their parents can actually provide for them. Maybe we’ll have more skilled and accomplished workers because it’s harder to educate too many people at the same time. Maybe there’ll even be less abortions and teenage pregnancy.

Maybe we’ll make the right choices.

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About aitsalimbay

The official newsletter of the UP Asian Institute of Tourism.

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