The Reproductive Health Bill is one of the controversial bills in the Philippines these days. The Catholic clergies are opposing it. For them, the bill is pro-abortion because it kills the fertilized egg, and closed their eyes and ears from the explanation that the medical pills prevents the fertilization through hormonal changes that inhibits ovulation. The Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is firm with his stand on the issue, even if it might result to the aversion of the Catholic leaders. The drama that was staged by actor and tourist guide, Carlos Celdran, in the Manila Cathedral give the bill an attention somehow because Celdran, clad in the suit and bowler hat that seemed to impersonate Dr. Jose Rizal, was jailed for interrupting the mass with his placard that called the clergies “Damaso.” The ABS CBN report said that he was mouthing “Bakit mahihirap lang pinagbabawalan sa family planning?” In English, he was saying, ” Why are they prohibiting only the poor in family planning?” Padre Damaso is the character in Dr. Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere(Touch Me Not).” He was the abusive clergy who used his powerful influence to make the people he did not like to suffer and the people he liked to have favors. He accused Don Rafael Ibarra, the father of the protagonist Crisostomo Ibarra, for heresy. When the latter was caught for the death of the tax collector as he tried to save a child from the clutches of the dead man, the people like Padre Damaso who carried grudges against him came out. Unfortunately, he got ill and died in jail. Padre Damaso asked men to dig up his remains from the Catholic cemetery and to transfer him to the Chinese cemetery. The heaviness of the corpse and the rain made the hired men decide to dump it in the lake. Padre Damaso also made Ibarra unable to marry Maria Clara by excommunicating him. He pushed the girl to marry the man he favored for her. In the end, it was found out that the friar, who was supposed to practice celibacy, was Maria Clara’s biological father. In her refusal to marry the man he liked, Maria Clara asked him to send her to the convent.
Celdran stayed in jail for few days. He was said to be saying that he wanted to make the Catholic clergies realized that the Filipinos want the RH bill. He was right. The Business World published an online data last November 30 that said that a recent poll by the Pulse Asia showed that the Filipinos were divided with regards to the RH bill. However, majority are in favor. More than half interviewed (69%) are accepting the RH bill, while a fourth are undecided (22%) and few disagreed with it(7%).
The Protestant Churches have a positive prospective with regards to the RH bill according to Uy and Gabieta. The National Council of Churches in the Philippines are composed of various Protestant church. Its secretary, Rex Reyes, said that they found no association between abortion and the family planning. He thought that the bill emphasizes the responsible parenthood and the couples’ right to plan their families. It also helps the government ensure decent life for the Filipinos.
As the debate continuous, the local governments like the Quezon City have projects such as free bilateral ligation procedures in their respective health centers. Many Catholic obstetrician-gynecologists refuse to prescribe oral contraceptive pills and refer their private patients to others who are willing to give them tubal ligations after delivery of their children. If ever it becomes a law, the practice still depends on the religious inclination that defines the individuality and character of every person. Personally, I would give the prescription only if the couple understand that the further delay of pregnancy for them if they still have one or two children could have a consequence in the future.They could have lesser fecundity chances when they reach 30’s. They should also fully accept that like all the other things made by human beings, there are failure rates. Only abstinence could prevent pregnancy one hundred percent .
List of Sources:
Tour guide Carlos Celdran nabbed for interrupting mass. www.abs-cbnnews.com. /nation/metro-manila/09/30/10/tour-guide-carlos-celdran-nabbed-interrupting-mass
Roa AN, Gonzales N. Majority of Filipinos back reproductive health bill-pollster. BusinessWorld Online.www.bworldonline.com. Nov.30,2010
Uy J, Gabieta J. Protestant Churches back RH bill.Philippine Daily Inquirer. December 6,2010. Newsinfo.inquirer.net