Mother Teresa on Natural Family Planning by Fr. Matthew Habiger OSB

Mother Teresa of Calcutta; 1986 at a public pro-life meeting in Bonn, Germany

Mother Teresa of Calcutta; 1986 at a public pro-life meeting in Bonn, Germany

One positive effect of NFP is that men and women acknowledge their roles and responsibilities in the creation of a new life. A second positive effect is a change in the way spouses view each other and their mutual relationship.

Couples who use NFP attest to the benefit.  NFP is really a study of fertility in which a couple learns the workings of their reproductive systems. Acquiring this knowledge can bring about profound changes in the way people view their bodies and the bodies of their spouses. This reverence toward the body seems to increase particularly among men, even those who say they have “finished their families.” Many men report new feelings of awe towards their wives as they see the changes they go through every month. The man develops a sense of gratitude for the gift of fertility a woman gives him every time they make love.  She in turn develops a sense of gratitude that her husband is cooperating with her fertility instead of asking her to destroy it.

In this way both come to see that every act of intercourse is a reaffirmation of their marital commitment. Their mutual trust increases. Economist George Akerlof writes:

It seems reasonable … that the probability of a breakup is higher for couples in uncommitted relationships than for those in committed ones.

Armed with the knowledge of their fertility, the husband and wife can make mutual decisions on when to make love based on their situation in life. These decisions spark a dialogue, which keeps open the lines of communication. The couple sees that not every sexual act, especially one that can result in a pregnancy that would be detrimental, is an act of love.

This can bring about a change in behavior that is beneficial to marriage. Spouses become less selfish, less centered on their own sexual needs. Abstinence becomes a sacrifice made for the good of the other. These benefits are available to couples regardless of whether they are newly-weds or have been married for twenty years.

In light of all this, why should anyone expect the Church to change its teaching on contraception? Why should a Church, speaking in the name of God who is love, give its blessing to something that has led to abortion, divorce, reproductive health problems for women, poorer relationships between the sexes, more children living in poverty and more men becoming socially dysfunctional?

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta got to the heart of the matter when she addressed a National Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the U.S. Senate and House of representatives on 3 Feb 1994:

I know that couples have to plan their family and for that there is natural family planning. The way to plan the family is natural family planning, not contraception.

In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception, a husband or wife is doing something to self. This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her. In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception. Once that living love is destroyed by contraception, abortion follows very easily.

I also know that there are great problems in the world – that many spouses do not love each other enough to practice natural family planning.We cannot solve all the problems in the world, but let us never bring in the worst problem of all, and that is to destroy love. And this is what happens when we tell people to practice contraception and abortion.

The poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things. Once one of them came to thank us for teaching her natural family planning and said: “You people who have practiced chastity, you are the best people to teach us natural family planning because it is nothing more than self-control out of love for each other.” And what this poor person said is very true. These poor people maybe have nothing to eat, maybe they have not a home to live in, but they can still be great people when they are spiritually rich.

When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread. But a person who is shut out, who feels unwanted,unloved, terrified, the person who has been thrown out of society – that spiritual poverty is much harder to overcome. And abortion, which often follows from contraception, brings a people to be spiritually poor, and that is the worst poverty and the most difficult to overcome.

Whether a couple is using NFP to bring new life into existence or to avoid a pregnancy through the use of periodic abstinence, there is an element of sacrifice involved. Blessed Mother Teresa described the payoff for confronting the fear of that sacrifice as part of her statement to the Cairo Conference on Population on 9 Sept 1994:

God has created a world big enough for all the lives He wishes to be born. It is only our hearts that are not big enough to want them and accept them… We are too often afraid of the sacrifices we might have to make. But where there is love, there is always sacrifice. And when we love until it hurts, there is joy and peace.

And where there is joy and peace, marriage and the family can thrive.

Taken from Fletcher Doyle’s NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING BLESSED OUR MARRIAGE, pp. 36-40.

(Thanks to Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ for sharing this piece.)

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Draft for an anti-RH Bill: Maternal Health Bill of 2011

The Catholic Church and anti-RH bill lawmakers have always been on the defensive after years of siege by the proponents of the RH Bill. The RH bill forces will never tire: they have the funding of multinational pharmaceuticals who make contraceptives, abortion companies like Planned Parenthood, and UN commissions who push for reproductive health.

What the anti-RH Bill forces need is a counter-attack on the RH-Bill forces’ flanks.  We must fight the RH Bill by proposing a contrary bill (read the parable of the unclean spirit (Lk 11:24-26)).  The Reproductive Health Bill is a misnomer and a lie: the bill does not concern reproduction but contraception and contraceptives endanger the woman’s health.  The Maternal Health Bill that I propose is really for maternal health, which concerns both the mother and the child:  the word “maternal” does not only refer to the woman but also to her child, for how can a woman be a mother, a “mater”, if she has no child?  A woman’s right over her body should never trample on the rights of the child in her womb over his body.

This anti-RH bill shall divert the time and resources of the pro-RH forces, for one cannot fight at the same time both the impregnable wall that is the Catholic Church and the new menace that may spell the doom of RH in the Philippines.  (News Flash: Cong. Manny Pacquiao’s anti-RH bill  knocks out Sen. Miriam Santiago’s RH bill).   And if this anti-RH bill becomes a law, it will be one layer of defense wall against the renewed assault of the pro-RH bill forces in the future.  As Gandalf would said to the Balrog in the battle of the Bridge of Khazadum: “You cannot pass!”

Below is a draft of the bill that I propose, following the outline of the Consolidated RH Bill,  House Bill 4244, “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health andPopulation and Development Act of 2011” and Senator Miriam Santiago’s Senate Bill 2378, The Reproductive Health Act.  I hope a congressman or senator can improve my draft bill and sponsor it as a congressional or senate bill.  Please spread the word.

Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr., Monk’s Hobbit

St. Albert the Great, pray for us.  

St. Bobo, pray for us.

Section 1.  Title

This act shall be known as the “Maternal Health Bill of 2011”.

Section 2.  Declaration of Policy

“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. The natural and primary right and duty of the parents in rearing of the youth into civic efficiency and the development of the moral character shall receive support from the government.” (1987 Philippine Constitution Art. II, Sec. 12)

Section 3.  Guiding Principles

This act declares the following as guiding principles:

  1. A human being is formed when a sperm fertilizes an egg.  Many contraceptive pills are actually abortifacients because they prevent the fertilized egg to cling to the uterine walls and the fertilized egg dies.
  2. Every child has a right to be conceived in his mother’s womb through the union of his father’s sperm and his mother’s egg through sexual intercourse.
  3.  Every child conceived has the right to be born alive.
  4. The use of condoms and contraceptive pills makes fornication and adultery easier because the woman involved will not get pregnant and the scandalous affair is not brought to light.  Fornication leads to low marriage rates and adultery increases the breakdown of marriages.
  5. The use of condoms and and contraceptive pills contributes to environmental pollution.  In particular, when the contraceptive chemicals are excreted from the woman’s body through urine, these chemicals enter the sewage  system,  down to our rivers and streams, and back to our drinking water.  The female sex hormones in the water contributes to the impotence of males.
  6. Contraceptive pills interrupt women’s natural fertility cycle. Furthermore, the use of contraceptive pills has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer.
  7. The use of condoms and contraceptive pills lessen the respect of the husband to the wife, making her an object to be used anytime, anywhere, without regard to her natural fertility cycle.
  8. The use of condoms increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases: those who use condoms think that having sex is safer, so they increase the frequency of their sexual intercourse and the number of their sexual partners.
  9. The use of condoms and contraceptive pills leads to a notion that a child is not a gift but a burden, so that if the contraception fails and a child is conceived, the next recourse is abortion.  Countries who made contraception into a law ended up making abortion into a human right.
  10. Willful abortion is a criminal offense because a human being is killed.
  11. Growing population is not a problem, but graft and corruption.  Decline in population leads to a graying population which would decrease the number of taxpayers and increase the numbers of old pensioners, leading to economic collapse.
  12. The children are the hope of our country, said Dr. Jose Rizal. It is not the duty of the state to mandate the number of children per household, but to provide opportunities for each child conceived to grow to become responsible citizens of the country.
  13. Those who contribute to the pollution of our environment or to the destruction of our families must be must be the one who shall be taxed in order for the government to clean up the mess.
Section 4. Definition of Terms
  1. Maternal health refers to the biological capacity of a woman to do the all of the four functions: (a) conceive a child through sexual intercourse with a man, (b) carry the child in her womb for nine months, (c) give birth to the child through normal delivery, (d) and breastfeed the child immediately after birth until the child does not anymore need breastmilk.
  2. Maternal death is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes (World Health Organization)
  3. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman as witnessed by the State for the the purpose of raising a family.
  4. Fornication or pre-marital sex is the sexual intercourse between the unmarried man and an unmarried woman
  5. Adultery is the sexual intercourse with a partner who is married to another.
  6. Contraceptives are devices or chemicals that hinders the meeting between the sperm and egg during sexual intercourse
  7. Abortifacients are substances or chemicals that induce abortion.
  8. Sex hormones are sex-specific chemicals that are naturally produced by the human body.  Males have male hormones, females have female hormones.
  9. Abortion is the killing of an unborn child in the womb.
  10. Fertility cycle is the reproductive cycle of which define the days when she is fertile and when she is not.
  11. Natural family planning refers to the study of the woman’s fertility cycle to determine the proper times for sexual intercourse for the proper spacing of births.
  12. Sexually transmitted diseases refers to diseases that are transmitted through sexual intercourse, such as AIDS and HIV.
Section 5.  Contraception, Abortion, and Fertility Treatments
  1. Contraceptives imported from other countries are subject to 100% tariff. Contraceptives donated from other countries will also be subject to 100% tariff based on their estimated value.  Thirty-five percent (35%) of the tariff shall go to the National Treasury, 30% shall go to the Department of Health (DOH) for its Maternal Health Programs, 15 % shall go to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and 15% shall go to a special research fund of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).  This special research fund shall be awarded to research proposals for development of ways to monitor and remove women sex hormones in rivers, lakes, and drinking water.  These funds shall be included in the yearly appropriations of the Philippine government budget.
  2. Contraceptives produced in the country are subject to 50% production tax.  Contraceptives sold in the country are subject to 50% sales tax.
  3. Contraceptives that do not require surgery or taking in of chemicals can be purchased over-the-counter in pharmacies, e.g. condoms.  Contraceptives that require the absorption of chemicals in a man’s or woman’s body can only be bought through doctor’s prescription.  Contraceptives that require surgery shall be considered contraband goods.
  4. Ligation in men and women as a form of contraception shall not be allowed.  Doctors and nurses who took part in  these surgeries shall have their medical licenses revoked for three (3) years.
  5. The Department of Health shall provide a list of chemical contraceptives that are abortifacients.  The importation, manufacture, and sale of these contraceptives shall be prohibited and these contraceptives shall be considered contraband goods.
  6. Willful termination of a normal pregnancy (abortion) is a criminal offense.  The doctor or nurse who took part in these surgeries shall be tried in a criminal court.
  7. Fertility treatments which require fertilization outside the woman’s womb shall not be allowed in the country.  Doctors and nurses who took part in these treatments shall have their medical licenses revoked for three years.
  8. Contraceptives shall not be classified as essential medicines and their purchase shall not be covered by PhilHealth.  No government fund must be used for the purchase of contraceptives or for the promotion of their use.  Government funds shall only be used by DOH for Natural Family Planning and other Maternal Health Programs.
  9. Hospitals shall be required to have pregnancy crisis centers for counselling women who are thinking of aborting their child due to rape, incest, abandonment, etc.  These centers will be staffed by DOH and DSWD personnel or DOH and DSWD-accredited personnel.  They shall also be funded by donors from the private sector and NGO’s.  The purpose of these centers is to convince the women to let their baby live, and give it up for adoption at least.  The women shall be shown the ultrasound–in 4G if possible–what their baby looks like in the womb–pointing out the head, the arms, the feet, fingers, and toes.  Once the baby is delivered, the mother of the baby may decide to keep the baby or give him up for adoption.
  10. The DOH and DSWD shall publish a joint list of accredited pregnancy crisis centers and child adoption centers.  This list shall be made available to all hospitals.
Section 6.  Marriage and Sex Education
  1. All couples who wish to get married must attend lectures on possible sources of conflicts in marriage and how to resolve them to make marriage and family life wonderful.  The Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) shall conduct these lectures at least once a year.  The DSWS can also accredit centers who shall do these lectures.
  2. The couples who wish to get married must also take lectures on natural family planning, fetal development, breastfeeding, and child development.  The Department of Health (DOH) shall conduct these lectures once a year.  The DOH can also accredit centers who shall do these lectures.
  3.  Sex education in elementary and high schools is only limited to that body’s fertility cycle, sexual reproduction, and child development as taught in Biology.  The harmful effects of chemical contraceptives may also be taught.  The use of condoms should not be taught in elementary and high school.
  4. Values formation classes should stress the dignity of marriage, the gift of a child, and social responsibility.  These classes should discuss the problems  resulting from the contraceptive mentality such as pre-marital sex, adultery, and divorce, and abortion.  These classes should discuss how these things destroy family and society.  The Department of Education shall review the existing curriculum on values education and incorporate these topics if these were not included before.
Section 7.  Maternal Health
  1. Couples may use PhilHealth for the ultrasound imaging of a developing fetus in his mother’s womb, provided that such a procedure is prescribed by a doctor.
  2. The benefits of paternity and maternity shall be availed by the couples as stipulated in the existing laws.
  3. The delivery efficiency of midwives shall be labeled in their DOH certified identification card.  The delivery efficiency is the ratio of two numbers: total live births delivered divided by total births delivered, computed since the start of her career.  Both the fraction and percent efficiency should be displayed.  Midwives with the highest yearly number of live births  assisted with 100% delivery efficiency shall be given an award by the provincial DOH at least Php 10,000 in cash and a plaque of appreciation.
  4. All midwives, nurses, and doctors who have assisted delivery cases wherein the infant or the mother died or both shall inform the DOH.  A  DOH personnel shall interview the medical practitioners involved on the sequence of events and the possible causes of death.  These interviews shall be recorded in text, audio, or video.  The transcribed interviews shall be sent to provincial DOH centers for making a yearly report.  From this data, midwifery practices that are shown to correspond higher incidence of infant and maternal deaths shall be eliminated or modified.  DOH shall then issue revised protocols on child delivery and maternal health.
  5. All hospitals in a province are required to submit to provincial DOH centers the statistics on infant and maternal mortality, starting from the child is in the womb until the child is released from the hospital.
  6. At the end of each year, the provincial DOH centers shall make a summary report of the child mortality per hospital and and health center.
  7. Doctors, nurses, and midwives must see to it that the newborn child is breastfed by the mother.
  8. Hospitals should only display the benefits of breastmilk in posters.    Dairy products should not be prominently advertised in hospitals as breast-milk substitutes.  Purchase of breastmilk substitutes require a doctor’s prescription.
  9. Malls must have designated breastfeeding stations where a mother can breastfeed her child in private.  These stations should be clearly marked and its location should be available in the information booth and the mall map.  Mall owners shall be given a year to comply to this requirement.  Malls that fail to comply shall have their business permit revoked .
Section 8. Separability Clause, Repealing Clause, and Effectivity
  1. Separability Clause.  If any part of this act is considered invalid or unconstitutional, other provisions not affected thereby shall remain in force and effect.
  2. Repealing Clause.  All other laws, decrees, ordinances, rules and regulations which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed, amended, or modified accordingly.
  3. Effectivity.  This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

Overpopulation, hunger, and the Reproductive Health Bill

Submitted on 2011/05/13 at 12:33 pm | In reply to benjie.

Benjie,

1. Primary duty of the Church is to proclaim the Gospel and not feed the hungry.

I am glad that INC and Protestants became pro-RH bill. And only the Catholic Church is against the bill. Jesus asks: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Using artificial contraception is a question of faith, and the Catholic Church shall fight the RH bill because it goes against the Faith handed on by Christ to his apostles and the bishops who succeeded them. The salvation of souls is at stake. Amado thinks that the primary duty of the Church is to help the government feed the starving Filipinos. The Church has this duty to feed the hungry as a corporal work of mercy, but Her primary duty is what was commissioned by Christ to his apostles: “Go, therefore, 12 and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19). It is not the Church’s primary duty to turn stones into bread, for Christ said: “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4)

2. Contraception and Marriage

Where in the Bible is does God command to use artificial contraception like condoms and pills? In marriage, God has united the husband and wife into one flesh. And what God has put together, let no man put asunder (c.f. Mk 10:9). God has united the begetting of children with the sexual act. Thus, man must not separate this union by force through condoms, pills, artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilization. As the Catechism says:

2369 “By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man’s exalted vocation to parenthood.”157

2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:159

2376 Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child’s right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses’ “right to become a father and a mother only through each other.”167

2377 Techniques involving only the married couple (homologous artificial insemination and fertilization) are perhaps less reprehensible, yet remain morally unacceptable. They dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that “entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Such a relationship of domination is in itself contrary to the dignity and equality that must be common to parents and children.”168 “Under the moral aspect procreation is deprived of its proper perfection when it is not willed as the fruit of the conjugal act, that is to say, of the specific act of the spouses’ union . . . . Only respect for the link between the meanings of the conjugal act and respect for the unity of the human being make possible procreation in conformity with the dignity of the person.”169

2372 The state has a responsibility for its citizens’ well-being. In this capacity it is legitimate for it to intervene to orient the demography of the population. This can be done by means of objective and respectful information, but certainly not by authoritarian, coercive measures. The state may not legitimately usurp the initiative of spouses, who have the primary responsibility for the procreation and education of their children.162 In this area, it is not authorized to employ means contrary to the moral law.

3. Is having many children bad?

Where in the Bible does it say that having many children is bad? This is what the Bible says:

“God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.” (Gn 1:27-28)

“When you hearken to the voice of the LORD, your God, all these blessings will come upon you and overwhelm you: 3″May you be blessed in the city, and blessed in the country! 4″Blessed be the fruit of your womb, the produce of your soil and the offspring of your livestock, the issue of your herds and the young of your flocks!5 “Blessed be your grain bin and your kneading bowl!… The LORD will increase in more than goodly measure the fruit of your womb, the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your soil, in the land which he swore to your fathers he would give you.12 The LORD will open up for you his rich treasure house of the heavens, to give your land rain in due season, blessing all your undertakings, so that you will lend to many nations and borrow from none. (Dt 28:11-12)

The solution to the problem of hunger is not to curb population through RH Bill but to obey God’s Word. As Christ said:

“So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’32 All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.33 But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, 19 and all these things will be given you besides.

Translation of Homily of Cardinal Rosales in the March 25 Pro-Life rally against the Reproductive Health Bill

Here is the full text of the homily of Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales which he preached at the Quirino Grandstand, during the Mass for the Feast of the Annunciation and the Pro-Life Rally against the RH Bill. The original text is in Filipino courtesy of Pinoy Catholic. Below is my English translation:

Feast of the Annunciation Pro-Life Rally vs. Reproductive Health Bill
by Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales

25 March 2011

Cardinal Rosales in 2011 March 25 Reproductive Health Bill Rally

Cardinal Rosales in 2011 March 25 Reproductive Health Bill Rally

The Lord God spoke to Moses and those who believe in Him the following words: “I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.” (Dt 30:19)

Let us start our reflection on the principle that life is the greatest gift given by our Lord God to anyone.  This is the fundamental belief and teaching of the Catholic Church that human life, though weak or suffering, remains the greatest gift of God’s goodness (Familaris Consortio, n. 30).

If you do not give value this life in any way or at any point in man’s life (baby, fetus, old age, strong or weak), any man’s life will not be respected–and here if life has no more value or is not given value, there is no one who shall defend it, human life will be cheated, dominated, kidnapped, perjured, and robbed.

That is why how beautiful is the Church’s teaching–take care, defend, and promote life.  Do not put barriers to life through any surgery or artificial contraception.  To debase this human life, whether strong or weak, that we always value is against the Filipino culture’s view on human life (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 January 2011).

Poverty or overpopulation has real solution and the answer to this is also taught by our Lord Jesus Christ.  First, the world’s wealth or the product of man’s labor is enough or more than enough for all.  “Love one another” and be compassionate with each other in the name of love.  Second, there are natural ways designed by God in the human body that must be known or studied in order  to identify the days when sexual intercourse would lead to new human life.  In each sexual intercourse, the married couple cooperates with God in the creation of new human life. (Humanae Vitae, n. 11)

Married life is holy, and because it is holy, God provides joy and happiness in each marital intercourse, because they shall spend their whole life rearing their children to good values, a holy life where there is compassion and respect to others until old age.

There is a natural way to prepare for that important life.  And that is called NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING.  And this is given by God naturally to each man, male or female.  The Almighty God knows that the days are coming when we must strive to study and responsibly undertake the noble preparation for such life.  That is why God naturally placed in man’s body–male or female–the right and sure way and times when the the woman is fertile and ready to give birth to a new human life, which is created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27)

In studying the ways to determine these special days when the woman is fertile, anyone can use these information in order to know when not to engage in sexual intercourse.  This is man’s sacrifice.  There are times that discipline is needed.  If there is discipline in bed, then surely there will be discipline in the streets, in the wallet (credit cards).  Here we shall appreciate the “values” that are taught by the Church.

My brothers and sisters, the labor of a married couple is holy, that is why God blesses them with joy and happiness not only in the sexual intercourse, but also in the rearing of their children to good manners and right conduct, and help them grow in holiness.  In this endeavor, God is with the married couple.  And God never abandons a faithful couple.

Married life is holy; sexual intercourse is holy because this is part of giving forth a new life that is from God.  This is not a toy that must be taught to children how to use rubber condoms, in order to prevent the spread of disease?  Why are children taught these kinds of plays?  Is it not what should be taught to children are the good examples of the elders and the importance of life, the holiness in restraining oneself that is called discipline?  Before it was taught that if there is self restraint, there is discipline, respect, and human character.  Now what we now wish to teach our young is this: use the condom, and play!  That is how cheap human life is now.

It is a good thing there is still the Church and there is still the Faith that reminds us (even though there are some lawmakers or elders that have morally depraved minds, who are incapable of teaching the good values and laws that would bring back the slowly vanishing and weakening of the beautiful gem that is our Filipino civilization.

At why should the young be taught elders and lawmakers on how to escape from responsibility, without regard to reason and purity.  (They say that it is in the name of cleanliness and health).  False reasons are what few lawmakers want to teach to our young–that is what will be the future of the Philippines–a nation of false reasons, all knowing only how to bribe.  There is a danger that we are losing the Christian and Filipino values.  What should be taught to the young are purity of the soul, purity of the heart, discipline, self-restraint, and respect for other people’s money.

What kind of proposed law is this RH Bill which when becomes a law, if the Church and its ministers teach or explain things based from the Bible, Faith, and conscience of each Christian on Life and Purity, which are contrary to the RH Bill, shall be asked fined or jailed.  Shall all who follow their conscience and Faith be punished?  This is not the Philippines.  Let us not anymore mention any country, but this is not the Philippines that was loved at offered with the lives of our heroes, three of the ten priests–Padre Mariano Gomez, Padre Jose Burgos, and Padre Jacinto Zamora.  In El Filibusterismo, the first page is offered by Jose Rizal  to these three priests.  (And what others wish to remember is DAMASO who is not even a Filipino!)

This is what the Church stands for:

  1. The compassion for the poor multitude, especially those women who suffer and strive to make their lives better and those who go abroad to achieve it or enter into indecent work.  The Church deeply feels for them.
  2. The Catholic Church is for life and human life must be defended from conception to its natural end.
  3. The Church believes in responsible parenthood though Natural Family Planning.  Here what is needed is strong character that requires sacrifice, discipline, and respect for the dignity of marriage.  Without sacrifice, there is no character.
  4. All men are just caretakers of their bodies.  Our responsibility to our bodies must follow the will of God who speaks to us through our conscience.  If we do not heed God’s voice in our conscience, it is not the mountains the seas will be shaken but own conscience.
  5. We believe that in our choice regarding the RH Bill, our conscience is a sure guide which must be guided by one’s Faith.
  6. We believe that freedom of religion and the right not to do things contrary to the dictates of our conscience.  The penalties and punishments stipulated in the proposed RH Bill is the reason for our disapproval of the Bill. (Pastoral Letter, CBCP, 30 Jan 2011).

There is still time to avoid the moral tragedy that would be caused by the RH Bill.

Change that bill, or repudiate it entirely which is the nesting place for irreverence for life, loss of responsibility and discipline which is what is truly needed by our people and nation.

If the children can still be taught by the Church, we also remind our lawmakers.  All of you, today and tomorrow, are part of our prayers.

May God bless you and this Nation of God.  We are all loved by God and cared for by the Mother of Jesus!

+Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales
Prayer Rally
Feast of the Annunciation
25 March 2011

Ang Kapatiran Party: Position Paper on the Reproductive Health Bill

Source: Phnix

Introduction

The Ang Kapatiran Party, a registered national political party, is releasing this Position Paper which summarizes a number of objections to the proposed “reproductive health” (RH) bills that are currently pending in Congress.

To date, a number of have been filed at the House of Representatives. These include House Bill 96, known as the “Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2010,” filed by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman. This new bill is a rewritten version of the draconian HB 5043, which did not pass in the last Congress despite the underhanded and deceptive tactics of its authors and foreign-funded proponents.

Other bills on “reproductive health” filed in the 15th Congress include HB101 by Rep Janette Garin of Iloilo, HB513 by Rep. Bag-Ao of the AKBAYAN Party-List, and HB1160 by Rep. Rodolfo Biazon of Muntinlupa. These bills may be consolidated into one much like HB5043 in the 14th Congress.

The points covered in this paper are based on scientific evidence and legal arguments acceptable by persons from any religion. They do not, however, include all the many moral and religious arguments which could still be made against the proposed RH bills.

The so-called reproductive health agenda is essentially repackaged population control and are a step in the direction of legalized abortion. Indeed, as this paper will show, the many RH bills in the past and present explicitly fund abortifacient contraceptives. They also have provisions that are undemocratic and violate the human and civil rights of Filipinos. As a pro-life, pro-family, and pro-God organization, the Ang Kapatiran Party rejects the radical RH agenda as well as the bills that promote it. The party calls on all Filipinos to defend the sanctity of life, their rights, and our democracy by likewise rejecting the bill and to openly express their opposition to the radical RH agenda.

This paper was originally released in August 2010. This latest revision (version 06) is was released in November 2010.

Objections to the proposed reproductive health bills

1 The bills fund abortifacient contraceptives and are thus
unconstitutional.

The bills explicitly fund the procurement and distribution of abortifacient contraceptives such as oral contraceptives, other hormonal contraceptives, and the IUD. Section 9 of the proposed HB 96, for example, classifies hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and injectables as “essential medicines,” includes them as part of the National Drug Formulary, and subsidizes their procurement.

Such contraceptives, however, have been shown to cause early-term abortions by preventing the implantation and development of the fertilized egg – which is already a newly-conceived human being
– in the womb.

One such study, “Postfertilization Effects of Oral Contraceptives and Their Relationship to Informed Consent,” came to the following conclusion:

“It seems likely that for perfect use of COCs, postfertilization mechanisms would be likely to have a small but not negligible role. For POPs, COCs with lower doses of estrogen, and imperfect use of any OCs, postfertilization effects are likely to have an increased role. In any case, the medical literature does not support the hypothesis that postfertilization effects of OCs do not exist.”1

Scientific studies show that IUDs are also abortifacient. Stanford and Mikolajczyk found that, “both prefertilization and postfertilization mechanisms of action contribute significantly to the effectiveness
of all types of intrauterine devices.”2CVS/Pharmacy (http://www.cvs.com), described the functions of IUDs in the following manner:

“IUDs are thought to prevent pregnancy by making the womb ‘unfriendly’ to sperm and eggs. Sperm is either killed, or kept from reaching and fertilizing an egg. An IUD also may keep a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb and growing into a baby.”3

The promotion and use of abortifacients is clearly against Article 2, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution which protects the unborn from conception which begins at fertilization (the union of sperm and egg). It states:

“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. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the supportof the Government.”

An abortifacient, however, causes the eventual destruction of the fertilized egg — of newly-conceived life. The RH bill, as stated earlier, promotes and funds such abortifacients. It therefore violates the Philippine Constitution.

Furthermore, the Filipino Family Survey (2009), conducted in December 2009 by the HB&A-ARO Research Group, found that 91% of Metro Manila residents agree that human and animal life start upon conception (when the sperm joins the egg), 98% would not ever consider aborting their unborn child still forming in the womb even if the pregnancy is unplanned, and 98% would not consider or condone aborting a baby even within the first three months. Of those aware of the pro-life provisions of Article 2, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution, 87% agree with it.4

It may be argued that the abortifacient mechanism of some oral contraceptives has not been conclusively proven to occur in human beings, or that if it does occur then this occurrence is very rare. To the first argument we would reply that even if there really were any doubt that a contraceptive is abortifacient, the grave stakes involved (the death of a human being) means that the burden of proof is on those who would deny that these are abortifacients. In other words, they must prove that these contraceptives are in fact non-abortifacient. Until such a conclusive determination is achieved we must err on the side of caution and not place the lives of the unborn at risk.

To the second argument we reply that there is no medical necessity to birth control that justifies such a risk to the unborn child. Artificial methods of birth control are not necessary to preserve health; they are not therapeutic and pregnancy is not a disease. We also note that the imperative to avoid the questionable methods promoted by the RH bill becomes especially more compelling since there is a safe, modern, and effective alternative: Natural Family Planning.

2 Filipinos do not want an RH law.

The Filipino Family Survey mentioned earlier revealed that 92% of Metro Manila residents are against the passage of the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill once they know and understand its provisions. It was conducted from December 2-9, 2009, was conducted by HB&A International Research using the experienced field personnel of the Asian Research Organization (ARO), the Philippine affiliate of Gallup International. The poll has called into question claims of wide public support for the proposed measure made by its authors and supporters.

The claims of widespread support for a reproductive health law are also highly questionable as they are based on misleading surveys. Previous surveys by the pro-RH SWS asked questions such as whether the respondents favored family planning or believed in proper sex education, both of which are measures that even opponents of the bill, such as the Catholic Church, already support. Most respondents were almost totally unaware of the provisions of the bill in question. Former Congressman Leonie Montemayor of the Alyansang Bayanihan ng mga Magsasaka, Manggagawang-Bukid at Mangingisda (ABA) noted that, “Earlier surveys were couched in very general terms and without first ensuring that the respondents had read or understood the contents [of the RH Bill].”

RH proponent and SWS president, Mahar Mangahas, acknowledged in his column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the previous SWS surveys made no mention of the penal provisions of the previous RH Bill (and which are still in HB 96).5 These include Section 21 of the RH bill which forces doctors and health workers to distribute abortifacient and artificial contraceptives against their conscience. If they object, the provision requires them to refer those who request for such contraceptives to other persons who will do the same objectionable act. Those who refuse to do so face heavy fines and imprisonment.

Critics of the bill, however, point out that these are some of its most controversial aspects, and that even erstwhile supporters of the general purposes of the bill have expressed objections to these penal provisions. Former finance secretary Roberto de Ocampo, for example wrote the following in the Philippine Daily Inquirer:

“…the present draft bill contains punitive provisions that are tantamount to an affront to civil liberties and smack of religious persecution. Just read the section mandating private sector employees and private health practitioners to actively promote artificial birth control methods and distribute devices whether or not their conscience and religious convictions agree with the practice. Combine that with the section imposing penalties of imprisonment or fines or both if they don’t follow or are deemed guilty of “perceived violations” and tell me that the bill does not encroach on basic civil rights. Tell me that the bill does not unfairly force a person into a moral dilemma, a State-induced struggle of conscience. This is not education, it’s coercion. This is not choice, it’s threat.”6

3 Contraceptives often do not prevent unplanned pregnancy and may actually increase them.

Numerous studies have shown that the increased availability and usage of contraceptives does not necessarily reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortion. In fact, contraceptives often increase them. For example, in the United States, 89% of sexually active women of reproductive age “at risk” of becoming pregnant use contraception, and 98% have used it in their lifetime, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute.7 In addition, with typical use, 9% of women using oral contraceptives (OC) will become pregnant within one year,8 as will 15% of women whose partners use condoms.9 Forty-eight percent of women with unintended pregnancies were using contraception in the month they became pregnant.10

Other studies show that greater access to contraception does not reduce unintended pregnancy. These include:

  • Peter Arcidiacono (2005) found that among teens, “increasing access to contraception may actually increase long run pregnancy rates even though short run pregnancy rates fall. On the other hand, policies that decrease access to contraception, and hence sexual activity, are likely to lower pregnancy rates in the long run.”11
  • David Paton (2002) in a study of 16 regions of the U.K. over a 14-year period, found no increase in pregnancies or abortions in underage English girls despite reduced access to contraception, and no decrease in underage pregnancies or abortions overall from greater access to contraception. He found “no evidence” that “the provision of family planning reduces either underage conception or abortion rates.”12
  • Lawrence Finer (2007) in “Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954-2003,” found that the increase in premarital sex amongst a group of teens turning 15 during the years 1964-1973 “may be partly due to increased availability of effective contraception (in particular, the pill), which made it less likely that sex would lead to pregnancy.”13
  • Douglas Kirby (1999) concluded: “Most studies that have been conducted during the past 20 years have indicated that improving access to contraception did not significantly increase contraceptive use or decrease teen pregnancy.”14
  • Akerlof, Yellen, and Katz (1996) argue that a phenomenon they call “reproductive technology shock,” caused by contraception, birth control, and legal abortion, changed the relationships between men and women, and led to an increase in out-of-wedlock births. Women that did not resort to these methods were at a disadvantage and biological fathers increasingly rejected the idea of paternal obligation.15

4 Since contraceptives will not reduce unplanned pregnancy, they will not reduce abortion rates either and may increase them.

As shown in the previous section, contraceptive usage can actually increase the incidence of unplanned pregnancy, and consequently, demand for abortion. In addition, studies in democratic countries that do not have historically very high abortion rates and where fertility is healthy or still dropping – exactly the situation in the Philippines – reveal that contraception does not necessarily lower abortion rates.

The Guttmacher Institute notes that in the United States, 54% of women seeking abortions were using contraception in the month they became pregnant.16 In Sweden, K. Edgardh found that despite free abortions, free contraceptive counseling, low cost condoms and oral contraceptives, and over-thecounter emergency contraception (EC), Swedish teen abortion rates rose to 22.5 per thousand from 17 per thousand between 1995 and 2001.17
Pro-RH groups have often cited studies that they claim prove that contraception will lower abortion rates. But much of this data is from countries that had abnormally high abortion rates to begin with, or countries that have very low, constant fertility. These conditions do not exist in the Philippines The republics of the former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation are examples of countries that have historically very high abortion rates as a result of abortion being used as a birth control method, as well as government coercion or encouragement to abort.

The Guttmacher Institute’s own study in 2003 showed simultaneous increases both abortion rates and contraceptive use in the United States, Cuba, Denmark, Netherlands, Singapore, and South Korea. The study also claimed, however, that abortion rates went down after fertility on some of those countries had reached very low levels and became constant, particularly in South Korea. Critics note, however, that In the United States, lowered abortion rates were also due to state laws restricting access to abortion.

Michael New Ph.D., (Feb. 2007), for example, found that pro-life legislation such as laws requiring parental involvement in the abortion decision, requiring informed consent, imposing Medicaid funding restrictions, and banning partial-birth abortion, reduces minors’ abortion rates. Parental involvement

state laws resulted in a 30.5% decline, and Medicaid funding restrictions which result in a 23% decline.18 In an earlier (2006) study, Dr. New also found that after states passed and enforced parental involvement laws, abortion rates among minors were reduced. When these laws were repealed,
abortion rates rose, and dropped again when new parental involvement laws were again passed and enforced.19

5 The contraceptive approach does not address the causes of maternal deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth.

The contraceptive approach taken by the HB 96 (and in its previous versions) treats pregnancy as if it were a disease, and seeks to reduce maternal mortality simply by reducing childbirth. Instead of providing urgently needed health care, the approach mainly provides condoms and abortifacient contraceptives, and therefore ignores the real causes of maternal death while attacking a non-problem. It will only succeed in diverting scarce resources away from more urgent problems while encouraging even more promiscuity and – as people experience even more contraceptive failures – eventually greater demand for abortion.
Instead of providing contraceptives, with all their attendant health risks and costs, maternal deaths related to childbirth can be reduced by increasing access to health facilities and skilled birth attendants.

According to the National Demographic and Health Survey 2008, only 44 percent of births occur in health facilities and only 62% of births are assisted by a health professional.20

Instead of wasting scarce funds on contraceptives the government should increase access to basic health facilities and trained birth attendants. These measures will do more to lower maternal deaths than contraceptives.

Former senator Kit Tatad expressed the same idea in his article, “Revised: The Truth and Half-Truths About Reproductive Health,” notes that “…experience has shown (as in Gattaran, Cagayan and Sorsogon, Sorsogon) that the incidence of maternal death arising from such complications could be fully mitigated and brought down to zero simply by providing adequate basic and emergency obstetrics care and skilled medical personnel and services.”21

The Philippines has to deal with many other true killer diseases such as heart and vascular diseases, pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer, and diabetes. The government does not provide free medicines and medical treatment for these because it cannot afford to do so. Why then should it waste money on contraceptives which do not treat any real disease? Pregnancy is not a disease.

6 The contraceptive approach does not address the real causes of
infant mortality
If we accept the assertion that infants and children have a greater probability of dying if they are born to mothers who are too young or too old, if they are born after a short birth interval, or if they are of high birth order.

Contraceptive methods, however, introduce other adverse medical side-effects. This is unnecessary since modern natural Family Planning methods are completely safe and can be easily used to effect birth spacing and avoid early or late pregnancies. Infant mortality cab also be significantly reduced using the same means as reducing maternal mortality, namely increasing access to health facilities and skilled health attendants.

7 The bills will exacerbate the suffering of rape victims by encouraging them to commit the crime of abortion using abortifacients.

Rape is a terrible ordeal and victims compassion, justice, and assistance. Many women who become pregnant often resort to abortion, compounding their suffering with the additional burden of guilt that comes with murdering their own children. The RH bill’s proposed solution, however, making available so-called “emergency contraception,” or EC, is also a form of abortion, and does not address the root causes of rape.

Many of the bill’s proponents will often cite the WHO, saying that EC do not interrupt pregnancy and are therefore not a method of abortion. But this is clever semantics, since the WHO has redefined pregnancy as beginning when the fertilized egg has implanted in the uterus. This definition is entirely different from the concept used by the Philippine Constitution, which mandates that the unborn be protected from conception. Medical science is also nearly unanimous in defining conception as beginning at fertilization, not at implantation.

Furthermore, studies have shown that increased access to EC does not reduce unintended pregnancies or abortions. An analysis by Raymond, Trussell and Polis of 23 studies published between 1998 and 2006 measured the effect of increased access to EC on its actual use, unintended pregnancy, and abortion. None of the 23 found a reduction in unintended pregnancies or abortions following increased access to EC.22 The study also found:

  • Sixteen months after 18,000 sexually active women in a health district in Scotland were each given five packets of EC, researchers concluded: “No effect on abortion rates was demonstrated with advance provision of EC. The results of this study suggest that wide-spread distribution of advanced supplies of EC through health services may not be an effective way to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy in the UK.”23
  • In a San Francisco Bay area study of over 2,000 women randomly assigned to three groups each with varying access to EC, 7-8% of women in each group were pregnant in only six months. Over 80% of the women were also using another form of contraception. The study concluded: “We did not observe a difference in pregnancy rates in women with either pharmacy access or advance provision [of EC]; … Previous studies also failed to show significant differences in pregnancy or abortion rates among women with advance provisions of EC.”24
  • “Another commonly held view for which there is no documented evidence is that improving knowledge about and access to Emergency Contraception will reduce the number of teenage pregnancies. … Experience of use so far does not give any evidence of effectiveness. Prescribing rates of the morning-after pill have multiplied steadily in Scotland while there has been no observed decline in the rate of teenage pregnancies or abortions.”25
  • “Despite the fact that emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) have become easily available across the country during recent years, abortion numbers continue to rise in Sweden, especially in the young age groups (<25).”26
  • Pharmacies were allowed to dispense EC without a prescription from February 1998 to June 1999 through the Washington State Pilot Project. Pregnancy and abortion rates in Washington state initially dropped and then increased slightly the following year. Between 1996 and 2000, however, the decline in Washington state (at 3%) was actually smaller than the decline in the abortion rate nationally (which was 5%).27

8 Contraceptives will not decrease the incidence of STDs and may
actually increase it
A number of studies have linked increased access to contraceptives to an increase in STDs. These include:

  • Tyden’s study in Sweden also found that between 1995 and 2001, Chlamydia infections rose 50% overall in Sweden and 60% among the young.28
  • In a 2003 study, David Paton found that between 1999 and 2001, with improved access to family planning clinics in the United Kingdom (teen visits rose over 23%), the number of sexually active teens rose almost 20%, and STD rates rose 15.8%.29
  • A. Williams noted that “In Scotland there has been a doubling of the rates of Herpes and [Gonorrhea] and a four-fold increase in Chlamydia in the past ten years (1993-2003),” despite a three-fold increase in the use of EC and greatly increased access to contraception.30

9 Condom programs will not lower the incidence in AIDS/HIV cases and may in fact increase it

In 2004, Dr. Rene Josef Bullecer, Director of AIDS-Free Philippines and Executive Director of Human Life International (HLI) Visayas-Mindanao, observed that:

“The discrepancy in the infection rates between the two countries, Thailand with severe condom- oriented programs and the Philippines without, has continued and only grown wider. As of August 2003 there were 899,000 HIV/AIDS cases documented in Thailand and approximately 125,000 deaths attributed to the disease. These numbers are many times those projected by the WHO (60,000-80,000 cases) in 1991. These numbers contrast sharply with those of the Philippines where, as of September 30, 2003, there were 1,946 AIDS cases resulting in 260 deaths. This is only a mere fraction of the number of cases (80,000-90,000) that the WHO projected would be reached by 2000.”31

The huge discrepancy continues, with Thailand having 610,000 [low estimate: 410 000; high estimate: 880,000] people living with HIV and death according to the UNAIDS/WHO. In contrast, the Philippines has only 8,300 [low: 6,000; high: 11,000] persons living with HIV. The numbers are even
more striking considering that the Philippines has a much larger population than Thailand.32
There is also more evidence from other countries that questions the effectiveness of condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS. A study in Uganda by Kajubi et al. (2005) concluded that condoms were not effective at lowering HIV infections: “In this study, gains in condom use seem to have been offset by increases in the number of sex partners. Prevention interventions in generalized epidemics need to promote all aspects of sexual risk reduction to slow HIV transmission.”33
Dr Edward Green of the Harvard AIDS Prevention Research Project, in his book Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries, contested the efficacy of condoms and HIV counseling and testing, the preferred prevention strategies of Western donor nations and the U.N.
Green said:

“The largely medical solutions funded by major donors have had little impact in Africa, the continent hardest hit by AIDS. Instead, relatively simple, low-cost behavioral change programs–stressing increased monogamy and delayed sexual activity for young people–have made the greatest headway in fighting or preventing the disease’s spread. Ugandans pioneered these simple, sustainable interventions and achieved significant results.”34

Tim Allen and Suzette Heald, in a comparison of AIDS policy in Uganda and Botswana, also noted:

“Promotion of condoms at an early stage proved to be counter-productive in Botswana, whereas the lack of condom promotion during the 1980s and early 1990s contributed to the relative
success of behaviour change strategies in Uganda.”35

10 The RH bills are based on an erroneous analysis of population and family size as related to poverty

Although no longer as heavily emphasized by their authors and proponents, the RH bills seek to address poverty though population control, assuming that poverty is caused by a large, growing population and large family size. The scientific evidence, however, shows otherwise.

Dr. Roberto de Vera, writing in a primer on the RH bill, noted that, “Population growth has little or no direct effect on per capita GDP growth. Thus there is no basis for a policy that aims to reduce population growth to raise per capita GDP growth.”36 He then cited several studies to support his
assertion:
Nobel prize winner Simon Kuznets’s pioneering study contained in his 1966 book Modern Economic Growth: Rate, Structure and Spread (pp. 67-68) showed that “[n]o clear association appears to exist in the present sample of countries, or is likely to exist in other developed countries, between rates of growth of population and of product per capita.”
Other studies have confirmed Kuznets’s findings, showing no clear link between population growth and economic growth (or poverty). Here are the findings for five studies:

  1. the 1992 Ross Levine and David Renelt study of the relationship between growth and its determinants found no significant effect of population growth on economic growth;
  2. the 1994 Jeff King and Lant Pritchett study arrived at a similar finding where they allowed the effect of population on economic growth to vary according to the level of development and resource scarcity;
  3. in a 1996 review of the population-growth-poverty relationship, Dennis Ahlburg points out that studies have shown population growth has little or no effect on poverty;
  4. in a 2004 study examining the determinants of long-term growth, Gernot Dopelhoffer, Ronald Miller, and Xavier Sala-I-Martin, found that average annual population growth from 1960-1990 was not robustly correlated with economic growth;
  5. the 2007 Eric Hanushek and Ludger Wommann study found that total fertility rates, which can be seen as an alternative measure of population growth, did not have a statistically significant association with population growth.

Similar conclusions have been arrived at by the US National Research Council in 1986 and in the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Consultative Meeting of Economists in 1992.37 In the same primer, Dr. de Vera also explained that, “Large families are poor not because they are large but because most of the heads of these poor families have limited schooling which prevents them from getting good paying jobs. Moreover, a 1994 study shows that parents of poor families want the children they beget. These findings show that there is no basis for having a population management policy that raises economic growth to reduce poverty.38
In any case, it is apparent that fertility in the Philippines is fast declining and will soon be below replacement level even without population control measures. This was the conclusion of Fr. Gregory Gaston. formerly of the Pontifical Council for the Family at the Vatican, who wrote the following in an
article published in 2007:

“The UN Population Division figures indicate that it is not an exaggeration to say that as early as now the Philippine Total Fertility Rate [children per woman] is already dangerously low. Whereas in the early 1970’s the average Filipina had six children, today she has around three, and in another 20 years, only two. Shortly after 2020, or just fifteen years from now, the
Philippine TFR will sink below its replacement level of around 2.29.”39

11 HB 96 is unduly coercive and violates freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religion

Section 22 (e) of the proposed bill HB 96, for example, lists the following as a prohibited act: “Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.” This provision is overly broad and “disinformation” could (and most probably will) be construed as prohibiting the expression of objections to the Bill, such as what we are presently doing. This provision is is obviously going to be used to suppress dissent, and is an undue restriction of freedom of speech. It has no place in any of the laws of a democratic nation.
Section 22, number 3, requires doctors and health workers to provide “health care services,” but since the bill classifies abortifacient contraceptives and other artificial contraceptive devices and methods as essential medicines, these are presumably included. If they refuse to do so on religious grounds, they must still refer those who want to use such devices or methods to another person who will dispense them. Conscientious objectors are thereby required to cooperate in such acts, and if they refuse, they are slapped penalties ranging from one to six months imprisonment and a fine of P10,000-P50,000, as specified in Section 23 of the proposed bill. HB 96 eliminates any choice for conscientious objectors and makes no room for their legitimate concerns.
Section 18, on the other hand, mandates that employers must provide family planning services (or information on where to obtain these), presumably including abortifacient contraceptives, to their employees. Employers, therefore, are not given any choice despite the fact that distribution of these
abortifacients and contraceptives may be against their conscience.

12 Value-neutral sex education involving contraceptives will not reduce unplanned pregnancies or encourage responsible sexual behavior.

The various versions of the RH bills mandate several years of mandatory, “age-appropriate” sex education for young children. The training these children will receives will include family planning methods (including contraceptives), population and development, and children’s and women’s rights.
As harmless as these topics may sound, they are actually dangerous and counterproductive. The topic on family planning methods, for example, will include explicit training in the use of contraceptives as these are defined as being family planning methods. Many studies have shown that so-called comprehensive sex education programs that involves training in the use of contraceptives are ineffective in reducing unplanned pregnancies or irresponsible sexual behavior. In fact, such programs often increase the incidence of both.
In 2009, Meg Wiggins et al., published research evaluating the effectiveness of the U.K.’s Young People’s Development Programme (YPDP) in reducing teenage pregnancy, substance use, and other outcomes. The program involved giving teenagers sex education and advice about contraception. Of those in the program, 16 percent became pregnant, compared with just 6 percent in a comparison group. The study concluded that: No evidence was found that the intervention was effective in delaying heterosexual experience
or reducing pregnancies, drunkenness, or cannabis use. Some results suggested an adverse effect. Although methodological limitations may at least partly explain these findings, any further implementation of such interventions in the UK should be only within randomised
trials.40
To be sure, the bills that have been filed at the Philippine Congress also include values formation, sexual abstinence, and proscription and hazards of abortion, but studies indicate that if these topics are taught along with contraceptive use and other value-neutral topics, they become ineffective presumably because of the conflicting and confusing value messages that such education transmits to young students.
John B. Jemmott III et al., for example, compared the effectiveness of abstinence-only, safer-sex only, comprehensive sex education, to evaluate the efficacy of an abstinence-only intervention in preventing sexual involvement in young adolescents. The study, involving 682 African-American students in grades 6 and 7, found that students in the abstinence-only intervention had lower sexual activity even over time than those in the control group. The study concluded that, “Theory-based abstinence-only interventions may have an important role in preventing adolescent sexual involvement.”41

Other studies support this conclusion. For example, Stan Weed et al., examined seventh graders in northern Virginia, and found that students who received abstinence education were half as likely as non-participants to initiate sexual activity one year after the program.42

Recommendations
Rejecting the the so-called reproductive health bills is only a part of what must be done to protect and uphold the sanctity of human life. The Ang Kapatiran Party also proposes a number of measures that will promote and protect life, our families, our rights, and improve the quality of life in our nation.

1. Clear and unambiguous legal definition on the beginning of life and punitive provisions to protect the unborn.

Although the Philippine Constitution mandates the protection of the unborn from conception, there is a need for further legislation to fully implement the Constitution’s provisions. To eliminate any possible ambiguity, we recommend laws that explicitly define conception as beginning at fertilization, as well as explicitly define the unborn as legally recognized persons with human rights and dignity. We note that such legislation has already been filed at the 15th Congress in the form of HB 13, the Protection Of The Unborn Child Act Of 2010, by Rep. Roilo Golez of Parañaque City. Its abstract states that the bill, “aims to remedy the oversight in the statutes by recognizing that the unborn has a basic right to life and by extending the mantle of legal recognition and protection to it by defining and clarifying the basic concepts and principle of fetal development.”43
2 Stricter laws against abortions and better enforcement of these laws

Abortion is already a crime in the Philippines, but there is a need to further enhance the penal laws on this matter. We recommend stricter and more comprehensive enforcement of anti-abortion laws and increasing the punishment for abortion one degree higher than at present.

3 Ban on abortifacient contraceptives

Abortifacient contraceptives are already available in the Philippines and may be responsible for thousands of unrecorded deaths of unborn children. We recommend legislation that explicitly bans the sale and use of abortifacient contraceptives, as well as punishes those who engage in the traffic of such
deadly substances and their accomplices.

4 Warning labels on dangerous non-abortifacient contraceptives

There are other non-abortifacient contraceptive methods (such as condoms) that nevertheless pose risks to those who rely on them because they are inherently prone to failure. If these cannot be removed from the market, then they should be required to carry labels warning users of the probability of failure, their unreliability, as well as any other possible side-effects and risks that they may pose to unsuspecting users.

5 Chastity, values, and abstinence education

Many social ills such as unplanned pregnancy, rape and incest are the result of the breakdown of public morals. This situation can be addressed by consistent and integrated education in chastity, moral values, abstinence from sex until marriage, and fidelity in marriage. Such education should be offered not only to students that are ready to receive it but to parents and married couples as well. No one, however, should be forced to receive such education against their conscience or their religious beliefs.

6 Natural Family Planning

There are certain situations where married couples must use family planning. We recommend that the government undertake measures to promote the safest and most effective means to do so, namely modern natural Family Planning (NFP) methods. NFP is the only method that has absolutely no
adverse medical side-effects, is practically 100% effective when used correctly and properly, and doesnot violate moral or religious tenets of the nation’s major religious groups.

About the Ang Kapatiran Party
The Ang Kapatiran Party (AKP) is an accredited national political party that espouses a pro-God, prolife platform as an antidote to the traditional personality-based parties that have dominated and debased Philippine politics for decades.  The party was founded by Reynaldo “Nandy” Pacheco in 2004 and was accredited as a national political by the Commission on Elections that same year. It participated in the 2007 and 2010 elections, fielding candidates for local and national positions.

AKP Media Contacts for this document:

Emmanuel R. Amador
0917-3249276
manny.amador@gmail.com
Ma. Andrea “Baby” Mendigo
0917-8525268
masm912@yahoo.com

References

1 Walter L. Larimore, MD; Joseph B. Stanford, MD, MSPH, “Postfertilization Effects of Oral Contraceptives and Their Relationship to Informed Consent,” Arch Fam Med. 2000;9:126-133. (Abstract and full paper at
http://archfami.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/9/2/126).

2 Stanford JB, Mikolajczyk RT, “Mechanisms of action of intrauterine devices: update and estimation of postfertilization effects,” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

3 CVS/Pharmacy (http://www.cvs.com)

4 HB&A-ARO Research Group, “Filipino Family Survey,” conducted December 2009, made public January 2010. The results of the study can be downloaded at http://prolife.org.ph/home/uploads/Filipino%20Family
%20Survey%20v.2.1-1.ppt.

5 Mahar Mangahas, “Business groups work for RH compromise,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 20, 2009.

6 Roberto de Ocampo , “Kill ‘Bill’?”, Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 27, 2009. The article can be viewed online at http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20091127-238839/Kill-Bill.

7 Boonstra H et al., Abortion in Women’s Lives, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2006, available online at
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/05/04/AiWL.pdf, pp. 6-7.

8 Conforth, Tracee, “Contraceptive Effectiveness,” available online at
http://womenshealth.about.com/cs/birthcontrol/a/effectivenessbc.htm.

9 Ibid.

10 Boonstra H et al., Abortion in Women’s Lives, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2006, available online at
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/05/04/AiWL.pdf, p. 7

11 Peter Arcidiacono et al, “Habit Persistence and Teen Sex: Could Increased Access to Contraception have Unintended Consequences for Teen Pregnancies?” (Oct. 3, 2005), p.29, available at http://www.econ.duke.edu/~psarcidi/addicted13.pdf.

12 David Paton, “The Economics of Family Planning and Underage Conceptions,” Journal of Health Economics, 21.2 (March 2002): 207-225; abstract available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V8K-4537PJR-3/2/7b0ac0ed4b84065fae3119e1663e50bc.

13 Lawrence Finer, “Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954–2003,” Public Health Reports, Volume 122 (January–February 2007): pp. 77-78. The study can be found at
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/2007/01/29/PRH-Vol-122-Finer.pdf.

14 Douglas Kirby, “Reflections on Two Decades of Research on Teen Sexual Behavior and Pregnancy,” Journal of School Health 69.3 (March 1999).

15 Akerlof, G.A., Yellen, J.L. and M.L. Katz “An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Child-bearing in the United States.” Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 111, No. 2 (May, 1996), pp. 277-317.

16 Jones RK, Darroch JE and Henshaw SK, Contraceptive use among U.S. women having abortions in 2000–2001, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2002, 34(6):294–303; available online at
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.pdf.

17 Edgardh, K. et al. Adolescent Sexual Health in Sweden, Sex Trans Inf 78 (2002): 352-6, available at http://sti.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/78/5/352.

18 M. New, “Analyzing the Effect of State Legislation on the Incidence of Abortion Among Minors,” Heritage Foundation Data Analysis Report #07-01 (2007), available online at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/CDA07-01.cfm.

19 M. New, “Using Natural Experiments to Analyze the Impact of State Legislation on the Incidence of Abortion,” Heritage Center for Data Analysis Report #06-01 (January 23, 2006); available at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/cda06-01.cfm.

20 National Demographic and Health Survey 2008, National Statistics Office (NSO), December 2008, Manila, Philippines (available online at http://philippines.usaid.gov/resources/key_documents/NDHS_2008.pdf).
21 Francisco Tatad, “Revised: The Truth and Half-Truths About Reproductive Health,” http://franciscotatad.blogspot.com/2008/09/truth-and-half-truths-about.html.

22 E. Raymond et al., “Population Effect of Increased Access to Emergency Contraceptive Pills,” Obstetrics & Gynecology 109 (2007): 181-8.

23 A. Glasier et al., “Advanced Provision of Emergency Contraception does not Reduce Abortion Rates,” Contraception 69.5 (May 2004): 361-6, available online at http://www.cwfa.org/images/content/scotland0905.pdf.

24 T. Raine et al., “Direct Access to Emergency Contraception through Pharmacies and Effect on Unintended Pregnancy and STIs,” Journal of the American Medical Association 293 (2005): 54-62, available online at
http://www.dph.sf.ca.us/sfcityclinic/providers/Directaccesscontraception.pdf.

25 A. Williams, “The Morning After Pill,” Scottish Council of Human Bioethics (Nov. 2005) (www.schb.org.uk, click on “Publications” then “Sexual Health”).

26 T. Tyden et al., “No reduced number of abortions despite easily available emergency contraceptive pills,” Lakartidningen 99.47 (2002): 4730-2, 4735 (abstract online at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi? cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12523048&dopt=Citation; visited Feb. 16, 2007).

27 J. Gardner et al., “Increasing Access to Emergency Contraception Through Community Pharmacies: Lessons from Washington State,” Family Planning Perspectives 33 (2001): 172-5, available online at
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3317201.html.

28 T. Tyden et al., “No reduced number of abortions despite easily available emergency contraceptive pills,” Lakartidningen 99.47 (2002): 4730-2, 4735 (abstract at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?
cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12523048&dopt=Citation.

29 David Paton, “Random Behavior or Rational Choice? Family Planning, Teenage Pregnancy and STIs,” (Nov.2003), available online at http://www.swan.ac.uk/economics/res2004/program/papers/Paton.pdf.

30 A. Williams, “The Morning After Pill,” Scottish Council on Human Bioethics (Nov. 2005).

31 Rene Josef Bullecer, “Telling the Truth: AIDS Rates for Thailand and the Philippines,” cited in “Family values versus Safe Sex,” Population Research Institute, PRI Review, 29 November, 1999, available online at
http://www.pop.org/00000000207/family-values-vs-safe-sex.

32 UNAIDS/WHO Epidemiological Fact Sheets on HIV and AIDS, 2008 Update: Core data on epidemiology and response, UNAIDS/WHO Working Group on Global HIV/AIDS and STI Surveillance, December 2008.

33 Kajubi, et al., “Increasing Condom Use Without Reducing HIV Risk: Results of a Controlled Community Trial in Uganda,” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Volume 40, Number 1, September 1 2005,
abstract available at http://journals.lww.com/jaids/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2005&issue=09010&article=00013&type=abstract

34 Edward Green, Rethinking AIDS Prevention: Learning from Successes in Developing Countries, (2003).

35 Tim Allen and Suzette Heald, “HIV/AIDS Policy in Africa: What has Worked in Uganda and what has Failed in Botswana?”, Journal of International Development, November 2004, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp. 1141-1154.

36 Dr. Roberto de Vera , A Primer on the proposed Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood, and Population Development Consolidated Bill, September 11, 2008.

37 Ibid.

38 Ibid.

39 Rev. Fr. Gregory D. Gaston, STD, “World Population Collapse: Lessons for the Philippines,” in Familia et Vita, vol. XII (2007) no. 2, pp. 84-113, paragraph no. 22.

40 Meg Wiggins et al., “Health outcomes of youth development programme in England: prospective matched comparison study,” British Medical Journal, July 2009, BMJ 2009;339:b2534, available online at
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/339/jul07_2/b2534.

41 John B. Jemmott III PhD; Loretta S. Jemmott, PhD, RN; Geoffrey T. Fong, PhD, “Efficacy of a Theory-Based Abstinence-Only Intervention Over 24 Months : A Randomized Controlled Trial With Young Adolescents ,” Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 2010;164(2): pp. 152-159. Abstract available online at:
http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/164/2/152.

42 Stan Weed et al., “An Abstinence Program’s Impact on Cognitive Mediators and Sexual Initiation,” American Journal of Health Behavior, Vol. 31, No. 1 (2008), pp. 60-73.

43 AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE SAFETY AND PROTECTION OF THE UNBORN CHILD AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, summary and abstract available online at
http://www.congress.gov.ph/legis/search/hist_show.php?
save=0&journal=&switch=0&bill_no=HB00013&congress=15

Can we craft a reproductive health bill that is truly for reproductive health and faithful to Catholic principles?

I am just thinking that we are being reactionary: we wait for Cong. Lagman to file the Reproductive Health Bill and then we comment on it and gather all arguments against it.  This is like playing black pieces in chess: you wait for white piece to make the first move before deciding to make our own moves.

We are not proactive.  We do not propose our own version of Reproductive Health Bill that truly promotes reproductive health and the Filipino Family while remaining faithful to Catholic principles.  There are many things we can include in our own version of Reproductive health bill:

  1. research funds for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and treatment of infertility
  2. promotion of natural family planning
  3. banning artificial contraceptives that have side effects to the woman’s health
  4. provide private breastfeeding sections in offices and malls
  5. make divorce difficult

These are some things that pop in my head right now.  If you have other ideas, that would be great.  We can reorganize our statements into different headings and use the original reproductive health bill as template.   Writing house bills is not rocket science.  I think we can do better than some movie stars and sports superstars in the senate and congress.

I shall volunteer to write the draft of the bill if there is no one else, but I would need inputs.  One way to go about this is to go through the original reproductive health bill line by line and write an opposite but positive statement instead of just saying “not” or “don’t”.  For example, instead of sex education in elementary and high school, what do you propose? home making skills like carpentry and tailoring?  We have to replace something by something and not by nothing, for nature abhors the vacuum.

I would be more free at the end of October and write the draft bill for your further comments.  Or we can have a brainstorming session where we can all meet together.  After we have ironed the kinks of the bill, we can send a copy to CBCP to hear the side of the bishops.  Then we approach our lawmakers and look for a sponsor and lobby for the bill.

“Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph 6:12)