Happy Easter Dear Times Readers
EASTER is the celebration of the Lord Jesus’ Resurrection. It is the feast of Life for all Christians, for whom the resurrection of Jesus is a promise that we too can have eternal life after our time-bound life on Earth.
It’s a good time to reflect on the Pro-Life theme and the new Reproductive Health Law.
A basic issue has never been answered by pro-RH Law activists in the courts and in the media.
This issue is central to the rightness or wrongness of the lawmakers’ action in presenting the RH Bill (with three titles, which is against the law that says every bill must only have one title and the title must show the intention of the bill).
This issue should have preceded any other discussion, at the House and in the Senate, and at the Supreme Court, where petitioners questioned the constitutionality and justness of RH Law passed by Congress and signed by President Benigno S. Cojuangco Aquino 3rd.
One of the petitioners, former senator Francisco S. Tatad, persisted in wishing this issue discussed and resolved before anything else. But he was rebuffed.
This is how the former senator describes that issue, when asked what he thought about the Supreme Court ruling that declared the RH Law “not unconstitutional.”
“For me, the SC ruling is no ruling at all, for it evades the real question at the heart of the disputed legislation. The issue, I must point out again and again, is not whether women should have the ‘right’ to contracept or not. That ‘right’ is not at all impaired by any legal prohibition. The issue is whether the State, whose constitutional duty it is to protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception, has the right or the duty to provide and administer a program of contraception.”
That is what he calls his “bedrock objection” to the RH Law in one of the 14 SC petitions. Mr. Tatad tried to point out to the Court “that State-administered contraception is not the same as free-market contraception.” But the High Court decision does not mention that issue even in passing.
He explains: “My objection could not have been subsumed in any of the issues ‘synthesized’ in the ponencia, for it is larger than any of the issues so synthesized and has the capacity to subsume all of them. The better decision should have been for the Court to declare the entire law unconstitutional, except for the genuinely health-related ‘sweeteners,’ which could be easily tucked into the regular Department of Health program without need of legislation.”
Almost P30-billion budget
Now the government of the Philippines would be spending something close to P30 billion a year to provide contraceptive services–prescriptions, pills, devices and advice–to anyone to comes to public clinic.
Now the government, through the Food and Drug Administration, would have to determine which of the contraceptive pills are abortifacients or actual abortion tablets or potions, because the RH Law does prohibit abortion and the dispensing of abortifacients.
It is not an easy task because, as far as our research has gone, all contraceptive pills and tonics available do not just prevent the ovum from meeting the sperm to form a new human zygote but also prevents the human zygote from being able to reach its mother’s uterine wall and there implant itself and begin to derive nourishment to live.
Now nurses, midwives and health clinic workers–many of whom are not qualified to do this task–will have to obey the RH Law and write out prescriptions for contraceptive pills demanded by patients. For the law has extended the power to write prescriptions for contraceptives from the hands of doctors to those of health care workers.
All of these, just to carry out work that clearly is not seen by our Constitution as a function of the state. Nothing in the Constitution says the state must control population growth and give away contraceptives. Rather it sees it as the state’s duty to protect mothers and their children in the form of zygotes, fetuses and growing babies in the womb. From this it can be seen by all–except those who refuse see beyond their utilitarian agenda of birth reduction–that the Constitution favors Life against attempts to end it.