I am pleased as punch! A day after the Roman Catholic leadership in the country issued statements pressuring him to change his stand on the Reproductive Health Bill, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III has promptly answered that he will not give up his support for the use of artificial contraceptives to curb population growth — even at the risk of incurring the ire of the Catholic Church.
According to newsreports, Noynoy has appealed to Catholic bishops, exhorting them to “wake up to the reality that something must be done to arrest the rapid growth of the country’s population, which now stands at 95 million or almost double the 50 million in 1986. Noynoy has reportedly said that there really IS a problem, “I hope that the Church will see that I have the reasonableness of my position on the issue,” he said.
It’s very commendable that Noynoy stood firm against the Church and its threat to mount a campaign against candidates in the 2010 election who will defy its supposedly “pro-life” and “pro-family stand” (how’s that for self-righteousness – as if the Church has the monopoly on knowledge, as if it’s the main authority on what is good for families; as if those who support the RH Bill are anti-life and anti-families!)
Noynoy has further stated that while he is in favor of artificial contraceptives, he does not believe that the government should force couples to practice them, including the use of birth control pills. “I am encouraging the use of contraceptives. But that will be left to the conscience of the person,” he said (Imagine being told that you will rub elbows with Satan and the rest of hell’s denizens for using condoms, for using an IUD, for taking birth control pills! Nevermind that you’ve done nothing but good in your life!)
Another quotable quote from Noynoy: “The State has no right to dictate to its citizens who they should plan their families. It can only provide guidance.” Hear, hear!
Noynoy added that it is the responsibility of the government to remind the citizens of their duty to take care of the needs of their children, including their education. He also denied that there is a provision in the RH bill that would allow abortion.
What Noynoy is proposing is that Church leaders should be made to participate in population education program envisioned under the RH bill to enable them to present their side. Let people think for themselves, for crying out loud!
It’s great that Noynoy is unfazed and will not buckle to the pressure of the Catholic Church. This all the more strengthens the opinion of some that he is running not because he wants to be powerful, but because he believes in something and hopes that he can make a difference by being president. It’s not every politician who willingly defies the Church and stands pat on his beliefs on issues regardless of threats that support will be denied his electoral campaign.
As for me, it’s all the more flawed and unjustified for the Catholic Church to present itself as the main authority on life and families when for one thing, priests don’t even have their own families: they’re not allowed to have sex, to marry, and to have children. I know the Church means well, but on this issue (and in some many others…), it is waaaay off the mark. Let parents see the options on how they can take of their families; let mothers and women decide for themselves. If they choose to follow Church doctrine against family planning, fine; but if they choose something else, that’s well within their rights.
The Church says that it’s out to protect life, but how can you protect the unborn if the mothers who will carry them are unhealthy? Imagine a woman who has given birth four times before, and she’s poor and has no access to medical care. She can barely provide for her children; but since she’s still young, she might still get pregnant. What if she doesn’t want to anymore , because she knows she shouldn’t because her body can’t take it and she’s aware that bearing another child will have severe impact on how she will be able to take care and look after her already existing children – shouldn’t she be allowed to do something to stop herself from getting pregnant?
And for those who do want more children, shouldn’t they be allowed and even encouraged to determine when they’re going to have them? Two years between pregnancies will allow the mother’s body and health to recuperate from the rigor of childbearing and birth; and by then, the previous baby will be a toddler and will be less difficult to look after (compared to taking care of a one year old AND a newborn).
In the meantime, there are so many developments in the field of science that have to do with birth control. There studies that say that pills are dangerous for women’s health. Wouldn’t it be better for people to be able to talk and discuss these developments among themselves and with professional, medical practitioners instead so they can make informed decisions? So they can take care of themselves better? Making something a taboo topic, if it has to do with health and safety, is dangerous.
Some would say that the Church should not get involved in other issues outside religion and faith; I disagree. By all means, the Church and its people should not separate themselves from society and politics, but JEEZ, THEY SHOULD MAKE THE CORRECT STANDS THAT ARE CONSISTENT WITH WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE ECONOMIC,POLITICAL AND CULTURAL WELFARE OF THE POOR AND WORKING PEOPLE.
And how will they know what is good? That’s a different blog altogether. But for starters, I would suggest that they abandon their rich parishes and go to where the poor and oppressed are and listen to them, discover their problems, live with them and help them to defend and assert their right to eat, to have homes, to have work, to live and not merely exist in a state short of waiting for death or whatever else that comes before death. The Church should WORK with Filipinos as they fight for life against entropy and despair — a life that is better, more productive, more meaningful, less troubled, and more dignified.Work and not just preach. Guide instead of order. Respond, instead of command.
Roman Catholic priests can also take lessons from their counterparts in the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.
In the meantime, think about this: the Arroyo government has a budget of P252.49 for the health needs of each Pinoy for entire 2010. This is according to the the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD).
Shouldn’t the Church lobby for higher government allocations for health services and cutbacks on military spending and foreign debt payments instead of venting its ire on the RH Bill?
And for the record, it’s not GOD I have issues with; it’s THE CHURCH.