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Monday, December 3, 2012

Church won anti-RH fight--substitute bill totally dilutes original one, says legislative source

President Aquino has given the marching orders for the passage of the Reproductive Health bill. This bill, which has been languishing in the halls of Congress for more than a decade already, is now headed towards an event-ful victory. Aquino met with several bishops and pro-life advocates to seek a compromise on the contentious issue. At least four Bishops---Bishops Iniguez, Gabby Reyes, Tony Ledesma and Ted Bacani have already given their thoughts. Reyes, according to some, was even identified as the one who wrote or dictated the workings of a diluted version of the bill.

Congressman Edcel Lagman, the main proponent of the bill, allowed the deletion of some provisions and the insertion of several "words' in the original bill to accommodate the desire of anti-RH bill advocates. The so-called "substitute bill" pales in comparison with the earlier version of the bill which Lagman wrote and were co-sponsored by several other people. It was said that this "substitute bill" was written with the presence of a Bishop. Fact is, several says the bill was written by this bishop, whom others identified as Reyes.

It is interesting to see the wordings and tone used in this bill, and how this "final substitute bill" would eventually impact on the government's desire to control population. What is evident is the fact that, in this fight, the Church clearly won in this.

If you will analyze, the Church stand on this issue is more consistent with the Constitutional provision on the duty of the state to protect the welfare of women and the "unborn child". Section 12, Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution reads that the state has the duty to protect the life of the mother and the unborn child. Senate Bill no. 2635 authored by Senator Bong Revilla defines the term "unborn child" as a "child in any stage of existence, from conception to birth." Conception, in this bill refers to the moment when the sperm cell meets the egg cell, thereupon "fertilization" occurs.

It is thus deemed unconstitutional, a measure which will encourage the use of any artificial methods of preventing the meeting of the egg cell with that of the sperm cell, meaning, use of contraceptives. What is constitutional though, is the stated duty of the State to adequately inform citizens of the Philippines in child rearing, not population control. Population control, as defined, means managing population figures through human intervention. Human intervention, whether artificial or natural, harms the conception of both sperm and egg, thus, unconstitutional.

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