Check Part 1 here. I oppose the passage of the RH Bill simply because we are uncertain about whether we are addressing the core problems that the bill purports to address and the non-uniqueness of the implementation guidelines (and of course the money involved) that would surface after the passage of the bill. I also oppose the passage of the bill because the numbers involving poverty and fertility have been improving or have been stable for the past decades. Should we tamper with processes that we do not understand fully?
I am not saying that we should ignore the deaths caused by lack of contraception or access to prenatal care, the hardships of the poor Filipino family, the sheer indignity of the living conditions that the poor Filipino family might have been responsible for or might have been born into by Nature’s dice. I am saying that we should take a closer look at what is unseen and at what is unsaid.
Both sides and most debaters have focused on population control, the immorality or morality of abortion, the beginning of conception, the mechanics of conception, the constrained conditions of existing health facilities, the deaths of both mother and child that could have been prevented. Ironically, both sides have been saying more or less the same thing. Only the suggested solutions are different.
Both sides say that family planning is really essential and is part of responsible parenthood. Fine. But one side prefers the wholesale access to a wide variety of family planning methods (using taxpayer money which has yet to be specified) while the other prefers the alternative that is consistent with religious beliefs. I think that the pro-RH people should also give people who have firm religious beliefs the alternative to use natural family planning methods. I am not sure if pro-RH people think it is stupid just because of the religious affiliation. The anti-RH people should also not impose their beliefs on the people who would prefer other contraceptive methods regardless of religious beliefs. I am not sure whether anti-RH people have fathomed how people would take their message. They should not scare parents into their preferred alternative. They should also not invoke the potential wrath of God against sinners. These things just do not help the parents in making what is supposed to be a private, hard (no pun intended) and major decision.
Once this mutual “minding one’s own contraception business” is out of the way, most of the wasted time in the debates will be gone. For instance, we no longer would have to let the state or church or anyone else decide how we should have sex (is it supposed to be for pleasure, for procreation, for mending psychological guilt?). We also do not need to talk about when life begins. We also transfer the responsibility of taking care of the consequences of any unwanted or even wanted pregnancy from the state, the church, pro and anti-RH advocates to the parents who are supposed to be responsible for their own actions! Almost all of the useless rhetoric will be gone. What would be left is something much more manageable and would force people into a consensus.
Ironically, this means that we should preserve the existing status quo but include awareness campaigns instead of direct intervention with taxpayer’s money at stake. In fact, families have long had the choice to use contraception and be subject to prenatal care. The government has the best job in the world: They take other people’s money and use it on other people. By the principle alone, they have no incentive to use the money as carefully as a private individual does with his own money. Aside from preserving the existing status quo, the advocates who have the biggest interest in the RH bill should be the ones handling the awareness campaigns (they can always apply for funding or use group membership dues).
In fact, it would be more interesting to see competition in the information ads about contraception methods, prenatal care and other sex-related matters coming from both sides. This is sort of like “put your money where your mouth is”. People would then choose based on the information available to them. After a while, they would observe that some advice works and others don’t. After a few iterations, people will learn from their experiences. I also think that if the church advocates natural family planning methods, then they should hold classes and demonstrate this to their constituents. If parents find their methods effective, then it’s a good thing. If parents find their methods ineffective, they will shift to a different method.
In effect, using this suggestion will transfer responsibility over information provision (which seems to be at the heart of the RH Bill) to the advocates who speak ever so loudly. The one thing that is infuriating about advocates is that once their cause is fulfilled, they move on to the next project and they never stay and check the long term consequences of their advocacy. This uses only money from private individuals and groups and not taxpayer’s money at all.
I will continue next time with another post. Thank you for reading.