On August 6, Congress voted viva voce to end debates on the RH Bill or House Bill No. 4244, “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, and For Other Purposes.”
While the voting was originally scheduled for Aug. 7, it was rushed on Aug. 6, after members of congress were summoned to Malacañan. President Aquino reportedly told them to end all the talking. Thus, they voted quickly back in Congress that same day.
The RH Bill is couched in innocent-looking motherhood statements repetitive of established norms like gender equality, maternal health, or non-discrimination. But, it is actually built on a deceptive framework.
First, it declares as a national policy that our country “recognizes and guarantees the exercise of the universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons…” (Sec. 2) However, “reproductive health” has not been accorded the status of a “universal basic human right” under present international law. It is still subject of much controversy worldwide.
Second, the bill makes it a special crime to “maliciously engage[s] in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.” (Sec. 28 [e]) This can result in great mischief or in state censorship. Government can use this to quell any opposition. No wonder, PNoy wanted to end all debates.
Third, the bill supposedly retains the prohibition of abortion. But in “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” track, it tacitly encourages abortion anyway for “the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner. (Sec. 3 [i]) “Non-judgmental” is not defined, and ordinary meaning would make it read as “non-prosecution” for the crime of abortion as to make the ban dead letter law. And that certainly imperils innocent babies in mothers’ wombs. It results in unequal protection. But our Constitution commands that the State “shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.” (Art. II, sec. 12)
Fourth, we implore the “aid of Almighty God” in our Constitution. Hence, there cannot be “freedom of choice” (Sec. 3 [a]) that is alienated from the very source of human life—God. “[R]esponsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society.” (Humanae Vitae, 10) Thus, “they are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow. On the contrary, they are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator. The very nature of marriage and its use makes His will clear, while the constant teachings of the Church spells it out.” (Ibid.)
In sum, the RH Bill is sadly a grand deception.