Monday, October 1, 2012

Ateneo and the RH bill

Back in college, my friends and I immersed ourselves in the communities of Smokey Mountain.  We marvelled at the scavengers’ ingenuity in creating products from scrap, but we despaired over the appalling living conditions and the enormity of the task of providing healthcare and education for so many children.

Mothers tearfully said they did not want any more kids, but abstinence was out of the question, and they knew next to nothing about natural family planning.  Two decades later, nothing seems to have changed.

I knew of an upper-class mother who seemed to be healthy enough, but who suddenly died.  Rightly or wrongly, her family attributed her death to the use of the pill (or something like it) to regulate her monthly periods.

Searching the Internet, they found out that the medication could lead to bleeding, strokes or heart attacks.

I refrained from writing about the RH (reproductive health) bill because I had not yet made up my mind and heart.  But I followed discussions, especially the Inquirer columns of Ateneo Law School dean emeritus Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., and University of the Philippines sociology professor Randy David.

Last month, Ateneo colleagues urged me to sign their letter of support for the RH bill. Though I found the message credible and reasonable, I did not sign because I was still undecided.

As a semi-public figure, I also did not want anyone to sensationalize or misinterpret my stand.
I was not going to air my views until some bishops started excoriating the professors who signed the letter.

Fresh air
Born years after Vatican II, I have been influenced by the religious who, though toeing the official Church line on reproductive health, never damned our souls for future sins.  My classmates and I dutifully memorized bits of “Humanae Vitae,” but we also learned about “Humanae Salutis” and Pope John XXIII’s call for the Church to open its windows to let in fresh air.

I never felt any conflict between science and religion, and considered my faith so vital that I chose Ateneo over UP (my parents’ alma mater). I reveled in the intellectual discourse under brilliant and....

Read more rh bill in the philippines.

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