HEALTH & DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES INSTITUTE, INC.
No. 33 B Gen. Malvar St., Brgy. San Antonio, Pasig City Telefax (632) 6389143
E-mails: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
23 July 2008
The Sins of Our Fathers
From among the leaders and shapers of the Philippines, only one organization makes exaggerated claims to morality and righteousness: politicians and celebrities may lie, but the Church will always speak the truth. The leadership of the church, embodied by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), struts about and tells all who would hear that they are the ones who uphold morality and truth in a society where morality and truth are lacking.
But are they telling the truth? Are they really everything they show themselves to be? In the debate on reproductive health, the CBCP has shown itself to be a self-contradicting Two-Face, parading on about its mission to uphold the family and Filipino morality, while at the same, condemning the family to downward spiral and lying through their teeth while doing so.
This is perhaps what is most frightening about the Church’s stand on the issue, because it is going to great lengths to propagate falsehood and blatant lies in order to get its way. They bully their way into political decision-making by intimidating policy makers and the general public with both blatant lies and carefully crafted misinformation. In this, the Church has acted no differently from the criminals that we have been quite happy to put in prison. They say they are the guardians of truth, but when it comes down to it, they will lie, cheat, and spread misinformation just as readily as swindlers on the street.
The leadership of the Church thinks their congregations will simply listen to their words like sponges, soaking up last night’s dish water. But the people of the Philippines are smarter than they make us out to be. We know liars when we see them.
The CBCP has recently come out with a manifesto against reproductive health. Among many mistakes and misrepresentations, the foremost is the accusation that reproductive health leads to abortion. The bishops willfully neglect both the statistics and the logic behind how reproductive health deters abortion. Currently without access to family planning, about 470,000 women per year undergo illegal abortion. While the CBCP says these are “immoral” women, the reports—the factual reports—indicate that almost all of these abortions are due to pregnancies among married, lower-class women who found themselves pregnant with children their economic status could not support. But the “pro-life” groups wouldn’t know this, because research on the subject is viciously suppressed. They claim that family planning and reproductive health policy leads to more abortions. But the simple logic is that if families can plan when to have a child and practice safe sex without risking pregnancy, then abortions wouldn’t be needed because unwanted pregnancy wouldn’t happen. Simple logic that the CBCP tries to drown out loud-mouthed falsehoods based on bogus information.
The recent CBCP manifesto also says that contraceptive pills have side-effects, such as cancer, premature hypertension and heart disease. This is absolutely false. There is no published and scientifically accepted correlation between the contraceptive use and the disorders that the CBCP is claiming. Furthermore, they attack condoms as having a “high failure rate even against pregnancy and thus does not protect against AIDS”. First of all, those are two different things; AIDS can be transmitted through various ways, such as shared injection needles, open wounds, and various sexually-related acts. On the other hand, pregnancy can only happen during sexual intercourse. As for high failure rates among condoms, this is another obvious lie, because condoms have been shown to be—along with contraceptive pills—the most effective means of preventing unplanned pregnancy. Condoms also provide the added protection against STD’s, a fact that is supported by studies conducted all over the world by organization like the WHO and the UN.
Finally, the CBCP build a fortress on their being so-called “pro-family”. But how “pro-family” is a country that prevents women and their families from being able to have as much power as possible to decide just how good a life their families can have with each child coming as a blessing rather than an added burden? If the CBCP truly loves children, it would see the sense in making sure that each pregnancy is planned and wanted, rather than forcing women into accepting children who they have no means to feed.
The church is built on the idea of reconciliation, love, and the freedom of the human spirit. But the CBCP instead would bully policy-makers with threats of being ostracized, deny the opportunity for healthy families to the poorest women in our society, and expect the people of our country to follow their lead into a regime of lies and ignorance. We need to let the CBCP and other like-minded groups that enough is enough.
Robert Jed Malayang