POSTSCRIPT / May 17, 2011 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Objection to RH bill based on conscience

IT’S NOT RELIGION: Yes, I am a Catholic, and proud of it. Although a sinner, I am happy that the Mother Church still embraces me as one of its children.

Regular readers of my Postscript must know by now that I am against the Reproductive Health bill (HB 4244) as it is now worded.

But my religion is not the main reason for my opposition. My objections spring largely from conscience – which tells me a grievous wrong is about to be inflicted on an unwary population by a half-baked bill being rushed through the kitchen.

Many of us feel compelled to speak up, because we see the imminence of being ensnared in an ill-conceived hodgepodge of a law that goes against not only the Constitution and the religious beliefs of the majority but also, in my case at least, of conscience.

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REVIEW, REVISE: I am aware that many others are in favor of the enactment of an RH law. The best thing to do, I submit, is to pause and:

* For the House of Representatives to call back HB 4244 (The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011) for further study, debate and possible amendment.

* For the Senate to call a public hearing on SB 2378 (The Reproductive Health Act), with special attention on state-sponsored methods of birth control and artificial contraceptives with abortifacient effects.

* Or better, defer action on the two bills since there is no urgency anyway. Many of the things the bills seek to do are already being done (albeit sometimes illegally).

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LEGITIMIZING CRIME: The passage of HB 4244 as now worded — and for which President Noynoy Aquino has announced support — will legitimize many of the crimes being committed under the aegis of the state using taxpayers’ money.

One such offense is the violation of the constitutional mandate under Section12 of Article II which says, “It (the state) shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

Government personnel commit the crime by, among other means, the wanton distribution and use of artificial contraceptives with abortifacient effects, thereby killing the unborn human being by preventing its implantation in the womb for normal nourishment and growth.

The Congress and the President seek to legitimize that massacre of the unborn – with taxpayers footing the bloody bill?

President Aquino now blames population growth for the poverty around us while neglecting other means to mitigating the problem. Has he forgotten his campaign battlecry “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap!”?

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DISCRIMINATION: It is unfortunate that Catholics who stand up to oppose the RH bills as now worded are derided and their religious beliefs ridiculed.

How come not a whimper is heard when pastors of another religious sect instruct their members to vote for candidates who — in exchange for the members’ votes — had pledged support for the sect’s advocacies and appointees to key government posts?

How come another set of laws, such as in the contracting of multiple marriages, is applied when it involves members of another religion with jihadist tendencies? Why are they entitled to have their own special laws, and in effect their own republic within our republic?

But when we Catholics and our bishops object to what we think would be a grievously faulty law, we are ridiculed and slapped with the principle of separation of the Church and the State (which does not apply)?

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ABORTIFACIENT: My Postscript last Sunday called attention to Section 12, Article II, of the Constitution declaring it an obligation of the state to protect “the life of the unborn from conception.”

That piece laid out, clearly I think, that:

1. Conception refers to the moment of fertilization, or when the sperm and the ovum unite and form a distinct and individual human being.

2. Upon conception, that human being starts enjoying rights even while still in the mother’s body, including the right to life and state protection, guaranteed by no less than the Constitution.

3. Snuffing out that human life by deliberate artificial means would be killing it, or aborting it, a criminal act under existing laws.

4. Many of the artificial birth control methods and contraceptives sought to be purchased with public funds and distributed and used by the government have proven abortifacient affects that induce abortion, which is a crime.

The above train of reasoning is anchored on the premise that human life begins at conception.

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CONCEPTION: On that basic question of when human life actually begins, reader Jomel Fuentes contributed this information:

The US Senate called 57 international experts, some of them from Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic, including Dr. Jerome Lejeune, the father of modern genetics, to answer the question of when human life actually begins.

US Senate Report 1981 states that there is “overwhelming agreement” that human life begins at fertilization, when the sperm penetrates the egg, in countless medical, biological and scientific writings. Among those cited were:

Dr. Lejeune: “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place, a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion… it is plain experimental evidence.”

Hymie Gordon, MD, FRCP, Chairman of Medical Genetics, Mayo Clinic: “By all criteria of modern molecular biology… as soon as he has been conceived, a man is a man.”

The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th edition, Keith L. Moore, PhD: “Human development begins at fertilization.”

These statements and findings do not come from people with any advocacy, but come from scientific research and experiments.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 17 2011)

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