BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
The Philippine Sanhedrin is at it again: threatening with fire and brimstone advocates of the RH Bill or House Bill 4244 sponsored by Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, and Senate Bill 2378 by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
Lately, the Sanhedrin, also known as Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), is pressuring Ateno De Manila University to investigate its professors who earlier signed a pro-RH Bill manifesto.
This is one instance where the shepherd – flock analogy that has been used in catechesis is useless.
A good shepherd, according to the Carpenter from Nazareth, leads and protects, even dies for, his flock. However, in the RH Bill brouhaha, the Philippine shepherd, after running out of arguments, misleads the flock by recycling its old trick called fire-and-brimstone, eternal-fire-in-hell, excommunication and its other versions like ostracizing Catholic schools which support the RH Bill.
The Sanhedrin initially preached morality in opposing the bill arguing that it is against the law of god (yes in small “g”) because it violates “natural law”.
Unable to convince, the Sanhedrin resorted to scientism, mimicking science, that is, by peddling the “finding” that the RH Bill promotes abortion contrary to what proponents contend that pills sanctioned by the bill merely prevents fertilization of the egg by the sperm.
Failing to catch fire with the canard, the Sanhedrin peddled another “scientific finding” that the RH Bill promotes contraceptives that contain carcinogenic substances without identifying the brands of the pills.
Which reminds us of Sen. Vicente Sotto III, the actor, who shed crocodile tears for his son that died after five months from birth due to a weak heart that he in turn blamed on a contraceptive pill. His son died in 1975. The pill that he blamed killed his son, was introduced to the market only in 1978, three years after his son’s death. (Sotto’s speech plagiarized the blog of home economicst Sarah Pope who turned out to be pro-RH. She apologized to Filipino women for her blog that Sotto twisted”.)
Are oral contraceptives carcinogenic? Cigarette smoking is more lethal to women but the Sanhedrin does not utter even a squeak against it.
The RH Bill is the Philippine Government’s commitment to the United Nations after signing the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) in 1999 with 190 signatory countries. The MDG aims to attain eight goals, the reduction of maternal mortality (death related to pregnancy and child delivery) for which the country is a topnotch, and increase child survival. The RH Bill seeks to attain that by giving women universal access to health care and information on birth control.
Are contraceptives carcinogenic? To the contrary. Amanda Lago of GMA News on Line, writes that contraceptives “have other uses” aside from birth control. She quotes Ludy Geraldes, representative for Couleurs La Femme who says pills cure gynecological diseases.
Dr. Raul Quillamor, an obstetrician-gynocologist, as quoted by Ms. Lago, stresses that “the combination of estrogen and progesterone in oral contraceptives” yields “non-contraceptive benefits”.
They enhance beauty. Dermatologists prescribe them because they control acne. Fray Butod who rabidly condemns the RH Bill would have looked differently today had he took oral contraceptives;
Oral contraceptives strengthen the ovary: they are effective in treating “polycystic ovarian syndrome” which “causes menstrual disturbances, ovarian cysts and infertility”, among others.
For those with irregular menstrual cycles, contraceptives help regularize menstrual cycles of women who have infrequent menstruation. Obviously, our hero Fray Butod has no need of this pill because he has no ovary and therefore, does not menstruate.
Contraceptives reduces blood loss during menstration, in effect, preventing anemia.Again, our hero Fray Butod has no need of such pill.
Using the pill lowers ovarian cancer risk by almost half, writes Lago still quoting Dr. Quillamor. The physician based that on the Oxford University website that ran an article in 2008 which finds that taking pills for 10 years can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 45 percent.
The bottom line of the RH Bill brouhaha is the right of women to make informed decisions. By informed decision, women as the bill proposes, are given access to information on maternal care and birth control methods.
The Sanhedrin might feel the bill will de-fang it, it will lose its flock and, along with it, the fat revenues from the stock market and administering rites that have become synonymous to business.