Responsible Parenthood Bill: A Fascist Legislation by Another Name

RH bill or the Responsible Parenthood bill is the GREAT LIE in the Philippines today

  • NOTE: This article was first posted on my old site on Feb. 16, 2011. 

RH bill or the Responsible Parenthood bill is the GREAT LIE in the Philippines today

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.” – US Pres. Gerald Ford

The neo-fascist and nanny state proponents in Congress, particularly at the Committee on Population and the Committee on Appropriations, have approved the controversial Reproductive Health Bill via an Orwellian tactic. The divisive bill, which is now known as Responsible Parenthood bill, has got the nod of 20 neo-fascists against only three opponents at the Committee on Appropriations.

Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya tried to deceive the people into buying the statists’ anti-population, welfarist bill by playing some Orwellian trick or deceptive semantics, saying that they have not alloted new funding for the contentious bill. However, he admitted that the initial fund would come from the 731-million-peso originally alloted for the Family Health and Responsible Parenting under the Department of Health.

“The bill was approved at the appropriation committee. However, the funding will just come from the GAA (General Appropriations Act) as approved,” Abaya said.

Pro-RH bill solons and supporters expect to have the consolidated RH bill enacted into law this year. The bill, entitled “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development,” is a consolidation of the bills filed by the following lawmakers: House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, Muntinlupa City Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, Iloilo Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr., Akbayan party-list Reps. Arlene Bag-ao and Walden Bello, and Gabriela party-list Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerenciana de Jesus.

The “no new funding” scheme of the bill’s opponents simply manifests their willingness and refusal to face reality. In the realm of politics, even the half-wit opinion-makers and tabloid columnists fully understand that a welfare statist bill- or a legislation that promises to deliver the greater good or the common good or to serve the poor, the weak and the less privileged- requires financial backing.

This “no new funding” semantic trick of Abaya and his ilk merely confirms that their statist plan to legislate “responsible parenthood” and to legally “manage” population in the country, still requires a huge amount of money.

Indeed, the possible passage of the so-called Responsible Parenthood bill will pave the way for more statist controls and regulations in the name of the poor or the common good.

The fundamental question that requires an honest, reality-based answer is: How would our mostly stupid and corrupt politicians legislate responsible parenthood and population growth? By what right do they invoke to legislate ‘responsible parenthood’?

The measure’s declaration of state policy states: “The State upholds and promotes responsible parenthood, informed choice, birth spacing and respect for life in conformity with internationally recognized human rights standards.”

It is true that our semi-socialist, democratic Constitution envisages to uphold and promote the so-called aims of the bill, however, our lawmakers, most of whom are lawyers, should understand that these cannot be achieved without the use of force, e.g., legal force.

The bill defines “responsible parenthood” as ”the will, ability and commitment of parents to respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children more particularly through family planning.” How can our irresponsible government that now confronts numerous cases of plunder, graft and corruption, abuse of power and authority, etc. tell parents to be responsible and to properly respond to the alleged needs and aspirations of the family? How can our nanny state achieve its welfare statist vision without more government spending, more and higher level of taxation, and without violating the rights of other social groups, namely, the parents themselves (which the bill seeks to serve), employers, who will be immolated and sacrificed in the name of common good, doctors, and others?

Once enacted, the bill would make reproductive health a “right”, which means it would be mandatory on the part of the state or the government to

Rep. Edcel Lagman the "Wishful Thinker"Rep. Edcel Lagman the “Wishful Thinker”

guarantee its delivery by whatever means possible, which means it can raise our taxes, levy new forms of taxation, and employ its regulatory powers by economic regulation or by controlling the entire industry.

“Reproductive Health Rights” is defined as “the rights of individuals and couples do decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children; to make other decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence; to have the information and means to carry out their decisions; and to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health.”

It also defines family planning as ”a program which enables couple, and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to carry out their decisions, and to have informed choice and access to a full range of safe, legal and effective family planning methods, techniques and devices.”

Many people, most of whom are educated, support the bill because of its altruistic provisions, namely, the measure’s promise to guarantee poor people’s reproductive health care needs, sex education, among others.

Reproductive Health Care, which refers to the availability of and access to a full range of methods, techniques, supplies and services that contribute to reproductive and sexual health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health-related problems in order to achieve enhancement of life and personal relations, includes the following elements

1. Maternal, infant and child health and nutrition;

2. Promotion of breastfeeding;

3. Family planning information end services;

4. Prevention of abortion and management of post-abortion complications;

5. Adolescent and youth health;

6. Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections (RTIs), HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmittable infections (STIs);

7. Elimination of violence against women;

8. Education and counseling on sexuality and sexual and reproductive health;

9. Treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions;

10. Male involvement and participation in reproductive health;,

11. Prevention and treatment of infertility and sexual dysfunction; and

12. Reproductive health education for the youth.

If the bill’s proponents and naive supporters truly understood the nature of the measure which they so strongly support, they would understand the the aforementioned RH care elements already exist and do not require government intervention. Breastfeeding is what married or unmarried women have been doing since time immemorial. Both family planning information and services and breastfeeding can be promoted privately by related government organizations like the Department of Health and the Department of Education, and by non-profit organizations, NGOs, and even corporations.

Elimination of violence against women can only be achieved by means of strengthening the rule of law, that is, by jailing those who practice domestic violence.  Adolescent and youth health is part of the responsibility and concern of parents, not the government. Treatment of breast and reproductive tract cancers and other gynecological conditions cannot be achieve without allocating millions of taxpayers money for its delivery, or without forcing employers to pay for the RH needs of their workers even if it’s against their will.

Among the welfare-statist promises of the bill, which definitely require huge or billions of pesos of financial backing in the future, are the following:

  • Reproductive Health Education – refers to the process of acquiring complete, accurate and relevant information on all matters relating to the reproductive system, its functions and processes and human sexuality; and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy and gender roles. It also includes developing the necessary skills do be able to distinguish between facts and myths on sex and sexuality; and critically evaluate. and discuss the moral, religious, social and cultural dimensions of related sensitive issues such as contraception and abortion.
  • Male involvement and participation – refers to the involvement, participation, commitment and joint responsibility of men with women in all areas of sexual and reproductive health, as well as reproductive health concerns specific to men.
  • Reproductive tract infection (RTI) – refers do sexually transmitted infections, sexually transmitted diseases and other types of-infections affecting the reproductive system.
  • Basic Emergency Obstetric Care – refers to lifesaving services for maternal complication being provided by a health facility or professional which must include the following six signal functions: administration of parenteral antibiotics; administration of parrenteral oxyttocic drugs; administration of parenteral anticonvulsants for pre-eclampsia and iampsia; manual removal of placenta; and assisted vaginal delivery.
  • Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care – refers to basic emergency obstetric care plus two other signal functions: performance of caesarean section and blood transfusion.
  • Maternal Death Review – refers to a qualitative and in-depth study of the causes of maternal death with the primary purpose of preventing future deaths through changes or additions to programs, plans and policies.
  • Skilled Attendant – refers to an accredited health professional such as a licensed midwife, doctor or nurse who has adequate proficiency and the skills to manage normal (uncomplicated) pregnancies, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period, and in the identification, management and referral of complication in women and newborns.
  • Skilled Attendance – refers to childbirth managed by a skilled attendant under the enabling conditions of a functional emergency obstetric care and referral system.
  • Development – refers to a multi-dimensional process involving major changes in social structures, popular attitudes, and national institutions as well as the acceleration of economic growth, the reduction of inequality and the eradication of widespread poverty.
  • Sustainable Human Development – refers to the totality of the process of expending human choices by enabling people to enjoy long, healthy and productive lives, affording them access to resources needed for a decent standard of living and assuring continuity and acceleration of development by achieving a balance between and among a manageable population, adequate resources and a healthy environment.
  • Population Development – refers to a program that aims to: (1) help couples and parents achieve their desired family size; (2) improve reproductive health of individuals by addressing reproductive health problems; (3) contribute to decreased maternal and infant mortality rates and early child mortality; (4) reduce incidence of teenage pregnancy; and (5) enable government to achieve a balanced population distribution.

Without a doubt, this altruist-collectivist legislative proposal attempts to breach reality. It is, in fact, a futile attempt to make fantasy a reality by means of a fascist political measure. Reality has it that every parent must be and ought to be responsible for his/her children. We have numerous laws that discourage and even penalize child abuse, domestic violence, maltreatment, etc. Reality has it that we cannot continue to spend or consume more than we produce. Any family that consumes more than it produces will certainly be reduced to scarcity or slavery. The same principle or law of reality applies to our government. That is, we as a nation cannot spend more than we produce. However, this is, in reality, the aim of this Responsible Parenthood bill, which seeks to negate, breach, cheat the laws of economics and reality.

Most of the fantastic provisions of the bill can be found under Section 5, which enumerates the many functions of the Commission on Population, which “shall serve as the central planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring body for the comprehensive and integrated policy on reproductive health and population development.”

Among the Commission’s fantastic functions, which are apparently a product of our fascistic politicians’ wishful thinking, are as follows:

  • To ensure people’s access to medically safe, legal, quality and affordable reproductive health goods and services. This presupposes that there are no laws in place against medical malpractice, etc.
  • To ensure that reproductive health services are delivered with a full range of supplies, facilities and equipment and that service providers are adequately trained for reproductive health care. This will definitely require financial backing. Where will the government extort/steal the money from?
  • To direct all public hospitals to make available to indigent mothers who deliver their children in these government hospitals, upon the mothers request, the procedure of ligation without cost to her. The fundamental question is: Where will the government get the money? From our taxes, of course. More welfare recipients (now and in the future) means more taxpayers money!
  • To recommend the enactment of legislation and adoption of executive measures that will strengthen and enhance the national policy on reproductive health and population development. THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! This bill will definitely pave the way for more statist measures and government regulations in the future!
  • To ensure a massive and sustained information drive on responsible parenthood and on all methods and techniques to prevent unwanted, unplanned and mistimed pregnancies.
  • To strengthen the capacities of health regulatory agencies to ensure safe, high-quality, accessible, and affordable reproductive health services and commodities with the concurrent strengthening and enforcement of regulatory mandates and mechanisms.PRICE CONTROL is definitely part of our fascist politicians’ statist agenda.
  • To take active steps to expand the coverage of the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP), especially among poor and marginalized women, to include the full range of reproductive health services and supplies as health insurance benefits. And this means more money to be extorted from the taxpayers. Who knows? Some of our politicians might propose to increase corporate income tax like the new UP president did.
  • To perform such other functions necessary to attain the purposes of this Act. Which means that our politicians and regulators may wish to accomplish whatever they want in the name of the common good!

Under this fascist bill, reproductive health education is to be made mandatory. The bill states:“Reproductive Health Education in an age-appropriate manner shall be taught by adequately trained teachers starting from Grade 5 up to Fourth Year High School. In order to assure the prior training of teachers on reproductive health, the implementation of Reproductive Health Education shall commence at the start of the school year one year following the effectivity of this Act. The POPCOM, in coordination with the Department of Education, shall formulate the Reproductive Health Education curriculum, which shall be common to both public and private schools and shall include related population and development concepts.”

The aforementioned provision simply shows that this proposal seeks to control us from womb to tomb, a tragic scenario that only happens in most socialist and fascist countries like China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, etc. In these dictatorships, the government planners maintain control over the lives of their citizens, for the very reason that the benevolent state provides most of the people need from womb to tomb, e.g., from maternal and health care services to education to adult health care to pension, etc.

Section 16 of the bill, however, unmasks its makers as a bunch of statist ignoramuses and wishful thinkers. The section states:

“The State shall assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood for sustainable development and encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size. Attaining the ideal family size is neither mandatory nor compulsory. No punitive action shall be imposed on parents having more than two children.”

The key question is: HOW?! How will the state assist couples, parents and individuals to achieve “their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood”? According to the bill, two children is enough- or the ideal size- of one family. What if a couple wanted to have more children?

Apart from the taxpayers’ money to be plowed into this measure, how will the government deliver its many impossible promises?

Part of the answer can be founded in Section 17 subtitled “Employers Responsibilities.”

Section  17 states:

Employers shall respect the reproductive health rights of all their workers. Women shall not be discriminated against in the matter of hiring, regularization of employment status or selection for retrenchment.

All Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) shall provide for the free delivery by the employer of reasonable quantity of reproductive health care services, supplies and devices to all workers, more particularly women workers. In establishments or enterprises where there are no CBAs or where the employees are unorganized, the employer shall have the same obligation. (emphasis mine)

This is the most absurd, vague, ambiguous, non-objective, unconstitutional provision of the measure. It doesn’t take a law graduate or a lawyer to fully grasp what this section means. It means that–

  • All collective bargaining agreements (CBA) shall provide for the FREE delivery by employers of reasonable quantity of RH care services to their workers. Take note that the term used is “all collective bargaining agreements.” This bill does not specify.
  • All employers are mandated, by virtue of the bill (if ever enacted into law), to abide by the provisions of the measure.
  • “Reasonable quantity” of RH care services are to be provided for by employers. Note that the words “reasonable quantity” is not strictly defined, which means it is very subjective. The questions that might arise are: What constitutes reasonable? How much is reasonable quantity?
  • All workers are entitled to these “reasonable quantity” of services.
  • Even unorganized establishments or companies with no CBAs are covered by the bill.

This provision means that all enterprises or establishments, organized or those without CBAs, are covered by the bill, which means that all employers, including perhaps owner of small eateries, are legally obliged to shoulder the RH care services of their workers.

Since the makers of this consolidated legislative proposal are known statists or leftists, they inserted some legal trap so to legally coerce all potential RH bill victims into delivering the measure’s collectivist promises. Thus the bill’s Section 21 states the following Prohibited Acts:

SEC. 21. Prohibited Acts. – The following acts are prohibited:

1. Knowingly withhold information or impede the dissemination thereof, and/or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal, medically-safe and effective family planning methods;

2. Refuse to perform voluntary ligation and vasectomy and other legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of spousal consent or authorization.

3. Refuse to provide reproductive health care services to an abused minor, whose abused condition is certified by the proper official or personnel of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or to duly DSWD-certified abused pregnant minor on whose case no parental consent is necessary.

4. Fail to provide, either deliberately or through gross or inexcusable negligence, reproductive health care services as mandated under this Act, the Local Government Code of 1991, theLabor Code, and Presidential Decree 79, as amended; and

5. Refuse to extend reproductive health care services and information on account of the patient’s civil status, gender or sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, and nature of work; Provided, That all conscientious objections of health care service providers based on religious grounds shall be respected:Provided, further, That the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible: Provided, finally, That the patient is not in an emergency or serious case as defined in RA 8344 penalizing the refusal of hospitals and medical clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment and support in emergency and serious cases.

b) Any public official who prohibits or restricts personally or through a subordinate the delivery of legal and medically-safe reproductive health care services, including family planning;

c) Any employer who shall fail to comply with his obligation under Section 17 of this Act or an employer who requires a female applicant or employee, as a condition for employment or continued employment, to involuntarily undergo sterilization, tubal ligation or any other form of contraceptive method;

d) Any person who shall falsify a certificate of compliance as required in Section 14 of this Act; and

e) Any person who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this Act.

This fascist provision means that anyone may be held liable under this measure. Any employer, doctor, health care provider, educator or teacher, government official, or even ordinary person who fails to comply with the bill’s provision may be held liable.

Let me state that this proposal could be worse than most of dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ statist legal measures, if enacted into law. This is the only bill that seeks to penalize any person for what Rep. Edcel Lagman calls “maliciously disinformation”.

The leftists or the communists are known for spreading black propaganda, lies and fallacies in order to recruit and to attract more supporters and sympathizers, and to fool the public, particularly college students and the educated. Their aim is to subvert this country in order to turn it into a Maoist/Marxist slave pen. However, no bill or legal measure was/is passed in order to discourage these leftists and communists because that would violate their freedom to express their feelings, ignorance and idiocy.

Section 21(e) of the bill, which penalizes any person for an alleged act of “malicious disinformation” about “the intent or provisions of this Act”, is utterly violative of free speech, thus this measure is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

The provision of our semi-socialist 1987 Constitution is very clear in regard to the protection of free speech.

Article 3, Section 4 of the Charter states:

No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

However, some altruists in Congress who are detached from  reality makes it a punishable sin to criticize the intents of their fascistic, statist political measure. The term “malicious disinformation” is very vague, general, non-objective and disastrously undefined. Objective law is the hallmark of a free society.

If the bill were enacted, anyone (e.g., a blogger, a newspaper columnist, a Facebooker, etc.) who is deemed to have engaged in “malicious disinformation” about the intent or provision of the bill may be held accountable.

If this is the case- if all employers or establishments- are legally required to follow the bill’s provisions under the pain of possible fine or imprisonment or both, or to be legally immolated and sacrificed in the name of the poor, especially women, then I predict that this measure, if ever translated into law, will have the following unintended consequences:

  • Big government, which means the government will have to assume a bigger role to rule our lives.
  • More government regulations of the business community, the medical profession, and the education sector.
  • There would be higher prices of commodities and services, including medical services. Why is this the case? It’s because employers and even hospitals would be compelled to raise their prices in order to offset the RH expenses they pay for their workers. If they don’t do this, they’d go BROKE!
  • There would be more regulations and controls to come. The government could even issue PRICE CONTROLS in order to legally prevent companies from raising their prices.
  • The system would corrupt the entire medical profession. Since RH services would be partly or even fully subsidized by the government and/or paid for by employers, hospitals might look at opportunities to get more patients or RH beneficiaries rather than focusing on quality health care. How much should a hospital charge for every RH care visit to be covered by Philhealth or a private company? How would the government or state regulators know whether a particular clinic or hospital mis-declare the number of its patients, its price, etc?
  • Private companies and firms would be compelled to lay off workers or not to hire women or new workers in order to avoid more RH care expenses. This is very much possible since the bill includes punitive or penal provisions against employers who refuse or fail to comply with their “responsibilities.”
  • There would be less innovation in the medical industry since one of the effects of the bill is that it justifies state or government’s fixing of the prices of medical services. If the government through PhilHealth pays for the RH case expenses of poor people and if employers pay for the expenses of their workers, then that gives the government the “right” to regulate or control the prices of RH services.
  • The government would be compelled to levy additional tax rates or new taxes or borrow money from foreign sources in order to fully deliver the promises of the bill.
  • The bill, if ever enacted, would have a negative impact on our individual rights and freedom, as it allows the government to have more power to heavily regulate the business sector, the medical profession, the education sector, and to rule our lives.

SAY NO TO THIS FASCIST BILL BY ANOTHER NAME! Oppose this bill for being anti-rights, anti-freedom of choice, anti-business, anti-freedom, anti-Life as a whole!

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