This is Part II of the reply, Part I is HERE
BERCERO: “Second, you claim to respect the right to choose. This is simply not true. Forgive me for lumping the actions of the Catholic Church hierarchy and its government allies with yours, but let’s not pretend that your ideals are not identical. If this is an inaccurate statement, then feel free to denounce the following.
Bercero is right in one thing when he says, “…let’s not pretend that your ideals are not identical.”, here, referring to both Pro-Life Philippines and the Catholic Church’s position. He says this because he fails to appreciate that these “identical” objectives, while rooted in Catholic teaching (grounded in natural moral law, read it HERE), affects secular society in a non-religious way. Being accountable for one’s actions (sexual intercourse) and being personally responsible by controlling one’s desires and passions, means sacrificing personal gratification for the greater good. Even from a secular point of view, the use of contraceptives, especially condoms, foster a mentality of loose morals, ethics and non-accountability. Consider that condoms are used mostly by non-married individuals trying to avoid STD’s and/or pregnancy and not usually by married couples wishing to plan their family, which the RH Law is supposed to serve (the given name was the Responsible PARENTHOOD bill after all). This means that Mr. Bercero’s desire to give poor couples the right to “choose” is being unduly taken advantage of by those whom the law was not created for. At the very least, we will thus be spending taxpayers money to support and encourage individuals to engage in sex and be complacent and unaccountable for their actions because the law will allow anyone to ask for contraceptives regardless of marital status! This leads us to our society’s big problem which is the lack of personal accountability and responsibility. Isn’t this the reason why our country is in this situation in the first place? Merely giving a “barrier” so one may have as much consequence-free sex as they want, will only foster this destructive culture of irresponsibility and self-entitlement.
BERCERO: “The Catholic Church and its members have worked tirelessly to restrict access to contraceptives, even just in recent memory. The city of Manila, under the mayoralty of then-Pro-Life Philippines President Lito Atienza (your president), banned the provision of contraceptives in city hospitals and health centers, which the poor had relied on. A stronghold of the Opus Dei and the Saint James the Great Parish, the Ayala Alabang Village, banned the sale of all contraceptives to anyone without a prescription, even for barrier methods. There were also several copycat ordinances in other parts the country…”
This is true and it is because the moral fiber of an individual, which is the foundation of a good society, is the lookout of every individual citizen and this is often guided by their faith, for instance, the Christian faith, of which most people in this country are members of. It so happens too that this same (Catholic) Church has said time and again that to propagate contraceptives leads to the proliferation of a contraceptive mentality, unwanted pregnancies, divorce, STD’s, pornography and a culture of non-accountability, all of which are detrimental to building a strong society (we are here not talking of economically strong but strong in character).
BERCERO: “The issue of choice is also not simply having contraceptives available for sale. To pretend that it is betrays a level of privilege that is inexcusable for a supposedly charitable organization. It goes against the very notion of social justice. This is like pretending that any poor person has the free choice to be a doctor or a lawyer, without the assistance of scholarships and educational subsidies.”
Mr. Bercero rightly points out a great failure of our government; the lack of access, by the poor, to scholarships and educational subsidies. However, his analogy between this and access to contraceptives is flawed. An education equips a person to be productive, get employed, earn and help lift up his family from poverty. We have seen this time and again in many noble stories of men and women who come from big, poor families and make something of their lives. Giving free contraceptives on the other hand, gives no value to a poor family. Any benefit from having fewer children will be marginal since, whether a family has two children or seven, if they have no access to medical care, education and clean surroundings, they will still be in the same situation of poverty.Consider how many families who were poor in our country and migrated to the U.S., for example, are now leading productive lives! While it is ideal to say “let us give both” the reality is (given the PDAF thievery scandal) the limited resources of the government cannot afford to do both.
In the case of safety of contraceptives, the question is, should the less fortunate, poor people, ignorant people, uneducated simple folk, people who have no access to any form of pre or post pregnancy medical care (or any kind of medical care for that matter) be given the “choice” to take a drug that may adversely affect them in the long term, for purely economic reasons? A rich person can go to a private Obstetrician to ask for contraceptives and receive at least some sound advice as to the side-effects and possible long term effects of such. A rich person would at least have the education to make such an inquiry and a paid physician would be obliged to answer such queries correctly. A rich person who takes OCP’s, should some cardiovascular event or carcinoma develop, would have access to the best diagnostic exams and medical care facilities to handle these. Would the same be true for those unjustly deprived poor that he talks about? Certainly not, where is the social justice that he talks about here?! It would be more socially just to pour money and address the chronic illnesses like TB, Pneumonia or Dysentery, diseases that very few rich folk die from. It would be more socially just to pour the money into education which only a minority of income-earners have access to.
BERCERO: “You seem to be oblivious to just how deprived of choice the poor are. … But if it needs to be said, let me say it. The poor cannot afford meals, let alone contraceptives. No, they did not have a choice before the RH Law, and they still don’t, thanks to the status quo ante order against the RH Law.”
Then logically, the sparse money we have must be channelled to more important things like food, education and medicine. Why then does Mr. Bercero still insist on pouring 4 billion pesos a year on contraceptives? I am willing to bet that if we made two lines and told our poor countrymen that they could line up to get only either free contraceptives or free food or medicines, they would choose food and medicines. If freedom of choice is his main concern then it would be sufficient to provide every health center with contraceptives (which they are already doing) and inform people that they are free and that they may avail of them anytime. There would be no need for a law on this. The simple fact is he naively believes that this is about a good government looking after the plight of the poor. The fact is, this is a foreign dictated depopulation agenda and the evidence is here. Who do you think funds the NGO’s who are pushing for this law and why? Who do you think benefits from the windfall in pharmaceutical products that will be supplied to the government?