Miriam on RH

In brief, the RH bill merely wants to empower a woman from the poorest economic class to march to the nearest facility operated by the Department of Health or the local government unit, to demand information on a family planning product or supply of her choice.  The bill, at the simplest level, wants to give an indigent married woman the freedom of informed choice concerning her reproductive rights.

If the bill is highly controversial, it is not because it is dangerous to humans or to the planet.  It is not subversive of the political order.  It is not a fascist diktat of a totalitarian power structure.  The reason this bill is emotionally charged is because of the fervent opposition of the Catholic church in the Philippines and those who wish to be perceived as its champions.

Every year that a new Congress is convened, an RH bill is filed, provokes heated debate, consumes tons of newsprint, and then it lapses into a coma.  There it remains, until it is resurrected at the next Congress, only to go through the same rigmarole of passion, flailing arms, doomsday scenarios, threats of Armaggedon, and an implicit competition among its champions for canonization as defender of the faith.

And yet the rest of the Catholic world is unimpressed by the implicit threat that if the Congress passes the RH bill, an asteroid will dive straight into planet earth and obliterate the entire human race, particularly those who are pro-RH.  In fact, the very opposite has happened.  The majority of Catholic countries have passed reproductive health laws, led by Italy, where the Vatican is located.  The other Catholic but pro-RH countries are: Spain, Portugal, Paraguay, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina.  Of 48 Catholic countries profiled by the UN Population Fund, only six countries did not have an RH law.  The Philippines is among these six stragglers.

-Sen. Miriam Santiago on the Reproductive Health Bill

What makes this speech even more relevant is the insertion of liberation theology, human rights and Invictus, my favorite poem.


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