Somebody told me this story about a mother who gave birth a hospital at MCU in Caloocan where her baby was delivered. The mother just had her 8th (or 9th) baby and that she just had tubal ligation as recommended to her by the doctor and to which the mother had gladly accepted the procedure. The mother didn’t really want that many babies but didn’t know what her options were until told by the doctor. (I say kudos to that doctor!) The mother was in her early 30s so we can say that at the pace she was delivering souls into this world, she could still deliver four or five more babies if not sterilized. The mother was ignorant about her choices. Also, tubal ligation is a safe procedure and is very effective.
The consolidated reproductive health and population bill (substitute bill to HB 4110 now filed in the current 14th congress) mandates some basic things to be in place, a structure, a program and an assured budget allocation towards promoting choice on reproductive health, for informing our women about their choices and providing the necessary and non-discriminatory access to these choices. This the government cannot do now because it’s not automatic and the Church leaders are opposing these programs each time the national government attempts to put something in place. Only if we have people like Juan Flavier running DOH can get things done even partially effectively and only while it lasts. The Church leaders don’t speak for the belief of its flock but they are the most influential with some bishops even threatening denial of communion (an absurd threat in this time and age except when made to a sagrado Katoliko types) to the lawmakers who support the bill. It’s a relief that we no longer live in the times of Rizal where the church and state is one and the same and where opposing the church/state can lead to a speedy mock trial and an execution.
The Catholic leaders just like many among us are ignorant about many things specially on issues on population. This ignorance is a product of our low-quality educational system which is in turn is a part of our low-quality-educated society. Unfortunately, again the Catholic Church plays a big part in this collective ignorance since there are many “high-quality” private schools run by religious institutions in the country that is short-changing our future by faithfully educating the people with religious BS but at the same time selectively teaching biological sciences to produce a population with collective ignorance of Charles Darwin’s contribution to the sciences. One cannot appreciate the real danger of the world with limited resources on the brink of collapse because the gradual manner that it is happening is hardly noticeable on a day to day basis. What’s worse is ignorance of the accelerating pace of this environmental collapse due to the damage caused by unsustainable population growth helped brought about by irrational policies. This reproductive health bill is one of the things that should help us stem the tide of population growth if enough mothers can be informed of their choices and be able to avail of these choices. Even with a steady population growth with sustainable development has environmental consequences in the form of rising demand on the limited resources the planet could offer.
One major objection by the moralist crusaders about the bill is that it will encourage promiscuity. Hello? They are really in the Dark Ages. They cannot stop what is already there. Many people are already having sex before and outside of marriage and with multiple partners. They no longer need encouragement. In fact, presumably many priests and bishops have presumably had sex at one time or anotheer so I don’t subscribe to the insinuation that they lack the experience on this matter. But if two consenting adults have sex and if all parties involved consented, what possible business do the priests and bishops have in it? Another objection is that the bill will legalize abortion. The latest bill is even more explicit in stating that it will not. Another objection is because of they say, “we don’t own our body”. That is of course a complete religious bullshit.
Catholics should be free to think and come to the conclusion by themselves. The church leaders are just as ignorant and fallible about many things and so don’t have the authority on truth. If history will be the basis, the Catholic hierarchy has even a very poor record on this regard, specially where science is concerned. (For example, the Catholic church has not yet fully acknowledged evolution as true.) The thinking that priests and bishops and popes and pastors know best is a sure ticket to being misled, hopefully without getting your money. This include the truth on reproductive health and population issues that should be debated freely and without coercion (e.g., no threat of any kind like from organized religion) based on empirical facts.
Finally, the non-Catholics should be able to avail of their medical choices without the Catholics refusing them.