I’ve said before that what annoys me about the “pro-life” stance is that everyone on the opposite end is implied to be anti-life when, in fact, the RH Bill is nothing but pro better quality of life. The church blindly says sex is for marriage and sex within marriage only for procreation. So here go the ignorant, the uneducated in their dark, cramped shanties having all the sex and all the children. Where is the church when they need to clothe their kids? Feed their babies? Send them to school?
Oh, but no, the church barks down from their high horse of morality and says this is how it should be, not really taking the time to show them, to educate, to guide. Isn’t this irresponsibility then, their failing too?
The RH Bill is not a cure - it’s only one factor in what should be a multi-part solution. It will provide care and information to those that want it, don’t even know they need it, and desperately need it. It will provide relief to the woman who at 28 has 10 children already and choices to the 18 year old who is really not emotionally or mentally prepared to handle a baby if it came. It will make resources available that weren’t there before - contraceptive aids and medical help at the grassroots where it counts.
Just like AIDS and HIV, maternal and newborn deaths and complications are preventable. Having 15 children and no means to support them is not cancer. Having a dangerous illegal abortion at 16 is not cancer. These can all be prevented. Shouldn’t we do all we can to do that?
To be clear, the RH Bill is not pro-abortion. Here is what it aims to do:
- Prevent pregnancy-related health risks in women: a woman’s ability to space and limit her pregnancies has a direct impact on her health and well-being. Family planning allows spacing of pregnancies and can delay pregnancies in young women at increased risk of health problems and death from early childbearing. This reduces maternal mortality.
- Reduce infant mortality: family planning can prevent closely spaced and ill-timed pregnancies and births, which contribute to some of the world’s highest infant mortality rates. Infants of mothers who die as a result of giving birth also have a greater risk of death and poor health.
- Help to prevent HIV/AIDS: family planning reduces the risk of unintended pregnancies among women living with HIV, resulting in fewer infected babies and orphans. In addition, male and female condoms provide dual protection against unintended pregnancies and against STIs including HIV.
- Reduce the need for unsafe abortion: by reducing rates of unintended pregnancies, family planning reduces the need for unsafe abortion, which accounts for 13% of global maternal mortality.
- Empower people: family planning enables people to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
- Reduce adolescent pregnancies: pregnant adolescents are more likely to have preterm or low birth-weight babies. Babies born to adolescents have higher rates of neonatal mortality. Many adolescent girls who become pregnant have to leave school. This has long-term implications for them as individuals, their families and communities.
- Slow population growth: family planning is key to slowing unsustainable population growth and the resulting negative impacts on the economy, environment, and national and regional development efforts.