I made this note as a mother, a wife, a doctor and a Roman Catholic. And I strongly support the Reproductive Health Bill or simply the RH Bill. The provisions in the Reproductive Health Bill would also support the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality and infant mortality rate.
Seated in the comfort of my office, a patient came in for consultation. As I was asking questions regarding the reasons of her visit, the patient told me that, “Doc. I missed my menses for 6 days, unsa may maayo nga tambal para padugo (what medication should I take to induced menstruation)?”
Having heard this, I asked, did you take a pregnancy test? She answered in the affirmative: “pero Doc. Dili pa man ni bata, dugo pa man ni (but Doc, this is not yet a baby, this is still blood).” Among the reasons of the women want to have an abortion who are in the same situation as my patient are purely economic reasons and some are very close in birth spacing in which the parents are not yet ready for another child.
As a daughter of devout Catholic parents of which my late mother is a Family Life Apostolate lecturer, the idea of being an accomplice in the conduct of abortion is a horrible act to do. I usually tell the women to please let the pregnancy push through then after this we will discuss measures on how to prevent another unwanted pregnancy.
As what former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral said, 560,000 to 858,000 had illegal abortion. Based on the statistics, it is said that 2,000,000 pregnancies are unwanted and 11 maternal deaths. These glaring numbers could be reduced by 1/3 if and when massive information, education and campaign on family planning will be given priority.
The Reproductive Health Bill has been once again the center of debate and public discourse. The RH Bill, as stated in its introduction, guarantees universal access to methods of birth control and maternal care. The two consolidated versions of the RH Bill i.e. House Bill No. 4244 and Senate Bill No. 2865 are now pending in the plenary debate in Congress.
Verses in Luke 11:5-13 says: “Which of your fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” And if your child asks for an egg, will you give a scorpion? Even you evil people know how to give gifts to your children, how much more then will the father in heaven give Holy Spirit to those who asked him!
It is our obligation, as parents, to provide good nutrition, proper education, a suitable home and genuine love to our children. It is not enough that we will give them life; it should be a life worth living. We might not give them everything they want but we give them the essential things they need. But how you provide them enough food or shelter if your finances are scarce and much more if you have a big family? I hope that I will not be excommunicated if I say that “if the prophet and the Messiah are to live today, they will surely not say “Go to the world and multiply”. Before, there are vast hectares of lands and resources to share but now, there are a lot of people with diminution of resources. Some teachings, in my opinion, change with time.
Being a mother, with three beautiful daughters aged 9-10 and 12 years old respectively, I welcome the idea that family planning will be taught to school children beginning Grade V to secondary education. This will give them the idea and information of their sexuality and how to preserve it. We, as parents, do not have adequate time to teach our children this because we are also earning for a living. However, valuable formation should be given much attention.
Family planning, whether natural of artificial, has the same goal, that is, not to let the sperm and egg meets so that fertilization will not take place. But being married, one of the most enjoyable things to do is too have a sexually-gratifying relationship without thinking of having an unwanted baby. “A baby is a God-given gift so that he/she therefore should be loved, wanted, cared for without restraint”.
I am therefore supporting the vision which the RH Bill introduces that “every pregnancy be wanted that it would culminate to a healthy baby without compromising the health of the mother.”
Evangeline Revilla, MD
Municipal Health Officer
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