Saturday, August 4, 2012
Vote No To RH Bill
By BERNARDO M. VILLEGAS
August 2, 2012, 6:31pm
MANILA, Philippines — In the unlikely event that the RH Bill will be finally be put to a vote in the House of Representatives before the current session is over, every member of Congress should vote a resounding NO TO THE RH BILL. A law based on the assumption of the desirability of birth or population control is pure economic nonsense when all the kudos and praises being heaped on the Philippine economy by international organizations – both governmental and private – are citing the advantages of a growing and young population. A recent report from Bloomberg (one of the leading business news agencies) was just headlined “Philippines Leads in Demographic Dividend of Supply of Young Workers.” The very bullish article about the Philippines – just echoing many others that have come out since the beginning of the current year – pointed out that the so-called demographic dividend from a rising supply of young workers is one reason Japan’s second-largest shipbuilder expanded in the Philippines, where workers are on average half the age of its Japanese employees. Chua Hak Bin, an economist in Singapore at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch division agrees: “The Philippines is a ‘standout’ among countries set to benefit from a bigger labor pool, with its rate of economic expansion likely to rise as much as 1.5 percentage points higher during the next decade.”
Passing the RH Bill would be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Already China and Thailand – still with relatively large populations – are suffering from labor shortages because of the rapid aging of their populations over the last decade or so. Such a negative demographic trend can be traced to very aggressive birth control programs that were based on artificial contraceptives and, in the case of China, on coercion and abortion. China and Thailand may be the first important countries in the history of humanity to grow old before becoming rich. They clearly illustrate the folly of a population management program that always leads to the unintended effect of cutting fertility rates to abnormally low levels which have very deleterious effects on the national economy. The Philippines does not need any population management program because its fertility rate is already rapidly falling. Within a generation, the fertility rate of the Philippines will be at below-replacement level of 2.1 babies per fertile woman. Today, thanks to a large population, the Philippines is one of the few countries whose GDP still growing at 6 percent or more because its businesses can sell to a lucrative domestic market even as exports suffer a dramatic slowdown. In contrast, territories with small populations like Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong will suffer from very slow or no economic growth this year because of their heavy dependence on exports. If Congress passes the RH Bill, they will plant the seed of a contraceptive mentality among married couples, as has happened in all the Northeast Asian countries who are now suffering from a severe “demographic winter.” We must find some ways of eradicating poverty, building more classrooms, and reducing maternal and child mortalities without nurturing a very counterproductive contraceptive culture in Philippine society.
Besides economic science, there are other sciences that can demonstrate that the RH Bill, if passed, will do more harm than good. Certain types of contraceptive pills (not all) can kill babies. Because medical science has demonstrated that human life begins at fertilization, certain “abortifacient” pills kill human life because they act on the human embryo after fertilization. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology pronounced that the IUD (intrauterine device) brings about the destruction of the early embryo (187: 1699-1708). Furthermore, the International Agency for Research on Cancer reported in 2007 that the contraceptive pill causes cancer, giving it the highest level of carcinogenicity, the same as cigarettes and asbestos. According to a publication of the American Heart Association (33: 1202--1208), pills also cause stroke, and significantly increase the risk of heart attacks.
In the social sciences, there are findings that the contraceptive lifestyle destroys the very foundation of society, the family. According to Nobel Prize winner George Akerlof, who combines the study of economics and psychology, contraceptives tend to degrade marriage and lead to more extramarital sex, more fatherless children, more single mothers, and more psychologically troubled adolescents. His findings are purely empirical in nature and have no moral undertones. Also, contrary to the claims of the proponents of the RH Bill, condoms promote the spread of AIDS. Harvard Director of AIDS Prevention, Edward C. Green, once wrote that according to the best evidence available, condoms give a false sense of security and prompt people to be more reckless in assuming sexual risks, thus worsening the spread of the sexually transmitted diseases. Thailand, that has the highest incidence of AIDS-HIV in East Asia, could be cited as a testimony to this.
Obviously, the best thing that can happen on August 7 is for the majority of the members of the House of Representatives to vote against stopping the period of interpellation. As the ongoing global crisis unfolds, there are more and more arguments that can be mustered against the proponents of the RH Bill. These up-to-date findings deserve to be aired in the floor debates. There is an estimate that some 80 members of the House of Representatives have not made up their minds about the pros and cons of the RH Bill. They still need to be enlightened. If the majority of the House, however, should decide otherwise, i.e., that it is time to put to vote this contentious and very controversial bill that is unnecessarily dividing the country during a crucial moment of our national life, then let every one who is really thinking of the common good of Philippine society vote NO TO THE RH BILL.