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Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Responsible Parenthood bill in the Philippines and its proponents are not neutral

Something struck me about how this is being sold to the public. The pitch goes like this: the bill does not favor artificial contraception over natural family planning, so it's really up to couples to judge for themselves. In other words, the government and the bill's proponents are being neutral.
Set aside for now the fact that so-called reproductive health services, products and education will be made available in one form or another to *individuals* from Grade 5 and up, not couples. Here's a thought experiment.
Let's say that there were two bills proposed, one supporting NFP, one supporting artificial contraception. Considering each method separately, whether to use it or not, an important factor is that the government endorses it, and will subsidze it. That is how members of the public will see it as they weigh the methods separately.
And here's is another indication: neither the president (even as a senator) nor the bill's proponents, seem to have ever lifted a finger to advance the use of NFP, despite the fact that *it does not require legislation to do so*. Nor does it need the purchase of products, pharmaceutical or otherwise, that are restricted by law. The bill's proponent has been pushing his RH/RP bill for three years. If he and other government officials in his camp truly had the welfare of families in mind, and if they were neutral regarding artificial vs natural methods, they should have aggressively pursued the inexpensive NFP option long ago, without needing legislation.
Why haven't they?

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