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MANILA, July 23, 2012—As a medical doctor chided proponents and staunch backers of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill for pushing the measure despite serious and much-publicized flaws, the youth composing the 1,400-strong audience at the NCR Youth Day for Life openly expressed their approval for the thumbs-down sentiment towards the controversial bill.
“Informed decision, informed consent is a basic right and consideration of ethical systems to provide correct, factual, truthful information,” Dr. Angelita Aguirre said, emphasizing the deception going on as far as the disclosure of the harmful effects of birth control supplies to patients is concerned.
The young delegates at the whole-day event were rapt in attention as Aguirre presented the workings of oral contraceptives and intra-uterine devices (IUDs), serious injuries and deaths that have resulted from their use, real-life cases she had encountered in her medical practice, and the fact that the pill-breast/endometrial cancer link has long been established in the medical field.
Tackling the truth on sex ed, beginning of life
In tackling the basics of the beginning of human life, the physician, who has for decades been engaged in the pro-life crusade, criticized the sex education program which the government insists on pushing via House Bill 4244 or the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
“Hindi mo kailangang ituro [ang human sexuality] sa lahat ng subjects sa loob ng anim na taon, at kung anu-ano pang ibang sasabihin mo. Life starts at fertilization,” she pointed out, adding that any student would understand such a basic concept.
“And if you did something that will prevent this fertilized ovum from traveling and implanting, what are you doing? It’s an early abortion. So if you took something to prevent it from implanting, it is wrong. It’s abortion. Again it’s not church data, it’s scientific,” she explained, and flashed a bibliography that included embryology and other textbooks that would verify the information.
“We are human beings from the moment of conception. Ito ang hindi kinikilala ng RH bill.”
The audience was intermittently silent and animated, depending on what the speaker was presenting, and when the physician presented data and explanations on the harm of homosexual activity, the young participants appeared rapt in attention again.
“You must know this because freedom devoid of truth is slavery, hindi ba? Ang kalayaan na sala sa katotohanan ay isang pang-aalipin, and that is exactly what RH bill is doing to us,” Aguirre asserted.
“Take note we must be compassionate and respect people with same-sex attraction,” she reminded the youth. “Even if one is a pagan, he must be told that sodomy is wrong, not just morally but also scientifically. Why? Because the rectum was not made for sexual intercourse; it was designed for the body’s [waste materials to pass through] it. The rectum is single-layered and has no lubrication so it can be easily bruised.”
“There’s actually a high rate of infection among people who sodomize,” she said.
After giving the lowdown on eugenicist Margaret Sanger and a brief history of the American Birth Control League/Planned Parenthood, and how the organization has partnered up with groups worldwide including the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), the feisty speaker extolled the merits of abstinence and fidelity anchored on genuine love.
What actually happens in gov’t health centers
Providing another perspective to the doctor’s presentation was Leanne Rosal, a registered nurse who shared her experiences while working for a government hospital. She lamented the irony of health centers being stocked with oral contraceptives yet lacking in the basic medicines and medical supplies.
“Sinabi ko sa mga kasama ko, ‘bakit natin kailangang mamigay ng contraceptives kung ‘yung mga kailangan nating ibigay sa mga health center hindi natin kayang ibigay?’” Rosal recalled, explaining that the death of patients in many cases – many of them children – could have been prevented had the hospital been equipped with medicine for cough, fever and other such ailments.
Rosal related instances which had talking with women who queue up at the health center to be given birth control pills.
“Kapag tinanong mo sila, ‘Alam niyo po ba kung ano ‘tong gamot na ‘to?’ sasabihin nila, ‘Vitamins ‘yan, pampalakas ng katawan,” the nurse lamented.
She also affirmed her dedication to upholding life no matter what.
“As a nurse I vowed I won’t administer a deleterious drug, and I know from what I have learned that Depo-provera will kill women. It won’t help women, “she told the audience, who cheered her after she expressed her pro-life conviction.
Sounding out an appeal
The young nurse then directed her next remarks to her “former boss, [Health] Secretary Ona,” and appealed for a shift in priorities in addressing the health needs of the Filipino people.
“I know you’ve given out a memorandum on the RH bill, but before we do that, kahit wheelchair ng mga taong nakapila’t may sakit, ibigay naman natin yon. Please give wheelchairs and stretchers to the ERs of hospitals.”
“Alam kong importante din ang maternal health, “ she continued, “pero bakit sa may simpleng sakit na tuberculosis they could not be given proper health management by our government? Seventy-five people die everyday [due to tuberculosis]. It pains my heart as a nurse. Why? Because everytime I’m in the hospital I see people dying and I see people struggling for life, and here we are pushing a bill that will destroy the essence of life.”
In an earlier interview, NCR Youth Ministry coordinator Peter Eric Pardo said the event may be followed by a series of activities in the respective dioceses of the youth participants as venues to echo the fruits of the July 22 gathering, which drew remarkably more participants than expected. (CBCP for Life)