Here in Asia’s “oldest” democracy, traditional power blocs steadfastly oppose one another, often with breathtaking virulence. Tragically, it is the poor who tend to suffer most — unwilling pawns in power plays that affect their personal future and that of the entire country. For well over a decade, the struggle to pass an effective reproductive health (RH) bill has remained a source of bitter legislative contention.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) hold over the Senate and the House cannot be underestimated, considering that 2013 and 2016 already loom brightly in our not-too-distant political future. Still, some opponents of the RH bill appear to have dispensed with empiricism altogether, opting instead for legalistic (the RH bill is redundant), demographic (“winter” is well-nigh imminent), and moralistic (contraception is murder) hairsplitting. But in terms of our national well-being and the needless suffering of the poor, it is useful to examine what experts say.