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Categorized | Society

Pro-Choice, Be Safe

I take birth control pills. So what. I could tell you it’s because it helps to regulate my often haywire menstrual cycle (one time six months without a period – it’s a good thing I’m an extremely good girl and have nothing to worry about). Or that the pills help control acne (I hate that at my age I still get besieged with pimples!). Still the incident the other week: “You’re still taking birth control pills!” my sis exclaimed as she saw the pack in my bag. I felt like I’d just been caught with my hand down the cookie jar. The above reasons I’d cited and said to her, sounded so lame to my ears (nevertheless, both are true by the way!). Because to the contrary, I certainly do not have a swinging sex life (haven’t been kissed for the longest time, let alone…). And it’s not like I jump into bed with any man I fancy (really, I’d much rather prefer to say, I stroll into bed and take my own sweet time). So why do I take these pills which I have to remember to take everyday (no mean feat for someone who’s as absent-minded as me)? I guess it’s about having control over one’s body,  having a choice in the matter.

I guess it’s a no-brainer why women feel more passionately about the reproductive health bill than men. I mean, women can get pregnant. Men can’t. And as trite as Ms. Universe Sushmita Sen’s answer, that the essence of being a woman is to love, and the role that we do as mothers”. Not that I’m supplanting Ms. Universe, but I believe the essence of being a woman also lies in her exercising that right to her own body, and having that choice to bear children or not.

See, I’ve researched the matter quite thoroughly. As compelling as the evidence is, from population experts, about the declining population of certain developed countries and how this will affect the country’s economic future later on. When it comes down to it, no woman tells herself: “I’m going to have kids because the world population is declining”. It boils down to a personal choice – am I ready to bring kids into this world – do I even have the time and patience for them – do I see myself working my ass off for an X number of years till he/she finishes college? I won’t be dissuaded from my convictions with a rational answer, when the very act of procreation entails not reason, but is ruled by one’s passions and bodily desires. So the logical stance just won’t cut it for me.

It irks me to no end, to live in a country where the typical Filipino male’s excuse for not using a condom is because it diminishes sexual feeling/pleasure. Or that the average Filipina thinks contraception is the man’s job. Sister, bring a condom on a date if you have to! Being safe is your responsibility, not the man’s! You read about health workers in Manila giving contraceptives under the table, because the city mayor is anti-RH. Or to be an HR person and be declined a family-planning training in Tagaytay (all expenses c/o USAid) because the boss is a staunch Catholic. (Well I was hankering after enjoying the breezes of Tagaytay, but I was also thinking about the plight of our mfg workers who were having children left and right!).

The question of having children strikes me to the very core. I’ve had my OB-gyne tell me: “No you’re too young to have a ligation. You may still want to have kids in the future!”. Just recently, someone proposed to me, not just for my hand, but for my belly as well. You’d think such a gesture romantic – but throw that to a middle-aged woman (!) who’s had two kids who’ve far outgrown their toddler years, and you’ll find one hysterical gal on your hands (and an imminent break-up). Don’t get me wrong. I love being a mom. There’s no feeling that equals to how your heart melts when you see your kids sleeping at night (haha, you know how that feeling of tenderness is almost always present when they’re asleep, for when they’re awake, parenting can prove quite a harrowing experience! And you get a glimmer of understanding why some mentally imbalanced parents murder their children, and why some animal species devour their young). So yes, precisely because I’m a mom and a single one at that so I know how being a parent is an awesome responsibility. And women (and grudgingly, okay men as well) should have a say on whether they should have kids or not.

So I continue to take my pills. For all those reasons I’ve cited. Or maybe it’s the dream of someone. Someone who can make you throw all caution to the winds (and yet still maintain a little bit of sanity to safeguard against the consequences of pregnancy and STDs). Say, the chance that Jude Law might unexpectedly drop into my corner of the world!

DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the position of the Filipino Freethinkers.