I will readily admit that my previous writings have been possessed of the sort of presumptive self-assurance that only a complete lack of professional credentials can bring. Regarding Malacanang’s recent proposal to put up a Responsible Parenthood bill to replace the Reproductive Health bill however, I find myself hoping to God that I could be wrong.
I want to be wrong in thinking that this constitutes more than a simple name change or rebranding. I want to believe that this new bill will not gut the existing RH Bill’s vital provisions on ensuring access to modern effective contraceptives, pre/post natal care and age appropriate sex education. I want it to be a coincidence, the way that recent Palace lines about ‘natural family planning centers’ echo the previous administration’s rosary bead rythm method bracelets.
I fervently wish to be wrong about suspecting our good President of conducting exactly the sort of shady backroom deal-making he criticized his predecessor for doing. Perhaps the CBCP officials that he keeps admitting to meeting with behind closed doors are moral exemplars embodying the best Christian values of honesty, humility and kindness. Good men and wome… well, just men actually, who are honest and humble enough to present and accept the best scientific evidence for their arguments, and are kind enough not to try bullying publicly elected officials into crafting public policies without public discussion. You know, different people from the ones they keep letting out of their compound to talk to everyone else.
In my ideal world, this article and others like it raising concerns about these developments will turn out to be silly and pointless. Six months into the future, I want everybody to point and laugh at me for having worried as we all stand triumphant on a meaningful, substantive and effective bill. I want to be dead wrong in thinking that Responsible Parenthood might be a huge public relations bait-and-switch and the ultimate betrayal of everything that everyone has fought for all these years.