Today on ANC’s Headstart Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez has stated that she is against the RH bill because she worries about the bill disintegrating the moral fiber of Philippine society. Perhaps she should ask herself, is this moral fiber worth protecting? Is this wonderful moral fiber doing more for our country’s reproductive health than an RH bill would?
According to this social moral fiber, Filipino teenagers should not be having sex. What the Philippines has instead is one of the highest incidences of teenage pregnancy in Asia. Clearly this moral fiber has not been doing a very good job in stopping teenage sex. Contrast this with the sex education that is part of the RH bill. It’s been found that giving teenagers sex education delays teenage sexual activity. Informed sexual behavior serves our youths better than a moral fiber that denies what is happening in reality. Should we put a moral fiber that has not been working up on a pedestal to the detriment of our youths?
If this moral fiber is better than the RH bill, then this moral fiber ought to be stopping abortions. Its an undeniable fact that abortions happen in the Philippines. According to the national estimate, the number of abortions each year is around 400,000 to 500,000. When contraception has been shown to reduce abortion, then the people who decide to stand behind moral fiber instead of passing the RH bill are effectively saying they do not care enough for the women who feel forced to undergo abortion to do anything to lower that number. They care more for the moral fiber that hasn’t been working than they do for actual women.
The moral fiber argument against the RH bill becomes even more morally bankrupt when you actually have to use your moral courage. Can you do the ethical thing even if it means going against those who claim to be the keepers of “moral fiber”?
Maternal deaths are on the rise. It speaks volumes about your moral fiber when you choose not to do anything about deaths so easily preventable with a comprehensive reproductive health program. It says even more about your actual moral courage when you can defend your decision to do nothing by citing “moral fiber”.
Lucy Torres-Gomez speaks of social moral fiber. What does it say of our society’s moral fiber when abortion is so looked down upon that some health care professionals will shun women who require post abortion care, will have no empathy for these women in need of medical attention? A society of higher moral fiber would be able to put aside their judgement and condemnation and see a woman in need of care.
Critics of the RH bill who say they are defending “moral fiber”, or “Filipino values” need to actually examine what it is they are defending. Morals, values, and ethics are not static things. As we find out more about the human experience we progress in the way we think about things. Do the values you defend reflect the best of what we understand? The best that we can do to make the lives of our fellow human beings better?