Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III asserted that “only” four or five mothers die everyday of maternity complications instead of 11 as claimed by the pro-RH advocates. He further argued, “How many more (mothers) die from cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases? Why don’t we just concentrate on the 20 deaths a day from other causes and not on this, (which promotes) contraceptives?”
While his lower estimate has already been refuted through showing how the figures were arrived at erroneously, it must be pointed out that even four to five deaths per day amount to about 1,600 deaths per year. For comparison, the following are the number of fatalities in some of the recent disasters in Philippine history:
Typhoon Ondoy – 747
Sinking of MV Princess of the Stars – 800+
Air Philippines Flight 541 plane crash – 131
Cebu Pacific Flight 387 plane crash – 104
Tragic as they were, these catastrophes that shocked our nation for months actually pale in comparison to the maternity-related deaths; even with Sotto’s “low” estimate, annual maternal casualties are the equivalent of two Ondoys, two shipwrecks, or more than a dozen plane crashes.
More importantly, by saying that more deaths are caused by cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases in order to divert the focus from maternity-related deaths, Sotto is employing one of the dishonest arguments described in Robert Thouless’ book Straight and Crooked Thinking:
Its general form is to discourage action against some admitted evil by pointing to some other evil which is stated to be worse than the first evil, but about which the user of the argument is making no proposal to do anything. For example, as an argument against attempts to abolish war, it has been pointed out that more deaths have resulted from road accidents in this country during some number of past years than the total casualties of the Boer War. This would be a reasonable ground for trying to reduce the number of road accidents, but it is a dishonest argument when urged as a reason for not trying to prevent further repetitions of the Boer War. The dishonesty of this use of the argument lies in the fact that there is no good reason why we should not try to do both: to prevent people from being killed on the roads and also to prevent them from being killed in wars.
So there you have it, Mr. Senator. Just because more people are dying of other diseases does not mean we should no longer provide for the reproductive health of our mothers. If you are pro-life, the more you are expected to protect the very people who bring life into this world. After all, it’s very ironic and hypocritical that you make so much fuss about letting nothing stop the sperm from meeting the egg without giving a damn if those who are actually born ever get the chance to meet their mothers alive, to experience and cherish one of the most precious of human bonds, and to grow up to thank Mom for the gift of life. It takes a lot more than fertilization to achieve that.
Image from politicalarena.com