uphold rh law

Did the parents of this poor boy know that they had a choice on the size of their family? Did they know about sex education? It saddens me that the Philippine bishops misrepresent the RH Law as something that promotes abortion and of adolescent promiscuity. I feel these bishops have been intellectually dishonest and ignored the good faith of the RH advocates. They have failed to proclaim the life-saving and values-formation character of this public health measure.

It is my dream that couples will know about these choices, once the Reproductive Health Law (RH Law) is in place.

I am blessed to be married to the love of my life for the past 29 years, my boyfriend for 7 years. He is my one and only lover and to see our children are truly miracles of God and a union of our love. What more can I ask from God? A baby is a gift of life. Tears of joy always overcome me in every birth of my children. They are truly God’s greatest gifts ever given to me. I wish every mother receives this gift of life.

It is this wish that prompted me to support the Reproductive Health Bill in 2008 and now pushing that the RH Law will finally be implemented.

The Catholic Church here in the Philippines are insinuating that the RH Law is about abortion, at least based from pro-lifers on Twitter.

contraceptives from the Catholic church

More than 12,000 Catholics from five continents answered questions in a massive survey commissioned by Univision and conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International. Topics covered included all the issues most likely to generate lively discussion among Catholics all over the world. Here’s how they responded through this result page.

What I found out is that 78% of Catholics support the use of Contraception. In the Philippines, 68% support contraception. This is an eye-opener for the Catholic Church.

survey of the catholic church

Part of the RH Law is about using contraceptives so you can have babies only when you want to, and so you can achieve a family size you can comfortably support. It is about producing children with love and producing them responsibly so your limited resources can provide them a good life, not one where they sleep in sidewalks. It is about helping women avoid the health complications caused by closely-spaced births or unplanned late pregnancies. Caring about all these things is being concerned with life.

To borrow the words of RH Advocate, Beth Angsioco, “In the name of reproductive justice, our Justices should uphold the RH law.” The health and well-being of millions of our mothers and children now hang in the balance as the future of the RH Law as it is now being deliberated in the Supreme Court.

See the survey results

Catholics around the world more liberal than the Vatican

*Cringe*. I am sure some of you are not too comfortable about the topic especially with our children. But….Let’s not be in denial.

Parents need to wake up to reality.

32% of the youth aged 15-24 engage in sex and 78% of this is unprotected sex, according to DRRP and UP study.

Data from YAFS 4 indicate that 32 percent of young Filipinos between the ages of 15 to 24 have had sex before marriage. This shows a significant increase from 17.8 percent in 1994 and 23.2 percent in 2002. By age groups, more of those in the 20-24 age group had sex before marriage (54 percent) than those aged 15-19 (17 percent).

The highest premarital sex prevalence were found in the National Capital Region (NCR), (40.9 percent), and Central Luzon (39.1 percent) while the lowest was in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), (7.7 percent).

Beth Angsioco, reminds us “Let us not forget that per the respondents’ profile, more than 70 percent of them are Catholics. Yet, the Catholic hierarchy and its allies are blocking the implementation of the RH law, the law that can help young people responsibly manage their sexual lives.”

Just before I had kids , a friend told me that her daughter was only 18 years old when she got pregnant. This happened during their first date. She expressed regret that she should have never assumed that her girl will never have sex before marriage. She says she should have lectured her girl about protection. My friend’s story left such an imprint on my mind that I resolved to teach my girls all I can about sex education when the appropriate time came. I knew I could not leave it to the school to teach them about it.

Let’s see…

What is happening to our sex education?

Sex Education

With the Reproductive Health Law still in TRO, sex education is left hanging in public schools. It is optional though when the law is in effect. Let’s look at this statement from Dr. Angelita Aguirre, head of Human Life International. (CBCP: Scrap sex lessons)

““The module should be scrapped. It does not have the emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions of human sexuality. This is very important,”

““The code of morality is high. We are not pagans. We would like to pressure everybody indulging in a conjugal act to get married first,” she said.

Aguirre pointed out that the modules did not mention that a person had to get married before having sex.

Saying NO is easy for some kids but not everyone has a strong will. Sex Education goes beyond just saying “NO” .

Source of photo: bible.ca

As a concerned parent of two girls, I took an active role in teaching the basics of sex education even if their Catholic high school included a bit of sex education in their curriculum. Much as I want my two girls to get married first before having sex, this kind of sex education strategy (get married before having sex) does not make sense to teens these days. First of all, some Catholic schools instill fear of committing mortal sin even on sexual feelings. Why can’t they explain about raging hormones instead of judging their feelings? It’s a confusing time for teenagers. Most often, these high school girls turn to their girl classmates for relationships. How many girl-girl relationships are occuring in all girl schools? Often, the school turns a blind eye because these relationships won’t induce pregnancy. Secondly, our teens are exposed to sexual images in magazines, TV, movies and the internet.

The issue of morality can be taught separately from sex education. Morality is taught in the Christian Living Education or its equivalent like Values Education.

God has a strong view of any kind of immorality, so we should try to err on the side of purity. For example, the apostle Paul said that the Church will be presented to Christ as a pure virgin bride:

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)

sex education lectures
Photo source: natcom.org

My mother discussed sex openly with me when I was 15 years old. I knew the morality issue already and formed my own beliefs at that age. Mom didn’t have to go through the graphic details but what struck me was the responsibility of the sexual act. In the same manner, I discussed sex education with my two girls as “are you ready to have children?

When they blurted “NO WAY“, I added “Then you should abstain until you are ready“. My own definition of “readiness” is when one is married but I didn’t want to explicitly state that fact yet.

I continued “Don’t even believe your boyfriend when he says he has protection“.

They giggled. I gave a clear example of a family friend who got pregnant at the age of 18 because she thought she wouldn’t get pregnant at that age. Besides it was her first time.

Then I continued “just one tiny drop contains millions of sperm to impregnate you. It takes only 1 sperm cell, mind you!

Then I proceeded to explain how the second daughter and Luijoe were conceived …and…

ewww. I dont want to listen now

I explained condoms, birth control etc are not fool proof methods of birth control.

We need to teach them responsible parenthood together with the sex education. We don’t need to teach everything but at least give them the basic facts. Along the way, the children can do some more research on their own.

Phillipine Catholic Bishops Oppose Sex-Ed in Schools, Say it Should be Left to Parents is true if all parents know how to discuss sex with their children. We can’t assume parents know how to discuss sex openly. Some might be uneducated to understand the anatomy of reproduction and thus fail to grasp natural birth control methods.

The schools together with the parents can bridge the gap of sex education.

If you are a parent, are you ready to tackle the topic of sex education with your children?

Photo source: voicesofyouth.wordpress.com

(This was originally written on July 2006 )