Below is Part 1 of Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s “turno en contra” speech against the Reproductive Health Bill, as delivered on the Senate floor on Monday, August 13.
To set the tone of my turno and contra speech, I’m presenting less than a minute, short video to show the greatest gift that God has given man.
[VIDEO, with background music Tanging Yaman]
Mr President, my esteemed colleagues, I stand up for life. This chamber, the Senate, is an institution that traces its lineage to the political structure of ancient Rome where matters of policy were debated and decided in a council of elders, Senatus Populusque Romanus, the Senate and the people of Rome. At that time, as now, the issues were hotly argued and sometimes lives and honors put at risk and scrutiny.
Our times, our chamber, and our persons will be defined and judged not only by the bills that become laws but also the bills that are lost and rejected. Past circumstances defined the Senate of their time. During the Commonwealth period, this chamber was defined by the issue of Philippine independence when my grandfather and namesake sat as senator, often clashing with then President Manuel Luis Quezon.
During the early years of the Republic, after the second world war, this chamber was defined when it favored parity rights for Americans, then popular but which historians later considered a sellout. During the 1970s, this chamber imploded with the declaration of Martial Law and after the EDSA Revolution of 1986 and thereafter, this chamber was resurrected and was distinguished by a newfound nationalism with its rejection of American military bases in 1991, which included the present Senate President.
Today, we will define ourselves again, Mr President, as we decide whether we shall adopt a measure that is dictated by outside cultures, forces and philosophies or we shall be true to our Filipino reverence for human life, the solidarity of the family, and the right of parents to determine their family size without interference from the state.
We have heard these past months, the sponsors of Senate Bill 2865 entitled An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Population and Development popularly known as Reproductive Health or the RH bill. Ang sabi po nila ay ang mga sumusunod:
- The RH bill will save the lives of the mother and the unborn. – Payag po ako diyan.
- The RH bill will provide Filipinos with information on reproductive health which they can use to make informed and intelligent decisions. – Payag din po ako diyan.
- The RH bill will provide Filipinos with access to health care facilities and skilled health professionals. – Ang alam ko ho, meron na iyan.
- The RH bill does not promote or legalize abortion. – I find this quite inaccurate, Mr President. Why? I will point out later.
- The RH bill does not impose one mode of family planning method on every Filipino woman and that every person will be allowed to choose the method suitable to her needs and her religious beliefs.
- The RH bill does not limit the size of the Filipino family.
- The RH bill does not promote sexual promiscuity among the Filipino youth.
Mr President as I mentioned earlier, under the rules of the Senate, I’m allowed to go on a general debate and I speak against the said bill, which we commonly call it the turno en contra. In other words, Mr President, kami naman po ang pakinggan niyo. I will now present my opposition to the RH bill in 4 parts, starting today, August 13, 2012. I hope to finish the first portion today and the remaining chapters in the coming days.
I seek the kind indulgence of this chamber to bear with me, I try my best to abbreviate it and as I’ve mentioned earlier, we will try to compact it more so that it will not take too much time of the Senate.
‘Life begins at conception’
Now Mr President, I strongly believe that Senate Bill 2865 is not necessary, not beneficial and not practical for our people. It will not serve the common good and therefore should be rejected. Deceptive information as well as unreliable and distorted statistics have been peddled by people whose motives I will unmask in succeeding chapters. They found their way into the arguments of the RH bill.
Now, my main objections to the Reproductive Health bill are as follows:
- The RH bill violates Philippine sovereignty, the Philippine Constitution and existing penal laws.
- The RH bill is detrimental to the health of a pregnant mother and puts the life of the unborn on the line.
- The RH bill violates our financial independence and the autonomy of local governments.
- The RH bill transgresses Filipino culture and family values.
Article II, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution provides, “The state shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.” In the records of the Constitutional Commission that crafted the 1987 Constitution, Commissioner Bernardo Villegas in his sponsorship speech dated September 12, 1986 on the article mandating the state to equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from the moment of conception stated, “The first question that needs to be answered: Is the fertilized ovum alive? Biology categorically says yes, the fertilized ovum is alive.”
Malinaw po na napag-usapan sa pagpanday ng ating Konstitusyon kung kalian naging tao ang tao. Ito ang katotohanan na ito ngayon ang binubuwag at nais palitan ng mga nagtutulak ng RH bill. Sa katunayan, ang isa sa mga nagsusulong ng RH bill, itong International Planned Parenthood Federation or IPPF ang nag-atas sa mga medical associations na iayon at palitan ang depinisyon ng pagbubuntis magmula sa tinatawag na conception at gawin itong implantasyon.
In the book entitled Deadly Deception by James Sedlak, it says that to avoid arguments on the issue on whether contraceptives are abortifacients or not, in the late 1980s, IPPF and its affiliates got some medical associations to define a pregnancy as beginning at implantation and not conception.
Now let me go back to the deliberations of Article II, Section 12 of our Constitution, the second question that was raised was, “Is the alive fertilized ovum human?” Again, the answer is a categorical yes. Genetics gives us an equally strong yes. At the moment of conception, the nuclei of the ovum and the sperm rupture, as this happens, 23 chromosomes from the ovum combine with 23 chromosomes of the sperm to form a total of 46 chromosomes. A chromosome count of 46 is found only, I repeat Mr President, only in a human being. Therefore, the fertilized ovum is a human being.
Biology and neonatal experts have also spoken on the beginning of human life and let me quote a few of them and place into the records of the Senate, “Individual human life begins at conception and is progressive, ongoing continuum until natural death. This is a fact so well-established that no intellectually honest physician in full command of modern medical knowledge would dare to deny it. There is no authority in medicine or biology who can be cited to refute this concept. “The source? D.J. Moran M.D., J.D. Gorby M.D., T.W. Hilgers M.D. Abortion in the Supreme Court: Death Becomes a Way of Life, Abortion and Social Justice, Sheed and Ward, 1974.
Medical textbook authors have also confirmed that the formation, maturation and meeting of a male and female sex cell are all preliminary to their actual union into a combined cell or zygote which definitely marks the beginning of a new individual. Source? Leslie Arey, Development Anatomy 7th Edition, 1974. Philadelphia, WB Saunders.
“Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite, a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.” Source? E.L. Potter MD, and J.M. Craig MD, Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant 3rd Edition, Chicago Year Book Medical Publishers 1975.
Fertilization, not implantation
Kasama pa nga dito sa mga foreign authorities na ito, even ex-President Bill Clinton in a book, his life on page 302 admits to that fact, Mr President.
Kung ayaw niyo ng foreign authorities, punta tayo sa local. Doctor Oscar Tinio, president of the Philippine Medical Association has stated that, “Life begins at fertilization and anything that prevents the fertilized ovum from being implanted in the uterus is already considered abortive.”
If you do not completely agree with me and these authorities and decide to believe in foreign studies sponsored and funded by Alan Guttmacher Research Institute Studies, I would advise that why don’t we try asking our conscience as the unborn child speaks to you in this video.
Now if you think that conception starts at implantation as what the proponents of this bill want us to accept as true, and not from fertilization, then we have just deprived that baby that you saw of its right to be born. Now that I feel that I have tried to establish when human life begins, let me now go to the question of how these contraceptives act as abortifacients.
‘Contraceptives are abortifacients’
Ginoong Pangulo, hindi po ako nagdudunong-dunungan dito, hindi ko po iniimbento ito. Itong mga kino-quote ko dito, mga facts na pinatutuhanan ng mga eksperto sa larangan ng batas at agham.
Several studies and authorities have shown that hormonal contraceptives act as abortifacients. I firmly believe that those who deny the abortifacient properties of the bill and the IUD have unjustifiably transferred the beginning of life from fertilization to implantation.
My point is this: ovulation and fertilization can still occur despite pills’ intake. They do not prevent ovulation 100% of the time. There are even studies that show they fail, 8%-10% failure rate and thus fertilization can still occur. There are women with abnormal bleeding and test positive in pregnancy tests despite taking the pill.
Unfortunately, the pill whether oral, patched or injectable renders the uterus hostile to implantation. When the fertilized ovum is prevented from implanting on the uterus because of the effect of the pill, this ovum is expelled. This is plain and simple abortion, Mr President.
Morning-after pills on the other hand when taken in large dozens within 72 hours after sexual intercourse no longer prevents fertilization but implantation. In the case of the intrauterine device, the IUD, it does not prevent ovulation and so fertilization may occur several times in the span of time the device is in the womb of the woman. However, most fetuses will not be able to implant themselves because there is an appliance in the womb that prevents them from doing so.
Isn’t it that in science we have the term, “Matter occupies space?” Kung may umuukupa na, paano pa makakapasok ang fetus sa bahay niya? Kung tayong malalaki at matatanda, marami tayong naririnig na gumagawa ng mga bahay, may nakatirang informal settler o kaya mga professional squatters na tinatawag. Pero tayo pinaglalaban pa rin natin ang karapatan nating tumira doon. Itong mga fetus na ito, di sila makakalaban sa mga foreign object na umaagaw sa lugar nila. At ang mga pills na nagre-renovate ng bahay dapat nila, ginagawa itong non-liveable.
Ito ang dahilan kung bakit lubos kong tinutulan ang pagpasa ng RH bill. Hindi ko naman yata hahayaan Mr President na may maging batas na kikitil lamang sa mga buhay na walang kalaban-laban. Anong karapatan nating isabatas ang pagdi-distribute sa abortifacient pills at IUDs na ito? Para lang sa sinasabing reproductive health? Ito ba ang nakikita nilang sagot o solusyon?
‘Contraceptives cause cancer’
Kung tutuusin, hindi ito nakakatulong sa reproductive health ng mga kababaihan. Sa katunayan, nakakasira pa nga ito sa kanilang kalusugan. There are numerous side effects of contraceptives which unfortunately are not made known to the general public. Unahin natin ang side effects ng pills. There are numerous studies showing its carcinogenic properties since the development of the synthetic estrogens in 1938 by Sir Edward Charles Dodds.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer on the World Health Organization announced on July 29, 2005 that after a thorough review of the published scientific literature, it has concluded that combined estrogen, progesterone of contraceptives, and combined estrogen, progesterone menopausal therapy are carcinogenic to humans, group 1 category. This category is used when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.
The listed major adverse effects of the pill on women are the following: breast cancer, cervical cancer, liver cancer, premature hypertension and coronary artery disease resulting in heart attacks and strokes, thromboembolism, pulmonary embolism. Other adverse effects are decreased libido, infertility, leg cramps, gall stone formation, nausea, bloatedness, etc.
Next are the side effects of the IUD. Intrauterine devices have been said to have the following effects: cramps, bleeding without periods, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, hole in the uterus.
Condoms and HIV
Even condoms pose a serious health risk. As pointed out by Senator Ping Lacson, the size of the pores in condoms is 5 microns. What is alarming is that the size of the HIV virus is 0.1 micron. There can still be transmission of the HIV virus even with the use of the condom because 0.1 micron will definitely pass through 5 microns. Even the US government has withdrawn 2.6 million dollars worth of grant to study condoms because an acceptably high number of condom users probably would have been infected in such a study. No one wanted to take part in the study for fear of being infected by the HIV virus so the US government withdrew the grant.
Given all these harmful effects to women, are we going to allow our government to spend billions of money to purchase condoms, pills and IUDs for the sake of what they call reproductive health? Hindi ito ang sagot sa sinasabing 11 mothers die everyday, kung totoo man ‘yung 11 mothers die everyday na iyan sapagkat sa susunod na chapter, ite-take up ko ito. Humihingi ako ng statistics sa kanila, hindi ako binigyan. Tinuro ako sa NSO, hindi rin ako nabigyan, gumawa kami ng survey na sarili namin. Nagpaikot ako sa mga regional hospital, kung ilan ang namatay noong 2011. I will present it in the next chapter to prove 11 mothers do not die everyday in the Philippines!
Kung maipapasa natin itong RH bill na itong RH bill, malamang, higit pa sa 11 mothers a day ang pwedeng mamatay pagka ganito ang nangyayari sa mga kababaihan natin, lalo na ang side effects ng mga pills na ito. Ngunit hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit sa pamamagitan ng RH bill, tayo pa ang magdadagdag ng dahilan para dumami ang sakit nila. Kung magbibigay tayo ng pondo gamit ang buwis na binabayad ng mga mamamayan sa mga contraceptives na ito, dapat maglaan na rin tayo ng pondo para sa mga sakit na pwedeng idulot ng mga ito.
Actually, these contraceptives are not just detrimental to women and the unborn. They are scientifically proven to have damaging effect to children born to mothers who were using contraceptives prior to their pregnancy too. According to Doctor Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, the use of the pill also causes severe gut dybiosis. What is worse, drug induced gut imbalance especially intractable and resistant to treatment, either with probiotics or diet change. Gut imbalance brought on through the use of the pill negatively impacts the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.
As a result, even if a woman eats spectacularly well during pregnancy, if she has been taking oral contraceptives for a period of time beforehand, it is highly likely that she and her baby are not eating the full benefits of all this healthy food as the lack of beneficial flora in her gut preclude this from occurring.
Pathogenic, opportunistic flora that take hold in the gut when the pill is used constantly produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism. These toxins leak into the women’s bloodstream and they have the potential to cross the placenta, therefore gut dysbiosis exposes the fetus to toxins. Not well-known is also the fact that the use of the pill depletes zinc in the body. Zinc is called the intelligence mineral as it is intimately involved in mental development.
‘I lost a child due to contraceptives’
Mr President, many could attest to the negative effects of these contraceptives to their children. Senator Lito Lapid revealed during one of the interpellations of this measure that his wife became pregnant despite the use of contraceptives and thus was born their third child who turned out to be a blue baby. He said that while they were told that the baby would live for many years if it managed to reach age 14, the baby succumbed to a heart attack at age 9. He and his wife attributed the death to the contraceptives that his wife took. Senator Lapid believes that contraceptives caused the increase in number of child abnormalities and genetic disorders such as cleft chin, conjoined or Siamese twins disorder, which were not that many before contraceptives were introduced.
During that time when Senator Lito Lapid was telling his story, I was tempted to stand to share my own personal experience but I didn’t. I restrained myself. I waited for this moment. You see my wife, Helen and I, nawalan po kami ng anak dahil sa contraceptives. Helen and I eloped in 1969, got married but got publicly married in 1971. Our firstborn or our eldest daughter, Romina, was born in 1973. Most people know that we have 4 children. Actually we have 6, we eldest daughter of course is the wife of Sen Pangilinan. That’s why you were surprised the other day when I called him son-in-law but she is our eldest daughter.
In 1973, my eldest daughter was born and Helen was still doing movies and television activities so she decided to heed what a doctor-friend suggested, that she take contraceptives. She did after Romina was born, January of 1973. Mr President after a few months, by 1974, Helen became pregnant even though she was taking contraceptives. She gave birth to my real first son who we named Vincent Paul on March 13, 1975 at the Makati Medical Center.
He was born with a weak heart. He needed blood transfusion every now and then, his blood was type a positive, same as mine and my father, that’s why we had to give him blood transfusion everyday, stayed in the hospital for 5 months since birth. Nakauwi na si Helen, andun pa rin ang baby namin, kauna-unahan kong anak na lalaki.
I visited him everyday. I went to the nursery everyday but before that I always go to the chapel, pray and pray for him and go visit him, stay for an hour or so, every now and then, kasama ko po si Helen. After 5 months, he passed away. Nung binabanggit ni Sen Lapid yung namatayan siya ng anak, 9 years after. Si Sen Pia namatayan din po ng anak, after 9 months, namatay ang anak niya. Nalulungkot akong marinig sa kanila yun but the truth is parang nainggit pa nga ako dahil mabuti pa nga sila nahawakan nila eh. Yung anak ko, 5 months, ni hindi ko nahipo, nahawakan ko, patay na.
‘My mission in life’
Makati Medical Center can prove to the fact na wala silang makitang dahilan na nagkaganun ang bata kundi dahil nagco-contraceptives ang asawa ko. Nabuntis pa rin kahit gumagamit ng contraceptives. That’s why I know. Kaya binanggit ko kanina, hindi trabaho ito sa akin, personalan ito.
Pinanganak ang anak kong lalaki but he never left the hospital. Sabi ng Makati Medical Center, namatay, ang dahilan, paggamit ng misis ko ng contraceptives, even her doctor admits to that fact, Doctor Santos. He was born and died with a weak heart. Nung taong iyon, by the way, Mr President, just for the record, he died August 13, 1975. 37 years ago today.
Nung taon na yun, 1975, tinanong ko po ang Panginoong Diyos, ba’t nangyari sa akin iyon, gustong-gusto ko magkaroon ng anak na lalaki, ba’t kinuha niya sa akin? Tinanong ko siya, wala akong nakuhang sagot Mr President. Thirty-seven years after, binigay sa akin ng Panginoong Diyos ang sagot kasi pala magiging misyon ko pala ito. Ito pala ang dahilan na ipaglaban ko ang karapatan ng maraming inosenteng bata na kikitilin ang buhay ng bill na ito.
My son died August 13, 1975. Nagkataon lang ho ito. I was scheduled to deliver my speech August 6, nagkabagyo, nausog ng August 8. Hindi rin tayo natuloy. Na-schedule ako August 13.
Mr President, my dear colleagues, may I continue my speech another day? – Rappler.com
For more updates on the issue of the RH Bill, view our #RHBill Debate Microsite.
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