The 7 Deadly Sins of the RH bill, according to Sotto
MANILA, Philippines – “It is unmanly to refuse battle with the devil.”
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III quoted Mahatma Gandhi in the 2nd chapter of his speech against the Reproductive Health (RH) bill on Wednesday, August 15.
While the first part of his speech last Monday focused on the alleged evils of contraceptives, this time, Sotto zeroed in on the big money and abortion advocacy supposedly fuelling the RH campaign. (Read the full speech here.)
Sotto said that while RH bill sponsors Senators Pia Cayetano and Miriam Defensor Santiago mean well, international and local groups backing the measure have more sinister intentions.
The senator, however, already raised the same arguments during the RH bill interpellations last year.
Here are the RH bill’s 7 deadly sins, according to Sotto:
1. “The RH bill is a foreign-dictated policy.”
In his one hour speech, Sotto said that the Philippines should not be pushed over by other states and international organizations.
“Sino sila para magdikta sa atin? Hindi tayo gaya nila na iba ang pagpapahalaga sa pagbubuklod-buklod sa pamilyang Pilipino at pagpapahalaga sa buhay ng tao.” (Who are they to dictate on us? We’re not like others who value family ties and human life differently.)
Cayetano already responded to this argument in an interview last Monday. She said, “They said the RH bill is not in line with our culture but the survey shows Filipinos want this. Maybe, it was not line with our culture in 1521 or 1898 but in 2012, based on Filipino practices and customs, they want it and they need it.”
2. “RH backers are of doubtful character.”
Sotto said the groups pushing for the RH bill have ulterior motives, particularly reducing the world’s population through abortion, especially in less developed countries like the Philippines.
He identified the US Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations agencies, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) as the main global forces behind the measure.
The senator said the IPPF’s vision states, “We believe that a woman has the right to choose and access safe abortion services and we advocate for changes in legislation to support this.”
“This is the true meaning of Pro-Choice,” Sotto said.
3. “Eleven mothers DO NOT die of childbirth everyday.”
The Majority Leader said that the often cited statistic that 11 mothers die everyday in the Philippines is wrong. To debunk the argument, he even asked his staff to do their own survey.
Sotto said a check on government hospitals in Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Batangas and Cavite in 2011 showed that the maternal deaths ranged from only zero to 7 for the entire year.
Ironically, he even used statistics from the UN and the World Health Organization to prove his point.
“So there, for the sake of argument, pro-RH figures themselves result in 5.75 maternal deaths a day and not 11 deaths like what they’re insisting.” Sotto said in Filipino.
In an earlier blog post, Cayetano showed the computation of data coming from the UN, the National Statistics Office, and the National Statistical Coordination Board as illustrated here:
4. “The RH bill is a marketing tool for contraceptives.”
Sotto said RH supporters like the USAID fund the Dharmendra Kumar Tyagi (DKT), the largest manufacturer of contraceptives. He said the USAID also funds the NSO, which releases “information needed for population control in the country.”
“Aba ang galing ano? Gagawa ka ng demand for contraceptives, tapos ikaw ang magsu-supply ng solusyon. Magandang ideya sa marketing pero hindi sa paggawa ng batas. Sana ‘wag nating gawing pain ang ating bansa sa ganitong pag-eeksperimento.” (How amazing! You’ll make a demand for contraceptives, then you’ll supply the solution. That’s a good marketing idea but not to make laws. I hope we don’t make our country the bait for this experiment.)
Santiago has responded to this argument in past interviews. “That is a cheap shot. Anything the government does will make profit somewhere in any capitalist society. Let’s elevate political discourse to a higher level.”
The RH co-author explained, “Kahit naman yung rhythm method na gusto nila, may kikita. Kikita ng pera yung mga gumagawa ng kalendaryo doon, ‘di ba?” (Even with the rhythm method, someone profits. Those selling calendars will make money, right?)
5. “The RH bill may be promoting a super race.”
Sotto said that since IPPF founder Margaret Sanger believed in eugenics through birth control, pro-RH groups may also seek to create a “super Aryan race” like Hitler.
“This is what they call eugenics: If you are weak, useless, uneducated and poor, you have no right in this world. In other words, what eugenics wants to happen is to have birth control so that those left behind is only a superior, intellectual race.”
“Maybe this is also what those pushing for the RH bill want to happen?”
Cayetano, though, previously told Rappler that contraceptives must not be viewed “as if you were killing children by preventing them from being born.”
“[It’s] as if it was not a responsible thing to do to decide for yourself that with my income and my time, I will be a good parent to two children. How many people can be a good parent to 10 children?"
6. “Passing the RH bill now will legalize abortion later.”
The RH critic said the strategy of the international groups is to use local organizations to first make artificial contraceptives acceptable to Filipinos so that later on, abortion will be legalized.
“This is the big picture, and the RH bill is an important detail to complete this picture,” Sotto said.
Dr Sylvia Estrada Claudio, director of the UP Center for Women’s Studies, said the statement was a logical fallacy.
“We’ve long been saying that, please, let’s talk about abortion later, it has nothing to do with the RH bill. But if he insists, fine. If he wants a debate, fine. Let’s do it in front of the media, in public where he cannot hide behind his [parliamentary immunity], his distortions, his unscientific ways, his insinuations and his conspiracy theory so the public can really see how to look at science and how to debate properly and in a democratic way,” Claudio said.
7. “Local NGOs get millions to push for RH.”
Sotto was passionate in his tirade against local NGOs, saying they receive big bucks from the international groups he named, and promote abortion as well.
He said the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines, the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN), and Likhaan all receive funding from either the IPPF or UN agencies amounting to millions of dollars.
“With the budget of these organizations, it’s not at all surprising that their campaign for the RH bill is so strong in radio, television, newspapers, and especially the Internet.”
Elizabeth Angsioco of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines, a member group of RHAN, told Rappler how the funding of local NGOs is spent.
“That’s used for the women, family planning that they want, contraception that they want, education on reproductive health that they want.”
Angsioco said that if Sotto is sincere about wanting to save women, he should push for government spending to help save women’s lives.
“Mahiya nga tayo dahil ang ibang bansa tinutulungan ang ating mga kababaihan samantalang siya, ayaw niya magbigay ng pondo para mabuhay ang mga kababaihan natin. Mahiya siya.” (We should be ashamed because other countries are helping our women while he does not want to give funds to save their lives. Shame on him.)
Sotto is set to continue his anti-RH speech next week. – Rappler.com
For more on RH bill and the Senate, read: