Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nota Bene, Heartless Bishops! Pinays Are Throwing Babies Out of Taxis and Tall Buildings

The Catholic Bishops can pontificate all they want about their cerebral theology and their heartless morality but it really is high time they take responsibility for terrible evils that might have been prevented if they took their funny hats and billowy skirts off once in a while, and went down to where their faithful flock of sheep wander, tired, hungry, poor and demoralized. No fancy macro econometric statistics or graphics from this blog this time, just a simple taking notice of two unnatural acts of maternal desperation that ought to dark the door of their obdurate consciences:

Baby tossed out of taxi in Paco by teenage mother survives

Baby girl dies after being hurled from 9th floor

The rest of the iceberg can be limned in this International Herald Tribune article, which quotes the World Health Organization's estimate of some 800,000 abortions annually in the Philippines. For those (like me) who happen to think of most abortions as murder or perhaps involuntary manslaughter, I place the blame squarely on the Catholic Bishops. These are largely preventable, avoidable evils if only they would eschew their puerile and mystical arguments against safe, effective modern birth control methods, like, pills, IUDs, and condoms.

While I respect freedom of religion in this democracy, I don't think we owe them any sort of intellectual or moral toleration for policies that are no better than the nostrums and nonsense of voodoo witch doctors (some of whom might rightly be insulted by this comparison to our delusional Catholic Bishops).

Update: Then of course there is Antonio J. Montalvan of the Philippine Daily Innuendo, the paper that most promotes goddess worship.

14 comments:

blackshama said...

Two options are possible here (the abortion issue and how to deal with it). The Church can aggressively catechize or the State can provide reproductive health services

In either case both have flopped.

I place the blame on us Filipinos.

Gabby said...

two comments:

the assumption in your argument is that cheaper/easier to procure birth control means fewer abortions. But that is an empirical question: when something is cheaper, you use it relatively more (which is your argument), but it may also encourage more of the activity (known as the income effect). A popular example is seatbelts, On the one hand, making it mandatory saves lives, on the other it encourages risky driving. The net effect can go either way.

I wonder what the balance of the evidence is on the abortion and birthcontrol relationship is? Hhhmmm...

Second, you reference a specific story about the baby that died. what are you trying to say about the woman/girl who tossed her baby (lets assume that the police's theory is correct)? That she wouldn't have done so if birth control had been used? My first thought was: what kind of a person would kill a baby away like that? Would this person be responsible enough to use birth control pills? Would she have the wherewithal to use the 'morning after pill' (again, assume its legal for arugment's sake)? I think this girl has got issues with sex, responsibility and life -- birth control won't stop that.

DJB Rizalist said...

gabby,
An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. I think most Filipinos who get unwanted pregnancies are either ignorant of the causes or the means of prevention. I argue not only for the birth control methods to become widely available and affordable, as well as education about human sexuality, not only to prevent pregnancies and parenthood that cannot be responsibly undertaken, as well as disease prevention AND more importantly, so that parents can continue the tradition and transmit to their children the value of "responsible parenthood."

But perhaps you know of some benefit or value inherent in the present situation which seems to suit the Bishops just fine. Perhaps you can advance some argument that things would be be worse and not better if such education and prevention regime could be achieved?

blackshama said...

The presumed relationship between the availability of contraceptives and abortions (as mouthed by Catholic propagandists and pro-choice fundamentalists) is at best a simplistic one. A major determining factor is the empowerment of women. Even if contraceptives are readily available and subsidized by someone like horrors USAID!, women are less likely to use them if they are unable to decide on the management of fertility.

Similarly the ready access and availability of contraceptives does not really correlate very well with the abortion rate (legal or illegal). It is more plausible to say that even with the availability of contraceptives there will always be unwanted pregnancies. The same is true when there is no legal access to contraceptives.

Economic data (remember that this is a dismal science?) would suggest that the availability of legal abortion services tends to reduce a country's total fertility rate (TFR) and reduces maternal mortality. But of course a nation or society may not promote ready availability of abortions given its religious culture.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is an example. Abortion in Islam is repugnant but Iran embarked on a program of educating women. Education reduced TFR better than if legal abortions were available.

Roman Catholic propaganda and the one spouted by our dear DJB DOES NO GOOD in helping us assess our choices.

Fundamentalism does no good!

DJB Rizalist said...

blackshama,
Filipinos in America tend to have families much smaller than they have in the Philippines, mainly because non abortion prevention methods are widely available AND socially acceptable.

It is in the latter aspect that the Catholic bishops have exerted their greatest influence. They have used religious power to intimidate the poor population with superstition and dishonesty.

Birth control is not illegal in the PHilippines, but they have successfully made people believe that it is immoral.

That to me is EVIL.

Jego said...

Im still skeptical of the effect of the bishops on the general population though. Do people really listen to these guys? Do people really do what they tell them to? Despite what they show people, how they behave? If a bishop says to Juan, "Wearing a condom is sin. Youll go to hell!" You think Juan gives a damn? If he does, then I have lost a bit of faith Juan dela Cruz.

I submit that the people do NOT listen to the bishops on the issue of family planning. I submit that they have NOT made the people believe it is immoral. If they knew how, and what to do, theyll do it. The bishops' influence is on the state who allocates resources and educates. The bishops' skill is in political mobilization. That is the coin they offer the state.

cvj said...

OT: I just noticed that you changed your blog's name to 'Philippine-American' Commentary.

DJB Rizalist said...

Jego,
You're point is well taken. But that only means the Bishops are guilty of sins of commission AND omission on this matter. They give "lectures" every Sunday to millions of Filipinos about how they can turn a cracker and Mompo into flesh and blood and make the Filipinos eat it. You would think they could educate the masses too on condoms and pills and help in the epidemic of irresponsibility through ignorance.

That's been their modus operandi since time immemorial. Nothing's changed since even before Rizal's time.

DJB Rizalist said...

I will also accept your point about the government and its responsibility. but there the bishops are definitely guilty of sins of commission since they certainly have had the ear of Presidents (mostly lady presidents) whom they hypnotize with Marian apparitions and that whole goddess worship culture of theirs.

Anyway you look at it, the Pharisees are direct and indirect murderers, shepherds who intentionally keep their flock in the quicksand of ignorance, superstition and their immoral dogmas about families, parenthood and human life.

DJB Rizalist said...

cvj,
I'm tired of people accusing me of being PRO-AMERICAN when I've never denied it and have always proudly proclaimed it. You see, I've never had an identity crisis. I want everyone to know that to me nationalism as practiced by both the Left and the Right is mere tribalism. My nation is humanity. My republic is the whole world. My religion is Science and Reason. And I care more about the Future than I do the Past.

blackshama said...

DJB

Which land do you consider your own? The imprint of your land of birth will be forever reflected in your tooth enamel! You can't have a Pinoy molar and an American canine in your set of dentaries! Despite your choice, you can only be either Pinoy or Kano, teethwise!

That's why I am not amused by dual citizenhip. I think it is a convenient farce.

Aboriginal Australians probably have it right. They know which land they are attached. But that doesn't mean they can not be global citizens.

There is nothing wrong in being PRO AMERICAN. But if I would be one, I would rather be PRO for whatever decency America stands for(or used to stand for!)

DJB Rizalist said...

Blackshama,
I was born in Chicago, Illinois! On the South Side pa. Barack Obama would've been my Senator, haha. But to Filipino parents. I grew up in the Philippines, but studied, lived and worked in America. Almost half and half by the time I came back to the Archipelago. I'm a balikbayan who has been an emigrant and immigrant of both countries. But I won't evade the question. I am a Philippine-American, not an American Filipino. That's what the new title means.

cvj said...

I suppose you mean nationalism as practiced by Filipinos since i haven't seen you complain about American nationalism.

Like you, i also subscribe to that whole citizen of the world ideal, but to me, it comes as a layer on top of my national identity and not as a replacement.

Jaywalker said...

Hey DJ, glad you covered this issue and if I may add while I agree on freedom to practice one's religion I think that the people and their government also need to have freedom to stay away from religious clerico fascist talibani and their layman ilk pro-lifer fanatics.

Under the regime of pro-life Lito Atienza who was instrumental in banning proven medical birth control and lately with the help of the CA upheld their pro-"life" talibani stranglehold to deny urban poor access to medical birth control devices.