FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, March 28, 2011 (pop.org) - As I write, there is a battle royal underway in the Philippine Congress. On the one side are the Planned Parenthood types, backed by well-funded international organizations, who are attempting to ram through legislation that would cripple the Filipino birth rate. On the other side stand those who believe that the most precious resource of the Philippines is its people, and who object to the use of what some call “human pesticides” to control the Filipino population.
As you might suspect, the U.S. foreign aid establishment, emboldened by the anti-people mentality of the Obama administration, is on the wrong side of this crucial battle for Life.
The legislation in question is called ”The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health And Population And Development Act Of 2011”—a title which manages the remarkable feat of encapsulating three lies of the abortion/population control movement in the short span of a dozen words.
“Responsible Parenthood’ is shorthand for the wrongheaded notion that couples are somehow doing the world a favor by having few or no children. In fact, the opposite is true: Children are the only future a nation has. Those who are willing to provide for the future in the most fundamental way—by providing the future generation—are a national treasure. They should be praised and encouraged, not condemned and sterilized.
“Reproductive Health,” another favorite of the anti-life movement, is equally misleading. Such programs are not intended to produce health at all, but sterility. Lest you think I exaggerate, consider how the “reproductive health” of a population is defined: It is the percentage of women of childbearing age who have been sterilized or who are using so-called “modern methods of contraception.”
The higher this percentage (of women who have been chemically or surgically sterilized), the greater the supposed “reproductive health” of the population is said to be. This leads to the absolutely bizarre conclusion that a population enjoying perfect “reproductive health” would not be able to reproduce at all! Why? Because every last female reproductive system would have been disabled. We should not be surprised that the same people who define pregnancy as a disease, define “reproductive health” as sterility.
Finally, the implication of “Population and Development” is that population growth constitutes an intolerable burden on the economy. But while it is true that growing populations do produce temporary scarcities of goods and services, in a free market entrepreneurs respond by innovating; they devise more efficient means of production, for example, or they find substitutes for scarce materials. At the end of the day a larger population not only produces more goods and services, they do so at a lower price. Economists have a name for this: It’s called economies of scale.
The language of the Philippine Reproductive Health Bill, as it is called for short, is just as dangerous as its name suggests. Section 20, which fixes the “ideal” family size at two children, undermines the God-given right of couples to decide for themselves the number and spacing of their children. It will give further impetus to social engineering projects, already underway in the Philippine Department of Health and other government departments, to reduce family size. In our experience at PRI, any time a government sets population targets of any kind, it leads to human rights abuses.
But this is only the beginning of the mischief. Consider Section 13, which imposes on local government officials the obligation to enforce the provisions of the Act and “give priority to family planning work”. To this China hand, this sounds an awful lot like the PRC, where local officials are under constant pressure to reduce the birth rate, and do so by resorting to forced sterilizations, forced contraceptions and, all too often, forced abortions.
Another provision which could have been taken from Beijing’s playbook is Section 15, which sets up a so-called “Mobile Health Care Service,” and details how it will operate around the country. Apparently, as is the case in China, mobile sterilization teams will be brought in to do the dirty work of population control that local physicians, nearly all Catholic, find morally objectionable.
Incredibly, the proposed law even attempts to stifle dissent by Catholics and others by prohibiting the dissemination of “malicious disinformation about the intent and provisions of this Act.” The “malicious disinformation” that the framers of the bill had in mind would presumably include—aside from my criticisms above—pointing out the simple truth that life begins at conception.
Now I know that you may find this hard to believe, but the “reproductive health” enthusiasts who support the bill deny that a woman who has conceived a child is actually pregnant. It is not until five to seven days after conception, when the developing embryo implants in the lining of the uterus, that they are finally willing to admit its existence.
In claiming that human life does not begin at conception, but at implantation, they violate not only science but common sense. But it is important to understand that they are not fools. They do not engage in this obvious subterfuge lightly, but because they believe that the very success of their population control agenda demands it.
You see, if they admit that life truly does begin at conception, then they would also have to admit that every last one of their hormonal concoctions—from pills and hormonally laced IUDs to implants and injectables—cause early-term abortions. All hormonal contraception works, at least part of the time, by preventing an already conceived baby from implanting in the uterus.
The backers of the Reproductive Health Bill lie about this, too, of course, because they know that few women would take a supposed “contraceptive” knowing that it would actually cause them to abort.
This second lie is especially important to their efforts in the Philippines, where the Constitution, in Article II Section 12, provides that “the State shall equally protect the life of … the unborn from conception.” The Philippine Congress, wanting to leave no doubt about its intentions and no room for misinterpretation, defined the word conception in medical terms, as the fertilization of the ovum. Implantation goes unmentioned
This puts the Reproductive Health Bill, which indiscriminately promotes all types of abortifacient contraceptive devices and services, on a collision course with the Philippine Constitution.
The bill’s backers, supported by foreign “experts” and driven by their anti-people agenda, hotly deny that contraceptives are human pesticides, and that their massive distribution in the Philippines will exterminate large numbers of innocent Filipino babies. But there is little doubt that, if the bill passes, and “reproductive health” becomes the order of the day in the archipelago, that millions will die.
So far, the Philippines has resisted the population control juggernaut that has crushed the populations of other Asian countries like China and Indonesia. Zoe Vidal, a Philippine bioethicist, rightly observes that in this sense the Philippines is “the last country standing.”
Let us pray, for the sake of generations of Filipino babies as yet unborn, that they shall stand fast.
Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute.
This article was originally published in the PRI Weekly Briefing of March 28, 2011