On the extension of RH Law TRO

Side by side with the joy and hope which the breakthrough agreement between the GOP and the MILF bring is the deep sadness over the SC’s indefinite TRO on the RH Law.

Technically, the Law shouldn’t have been put on the chopping board. It had just been enacted and no operational guidelines issued yet, meaning, without actual results yet it is premature to argue that the Law is bad for people. The Justices know this technicality I’m sure. The fact that the SC received the “complaints” against the Law and went on to hear the case without compelling evidence to accompany it, having decided that arguments based on emotions and perceptions is acceptable in court is a matter of great failing, of great injustice. It is a very sad time for the practice of law in this country.

To rule that the TRO will be indefinite is effectively saying that women – who stand to benefit the most from the Law, politically, socially, and physically, – should hang up their reproductive health rights indefinitely.

The compelling evidence, contradicting the perceptions brought against RH, is that women who are upheld by the State in their rights to reproductive health care live better, longer, and more economically productive lives, not only for themselves but for their husbands or partners, their children, those who depend on them. That the SC closed its eyes to this evidence is a grave mistake; for the male Justices to have an inkling of what RH means on the ground, they only have to recall the difficulties their mothers went through raising the family, if they are from a large and lower middle class family. The case is more dire among poor families to which many Filipino women belong or are head of. And, if pills promote abortion then we here can throw stones at First World countries and because they are now so evil we should not step on their shores (but where do Church officers go to have their holidays – in the First World. Their vehemence doesn’t add up.).

What do priests, at least those who insist on focusing on an apparently misunderstood “RH=Abortion” belief, know about the real suffering rooted in reproductive health felt by couples and families? They can only contemplate how it is, imagine, listen, all at an intellectual and disassociated level – just like onlookers of Jesus on the cross, we cannot actually fathom and feel what this Son-God suffered, nailed on something He has created – the irony of it – which He could’ve easily blasted away if He wished (I believe that humans because of our limited capacities, if we were to feel even a fraction of that suffering, our bodies couldn’t contain it and may expire within 3 sec, which is why reparation of the world’s sins is this Son-God’s unique task – only He could take it, but this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sadden Him). Yet they have taken upon themselves to speak for women, to decide what is good for the bodies and future of women, and to convince others of this belief. They have effectively silenced the women – politically – with their lobbying power. And the SC has capitulated, to indefinitely or “until further orders”. Further orders from whom? This is the saddest thing in this misdirected affair.

This reminds me that I haven’t read about the Church having burned wizards – men – on the stake. It is the supposedly witches – women – who were. Of course, now, we know that many of these burned “witches” were not witches at all. Officers of the Church, because they are human, limit the capacity and potential of the Church to be Christ-like, to live among and know the daily lives of the poor, discriminated women, and children, to be universal. Burning of witches is Old Testament (Leviticus). The new life order set forth in the New Testament is that

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

How could these priests approach the altar day after day yet still be hardened against the compelling evidence (realities) around them? How could they go on the pulpit preaching day after day and looking down on the faithful and not think about their own struggles over celibacy and sexuality? How could they, if they’re consciously aware of their own failings and vulnerabilities, continue to see the situation in the “outside world” with uncharitable eyes? How could they think they know the solution when they are essentially shielded from life’s pains and ugly truths, having their beds made for them, their food cooked and served for them, their clothes washed for them, their shoes shined for them, their allowances given them without much thought of where the next amount will come from? If women had more time being economically productive – i.e. given equal opportunity to pursue their dreams – instead of making and raising babies all the time and at times for many, dying from childbirth (because reproductive health care is inaccessible i.e. 100 KM away from the village and no one from local government gives a hoot), women could afford that lifestyle too.

RH is not about when life exactly began in the womb – only God knows the precise exact moment when it does because Catholics believe He breathes the life into each one so even if technically the sperm and egg meets and everything’s going for them but Life hasn’t been breathed into them these are goners…so the very question is preposterous and challenges God’s creation power, the priests know this yet they use it as an argument; it’s about, regardless of religion and beliefs, whether we care about the reproductive health of women and men and as a result the children’s (because the health of children rests partly but to a great extent on the reproductive health of their mothers). And are we not being loving when we care that persons who ought to receive this care do? Are we not in fact facilitating abortion when women who for instance need emergency maternal health care do not have access to it and die along with her unborn as a result? Think. Intelligently. Critically.

The SC has to rectify the injustice. It cannot agree to become a party in the

Neglect of women’s reproductive health, perpetuated by law, is part of a larger, systematic discrimination against women.

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