Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Position on the RH Bill

My Position on the RH Bill

I have written about it. I have spoken about it. I am still asked about it. I have read different versions of the bill. In sum: Reproductive health issues will be discussed in classrooms, including contraception options. Contraceptives will be considered priority in the purchase of medical supplies for public health facilities. Abortion remains prohibited. There is provision for conscientious objection, and, at least until the latest version I read, disseminating disinformation about the law will be penalized. The Catholic Church's objection it seems stems from its objection to artificial means of contraception.

Ours is a secular state -- though 'benevolently neutral' towards religion. If the opponents of artificial contraception have arguments that even non-Catholics can agree with, now is the time to hear them. I have heard some points that are advanced as arguments. They are not. One of the stupidest of them is the objection on the basis that these means are 'artificial, not natural'. If the objections rest on Humanae Vitae and on Evangelium Vitae -- as well as similar ecclesial documents, then by all means, let priests and catechists educate the lay faithful and advance these arguments. Regrettably, however, unless they pass the 'translation proviso' -- these arguments must be translatable into terms that allow them to be dealt with in secular discourse -- then the objection against artificial contraception must remain a sectarian position that cannot be legislated!

It is still the best guarantee of religious freedom that the State remain secular, and by this is simply meant that whatever is passed into law must muster argument that makes sense in secular discourse, that does not rely on privileged sources (such as revelation) nor on dogmatic or authoritative pronouncements that are beyond criticism.

This does not mean that the Catholic can disregard church teaching on artificial contraception. What it does impose is a burden on Catholic educators to truly educate -- and not to pass the burden of educating to the State.

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