On Women and the Right to Choose

(Corny title, I know, but my initial choice was Women and Why the Bloody Fuck Are We Still Debating This?)

I haven’t blogged about anything remotely “relevant” (as in politically or socially so) in a long time because, well, I can no longer be bothered. The shit that used to bug me so much are now merely the background noise of this thing I call my life.

But there are some things that still manage to damage my calm, like the efforts to stop the passing of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, for example.

Now I won’t be that person who lumps everyone into one box. Though the loudest of the anti-RH are religious, I understand that there are people opposed to it for reasons other than faith and morality (or at least their version of it).

So let me just focus on the one argument that gave me five new wrinkles.

Lawyer Maria Concepcion Noche, speaking up against the RH Law in front of the Supreme Court, argued that the law is unconstitutional because it allows the government to disseminate contraceptives.

These contraceptives are “abortifacients”, according to Noche, because they prevent implantation. Her argument is that life begins at fertilisation, so preventing implantation of a fertilised egg is tantamount to abortion.

Her words, lest you think I’m insane:

Once contraception is taken, it can and often will cause abortion.

Another quote:

It’s not a matter of making choices. This is a matter of protecting the life of the unborn from the moment it exists.

(Check out Rappler’s live blog of the arguments; that’s where I got the quotes.)

The RH Law does not support the legalisation of abortion. All it requires is that the people be given proper assistance and counselling with regards to family planning.

No one will be forced to take contraceptives. You can choose to use other methods of family planning if you want.

What it ensures is that women will have the knowledge and tools they need to make the right choices where reproductive health is concerned.

I don’t know about you, but I am incredibly fucking pissed that there are still people who think women should sacrifice themselves for the “unborn”.

Noche is saying shun all contraception until we are 100 motherhumping percent sure that these won’t cause abortion. God forbid that a woman try and be the master of her own body and her health. Because what if a hypothetical “person” dies?

I’m not sure they see the antiquated patriarchal shit they’re espousing. Women are less human? We have fewer rights than a hypothetical fertilised egg? We have to give up our right to choose for ourselves because we might accidentally prevent implantation?

And I know that this may seem hollow coming from me, because I can afford to see a doctor. I can afford medicine.

In stopping this law they’re not punishing me (although in a roundabout way they are, but that’s another story). They’re punishing women who don’t want a dozen children but have no other options.

I will not touch the “RH Law is equal to genocide” argument (it exists) because I don’t feel like giving myself an aneurysm.

All I want to say is that it’s 2013, and I can’t believe we’re still talking about withholding information and the right to choose from our people.

Pregnancy is never easy. It’s dangerous, especially for women who have no access to proper health care. Forcing a woman to either abstain (and that should work incredibly well in this macho society) or use the natural family planning method (it won’t be suitable to all women) is to condemn her.

I understand that there are a lot of other things we will have to work on. Better health services for all, for example.

But that’s no reason to take away a woman’s right to choose for herself. We are not just vessels for babies, you creeps.

I can’t believe I still have to remind you of that.


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