media, priests & abortion

25 October 2010

media is plural for mediocre, rene saguisag says in his manila times column on the same day that mark robert b. baldo in a letter to the inquirer editor decries the failure of media to level-up the public debate on the RH bill.

A cursory look on the articles printed in this broadsheet shows this to be a recurring theme: luminaries using the infidelities of some Catholic priests in Europe to discredit the Church; some citing the political affiliations of some bishops; and others, presenting flawed accounts of Church history. This is a mistake because no longer do we hear mention of arguments by both parties.

… Media inevitably shape the public debate. I am not talking here about whether the bill should be passed or not, or whether the media should frame it in such a way that it would be passed or not. I am simply talking about how to frame the debate in such a way that it would stimulate productive discussion rather than a stirring drama about a declining institution in Philippine society.

indeed, na-sidetrack, nagpa-sidetrack, na lang ang media sa rizal vs. damaso drama ni carlos celdran.   easier naman talaga to go with the flow, kahit paatras, than to move on, against the tide, to the more difficult formidable challenging task of helping along the RH discourse toward a clear resolution.

in Some issues about the RH bills fr. joaquin bernas writes:

When does human life begin? We probably are all agreed that man must not destroy human life. Our Constitution protects life “from conception.” There is some indication in the deliberations of the 1987 Constitution Commission that this means “from fertilization.” But there are contrary views. Who will decide which view is correct?

granted, for the sake of no-argument, that the philippine constitution means “from fertilization” and that congress will so concur, what then?   logically, it should mean the end of all debate because as with the natural family planning method (no sex during ovulation), with artificial contraceptives no fertilization happens, which means no life is destroyed, so condoms, pills, and IUDs should be okay-all-right.

and yet and yet and yet, priests and other rabid pro-lifers continue to insist that birth control pills (that prevent ovulation so no egg is produced for sperm to fertilize) are abortifacients.   nakakaloka.   how canyou even begin an intelligent discussion???   for the longest time i couldn’t figure it out.   why the lying.   why the dishonesty.   why the misinformation.   until suddenly it dawned on me, after reading this, still from fr. bernas:

The determination about the beginning of human life will also be relevant to the debate on abortion. Clearly abortion is prohibited and penalized by law. But when does abortion take place? At what stage of the reproductive process will interruption be considered an offense against life? At fertilization or only after implantation? Are there birth control devices or pills which are abortifacient? If so, in what way? There is debate about the abortifacient effect of some birth control means. Who is to settle this debate—Congress? The Courts? Science? the Church? The ralliers? I understand that the various pharmaceutical and medical literature on this are conflictive.

the questions tell me that fr. bernas knows more than he’s telling, much like a parent who has a hard time talking to a teen child about sex because the openness and the info could be misconstrued as license to have sex.   in this case the information, which is most likely new to many many filipino women, rich and poor, young and old, could be misconstrued as license to interrupt the reproductive process by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg, which apparently he equates with abortion.   i totally disagree.

just to make sure i have it right, i emailed my balikbayan brother dr. godofredo “butch” stuart, now based in tiaong, quezon, who is my first resource on contraception.   his response:

REPRO 101

Fertilization occurs when sperm-meets-ovum, 200 to 500 million sperms in the ejaculate, discharged into the vaginal vault, embarking on journey up the vagina, up the cervix. Only less than a thousand survive the swim and make it to the fallopian tube, into the “last lap” of their swim. These sperms have fertilizing capabilities that last only for 72 hours, sometimes 96 hours.

And once a month, normally, one mature egg is released from the ovary, fertilizable only for 24 hours. Into the fallopian tube it begins the journey, where it is met by one of the surviving sperma. So fertilization occurs, resulting in a zygote.

The germinal stage (0 to 2 weeks) begins when the zygote journeys down the fallopian tube to the uterus, reaching the uterus in 4 to 5 days, floating freely in the uterine cavity for several more days, finally adhering to the uterine wall about the 8th day after fertilization. By the 12th the egg is firmly implanted. And by the end of the second week the uterine wall has completely surrounded the newly developing organism.

This is the basic arithmetic on sperm and ovum life spans, and how the implantation happens many days later after fertilization. And how morning-after contraception works in the schemata of the germinal stage and implantation.

check out his website stuartxchange.com where he has a page on emergency post-coital contraception.   between fertilization of the egg and its implantation in the uterus, there’s a 7-day window during which contraceptive pills taken in certain doses effectively prevents implantation, which is how the morning-after pill (banned here) works.

the question is, when a woman resorts to emergency contraception, is that abortion?   i don’t think so.   while it is true that a fertilized egg has life, still it’s NOT A VIABLE LIFE, not until implantation.

DOC BUTCH :  Yes, non-viable until implantation.  Alive, yes, as in in-vitro fertilization, alive in the laboratory milieu, but still needing the uterine implantation to enter a sustaining nutritional environment.

which brings me back to fr. bernas’s questions: when does abortion take place?   answer: certainly not when a woman resorts to emergency contraception “the morning after” sex, because a fertilized egg (if at all there is one) is not yet a viable life-form.   and no, BIRTH CONTROL PILLS ARE NOT ABORTIFACIENTS:  once a fertilized egg has implanted onto the uterine wall, no amount of these pills can dislodge or remove it from the uterine wall.   (only real abortifacients can dislodge, abort, a zygote, but that’s for another blog.)

of course pro-lifers would disagree with me till kingdom come.   but try googling it and you will find that there are as many arguments for fertilization, as there are for implantation, as the beginning of human life.   so fr. bernas asks: who is to settle the debate re the alleged “abortifacient effect of some birth control means” — congress? the courts? science? the church? the ralliers?   answer: NONE OF THE ABOVE.   i say THE WOMAN DECIDES, not the priests or the opus deists.

DOC BUTCH : From opposing ends, it will never be answered or agreed upon. Yes, in the end, it should be the woman’s right, sole and inalienable, unburdened by archaic church edicts and impotent male political will. Too, a daunting responsibility for “educators” with the burdensome task of educating the womenfolk. And how to make the information available and comprehensible to the masa, who still resort to coat-hangers, grapevine pharmaceuticals, and dangerous herbal concoctions.

indeed.   widespread underground procedures kill about 1,000 women each year in this predominantly roman catholic country.

An estimated 560,000 women in the Philippines in 2008 sought abortion involving crude and painful methods such as intense abdominal massages by traditional midwives or inserting catheters into the uterus, said a report by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights.

which brings me back to the media, which have the power and the means not only to shape the debate but to make available the information and educate the womenfolk, thereby “to change the status quo of high rates of infant mortality, maternal deaths, and abortions. It is a moral imperative that such dehumanizing conditions should not be allowed to continue.”

DOC BUTCH :    Media seems to kowtow to the powers that be.  It seems like institutional fear.  No cojones to challenge the church on such matters.  Or perhaps everyone of note in media went to the same church-sponsored Sex Education 101.  Masyadong malakas ang simbahan.

but is it just fear of excommunication and hellfire,  or is it also a lack of critical thinking,  and not caring enough about the issues that matter?   media is plural for mediocre?   yes, all of the above.

56 Responses to media, priests & abortion

  1. October 25, 2010 at 4:27 am
    GabbyD

    ” priests and other rabid pro-lifers continue to insist that birth control pills (that prevent ovulation so no egg is produced for sperm to fertilize) are abortifacients. nakakaloka. ”

    the problem is that the pill doesnt prevent ovulation with 100% accuracy. it might allow ovulation.

  2. October 25, 2010 at 4:29 am
    GabbyD

    oh, just to complete the argument…

    if it doesnt stop ovulation, it may mess up the endetrium lining of the womb, making it impossible for a fertilized egg to implant.

    this would also terminate the pregnancy, but is called “abortifacient” for the same reasons u cite (and might agree with)

  3. October 25, 2010 at 8:48 am

    @gabby d. impossibility of implantation doesn’t equal to abortion, obviously.

  4. October 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm
    GabbyD

    @ina

    what does “fertilization” mean?

  5. October 25, 2010 at 8:52 pm
    baycas

    Please pardon the following litanies (actually re-posts from another blog)…

    Journalist and blogger Manuel Buencamino [over at Pro Pinoy Project (PPP) and Uniffors] quoted Donald Rumsfeld. I supplied some information relevant (with some editing) to the quotation and the topic:

    There are things we know that we know.

    1. When a man had normal sexual intercourse with a woman a child may be conceived.
    2. Our Constitution protects the life of the unborn child upon conception.
    3. Conception means the sperm is able to fertilize the egg (fertilization): the beginning of life.
    4. Contraception means anti-conception: the sperm does not fertilize the egg.
    5. Contraception is allowed but our Revised Penal Code criminalizes abortion.
    6. Contraception can either be natural or artificial. This is usually employed before or during sexual intercourse.
    7. Natural family planning includes symptoms-based method (e.g., Billings method), calendar-based method (e.g., rhythm method), and lactational amenorrhea (when a woman gives birth and is breastfeeding; regular menstrual cycle will not immediately return resulting in temporary female infertility)
    8. Artificial contraception includes use of barrier methods (e.g., condom or diaphragm; spermicides), sterilization (vasectomy or bilateral tubal ligation), and withdrawal method.
    9. Abstinence may or may not be considered a contraceptive method. Nonetheless, it (similar with successful sterilization) provides 100% effective birth control.
    10. The rest of the birth control methods may still give rise to conception. But if used in combination (e.g., use of condom by male and contraceptive pill by female) may achieve a higher chance of contraception close to abstinence.

  6. October 25, 2010 at 8:54 pm
    baycas

    There are things that we now know we don’t know.

    1. Pregnancy may begin (a) upon fertilization (pro-life definition), or (b) upon uterine implantation (medical science). It is of no matter to discuss further the meaning of pregnancy because our Constitution already protected the unborn child UPON CONCEPTION.
    2. Early pregnancy (a) is difficult to diagnose (e.g., we need to use an expensive and still unreliable(?) “pregnancy” test to detect the protein called Early Pregnancy Factor or EPF within 48 hours of ovulation if fertilization occurred) whereas the latter definition (b) can be easily detected by hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) testing – the usual pregnancy test.
    3. Abortion in our setting means disrupting the natural process of life of the fertilized egg; in short, disrupting pregnancy. We will not know if fertilization has occurred but we can ascertain if implantation happened (about 6-10 days post-ovulation) by the readily-available pregnancy testing usually done when a woman missed a period or when she feels like being pregnant.
    4. We now know that pregnancy takes place after fertilization but we don’t know if any abortion will TRULY occur from immediately beyond that stage up to the implantation stage because it is not feasible to detect if actual fertilization happened. (The fertilized egg stays in the fallopian tube for 3 days before entering the uterus and begins to implant to the uterine lining.)
    5. Artificial contraception also includes hormonal methods [oral or injectable contraceptives; emergency contraception (EC)] and intrauterine methods.
    6. The pill or the injectable hormones (taken or given before sex) and the emergency contraception (using a higher dose of or a different concoction from the ordinary pill; “emergency” because it is done within 72 hours after unprotected sex) act in four mechanisms: two ways as contraceptive (preventing fertilization) and another two as abortifacient (preventing implantation of fertilized egg).
    7. Intrauterine devices (IUDs), a part of EC, may be laden with spermicides (contraceptive property); other times with hormones preventing implantation (abortifacient property). Combined with hormones may increase the chance of birth control or, possibly, abortion.
    8. We now know that hormonal methods (with or without IUDs) may work as contraceptive or as abortifacient but we don’t know how they actually work inside the woman’s womb at a given instance.

  7. October 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm
    baycas

    But there are also things we do not know we don’t know.

    1. Breakthrough ovulation is the presence of ovulation even after performing rhythm method or even after using hormonal contraceptives. It is not synonymous to fertilization.
    2. Sexual intercourse during breakthrough ovulation may result in pregnancy (sperm fertilizing the egg). Fertilization during breakthrough ovulation may be prevented by using a condom and/or diaphragm.
    3. We do not know if breakthrough ovulation occurred so we don’t know if a sperm is able to meet an egg (fertilization).
    4. We do not know if breakthrough ovulation then fertilization occurred so we don’t know if abortion has taken place after using hormonal contraceptives alone prior to having sex (Same case also after EC).

  8. October 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm
    baycas

    Over at PPP, this is one of my later comments in the thread:

    Though Bacolod representative Dr. Golez is “constitutionally” right in his belief that life begins at fertilization*, I may have some reservations (in the interest of the State’s responsibility to both mother and the unborn) in his other assertion.

    The problem with Dr. Golez’s media pronouncements is that, through all the years they are legally available in the market, the pill (or the OC) and the injectable hormonal contraceptives will finally be proved to be “contrabands” after he (and Congress) determines that life begins at fertilization. It is because he adheres to the idea, as “conceptionists” or pro-lifers do, that the hormonal contraceptives are abortifacients as they prevent uterine implantation of the resultant blastocyst.

    I believe the State must consider that a woman, because she may become a mother equally protected by our Constitution as the unborn, ought to be given an informed choice. Hormonal contraceptive, with correct and consistent use, is not an abortifacient by itself for it has been proven to be highly effective in preventing ovulation and in preventing the sperm to “swim” effectively to meet the egg. Not only that, for there is another mechanism…it is also good in preventing fertilization by making the egg impervious to penetration by the sperm. So, strictly speaking, a woman will not abort anything.

    But Dr. Golez said it works that way in 97% only. How about the 3% chance? I don’t know his stats but probably he means 3% accidental pregnancies from use of hormonal contraceptives alone.

    This slim a chance, mostly attributed to improper and inconsistent use of the contraceptive, could now be addressed by my suggestion (I already posted it at PPP).

  9. October 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm
    baycas

    Footnote to previous comment:

    —–
    *[“This is reflected in one of the exchanges during the debate. Since the protection of the unborn was to begin from conception, Reverend Cirilo Rigos asked when the “moment of conception” was. Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, who was the principal sponsor of the provision, answered that the conception took place with fertilization since “it is when the ovum is fertilized by the sperm that there is human life.” When Commissioner Fely Aquino observed that at that point there would only be biological life, Bishop Teodoro Bacani did not contradict her but said that there would already be biological human life even if there was as yet no “person.”

    From this it can be seen that the intention is to protect the “life” even before implantation in the uterus, that is, from the moment biological life begins. The constitutional intent, in other words, is to play it safe lest human life be destroyed and to impose the protection even before implantation in the uterus.”]

    http://zglaw.com/blog/church-constitution-and-the-rh-bill.html

  10. October 25, 2010 at 8:59 pm
    baycas

    The particular MB blog post I am referring to is found here:

    http://propinoy.net/2010/10/19/im-not-sure-anymore/

  11. October 27, 2010 at 1:56 am
    manuelbuencaminYoo

    Let’s grant for the sake of argument that life begins at fertilization. The question then is how can one tell if and exactly when fertilization occurred? Therein would lie the difference between contraception and abortion, between what is legal and illegal. Absent a definite answer, I believe we should not sacrifice the rights of those we are sure are alive to protect the rights of those we presume are alive.

  12. October 27, 2010 at 2:53 am
    GabbyD

    “Absent a definite answer, I believe we should not sacrifice the rights of those we are sure are alive to protect the rights of those we presume are alive.”

    but if you are NOT SURE and the affected persons CANNOT DEFEND themselves, then you must be more cautious, right? then you must fight to protect those who can’t defend themselves, right?

  13. October 27, 2010 at 5:29 am
    baycas

    Here lies the key in matters of contraception (as I mentioned as the exact opposite of conception). The State is directed…

    [“It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”]

    Absent an exact determination of the beginning (fertilization) and the end (abortion), the State MUST make sure that a would-be mother (the carrier of the fertilized egg) and a would-be unborn (the fertilized egg) will not ever exist.

  14. October 27, 2010 at 8:49 am
    baycas

    Artificial Contraception and Protection

    Consider a woman who had unprotected sex:

    Either…
    1. She will not carry a fertilized egg. She employed emergency contraception* (EC). No mother, no unborn child. No one to protect except maybe the woman having side effects from the EC. However, no protection from STD.
    Or…
    2. She will carry a fertilized egg. She employed EC. The life of the mother may have been protected as she may not want the unborn child. The life of the unborn child is sacrificed. No protection from STD.

    Consider a woman on consistent hormonal contraceptives who had sex with an unprotected male.

    Either…
    1. She will not carry a fertilized egg. No mother, no unborn child. No protection from STD.
    Or…
    2. She will carry a fertilized egg. A mother and an unborn child will exist “accidentally.” No protection from STD.

    Consider a woman on consistent hormonal contraceptives who had sex with a man wearing condom.

    1. She will not carry a fertilized egg. No mother, no unborn child. Risk of STD reduced to a minimum, if not prevented.

    —–
    *In a rape case, the hormonal pill with less than 90% chance of preventing pregnancy will be used. The copper IUD with a 99% chance of preventing pregnancy is contraindicated because of possibility of sexually transmitted and pelvic inflammatory diseases.

  15. October 28, 2010 at 1:56 am
    BrianB

    I think I’ve said it many times. Pro-condom people simply want to hurt the church or promote gay marriage. The real debate is in congress. Many congressman are enthusiastic about the death penalty. Now, why aren’t they showing the same enthusiasm for birth control. It’s the macho-conservative mindset population control is up against. The RC church has been losing the contraceptive battle in every country in the world except the Philippines… because the people in other countries advocating birth control have their hearts in the right place. Mature. Eh mga tao dito gusto puro psycho-drama ginagawa.

  16. October 28, 2010 at 4:24 am
    baycas

    (The following is my suggestion as first posted on October 23, 2010 at the same PPP link I posted above:

    http://propinoy.net/2010/10/19/im-not-sure-anymore/ )

    Our Constitution forbids the State to promote or prohibit religion and its practices. (The Separation of Church and State)

    Offer natural family planning and artificial methods.

    Our Constitution also dictates the State to protect the mother and the unborn from conception.

    Prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Prevent abortion.

    Prevent unintended pregnancies and STDs by appropriate sex education (comprehensive) across all reproductive age groups. (Sexual or coital debut is reported at 13 years old. Start sex education 1-2 years earlier than that. Responsible parenthood, aside from sex education, needs to be stressed for the adults.)

    The surest way to prevent abortion is by not allowing the sperm to fertilize the egg. The benchmark here by natural process is abstinence from sexual intercourse. (It is a behavioral process, we must accept, that is not to everyone’s liking.)

    How to approximate such process artificially? Combine barrier method (e.g., condom for male) and hormonal drug (e.g., injectable contraceptive for female) during and before sexual intercourse, respectively.

    —–

    This one has to be carefully considered just to safeguard would-be mothers:

    Emergency Contraception (use of strong pills with or without copper IUD; IUD, by the way, was also proven to be effective in preventing fertilization) must be regulated and must be available only when extremely necessary. This post-sexual intercourse scenario, by its label, involves unprotected sex. Timely intervention (within 24 hours probably) is of utmost importance here because there is a chance of fertilization and therefore abortion is likely to happen. (Unprotected sex, or unsafe sex, is contrary to the plan of preventing unintended pregnancies and STDs. Therefore it has to be emphasized that unprotected sex, especially by males, should be strictly avoided.)

  17. October 28, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    @baycas: before implantation, is that abortion? i don’t think so. besides, even without emergency contraception:

    http://www.gopchoice.org/cgos.asp: “It is estimated that 30 to 70 percent of fertilized eggs (in women not using contraception) never implant and are passed with the menses.”

  18. October 29, 2010 at 12:11 am
    baycas

    Some quick answers as I am nursing a flu…

    1. This is a re-post of my comment at the PPP blog…
    Medical Science, incidentally, already pegged the beginning of pregnancy at the completion of implantation, i.e., around two weeks from the union of sperm and egg. Fertilization is a necessary but still insufficient step when talking about the path to pregnancy is concerned.

    2. As I understood our Constitution, conception means fertilization.

    3. Spontaneous abortions and chemical abortions are possibilities after fertilization. One is natural, one is not.

  19. October 29, 2010 at 12:12 am
    GabbyD

    @angela:

    ” before implantation, is that abortion? i don’t think so.”

    why not?

  20. October 29, 2010 at 12:28 am
    UP nn grad

    GabbyD: your line of questioning is leading to a logic where masturbation is abortion.

    Now think of this particular business and technology — IVF clinics. When fertilized eggs do not meet certain criteria, the fertilized eggs are discarded by doctors and nurses of Pilipinas IVF clinics.

  21. October 29, 2010 at 12:45 am
    GabbyD

    @UP

    masturbation is abortion? huh? paano?

    re: IVF. it depends. whats the criteria?

  22. October 29, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    What makes one a human and therefore have human rights? What reasonable objective criteria do humans possess? (Im assuming that everyone here agrees that humans have rights, even though the existence of those rights is impossible to verify via science. In fact if science were the sole means by which we determine things, we would conclude that human rights dont exist. But that’s another topic.)

    We cannot point to behavior, the possession of culture, or language, or literature, or use of technology as criteria. Other species are known to possess those. In fact, there are those in Europe and elsewhere who argue that chimps and dolphins should have rights. In the Philippines a few years ago, an environmental lawyers’ group once went to court representing dolphins. Im not kidding. (I can’t find the Inquirer link though.)

    So by what criteria do we objectively determine whether a creature is human? By their genes. If they have human genes, theyre human, and have rights. So I vote for fertilization. To set arbitrary criteria as to what constitutes humanity would place human-ness in the hands of politicians. The framers of the Constitution I suppose recognized this so they defined human life as occurring from conception so as to get the politicians’ hands off it.

    (That means sperm cells aint human, UP.)

  23. October 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Ah, the internet. What a gift. Here’s a link to the lawyers representing dolphins thing. Justice at Sea: Can Dolphins & Whales Sue?

  24. October 29, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    @baycas: (get well soon ;) more on natural “abortion”: ‘between 60 and 80 percent of all naturally conceived embryos are simply flushed out in women’s normal menstrual flows unnoticed… In fact, according to Opitz, embryologists estimate that the rate of natural loss for embryos that have developed for seven days or more is 60 percent. The total rate of natural loss of human embryos increases to at least 80 percent if one counts from the moment of conception. About half of the embryos lost are abnormal, but half are not, and had they implanted they would probably have developed into healthy babies.

    ‘So millions of viable human embryos each year produced via normal conception fail to implant and never develop further. Does this mean America is suffering a veritable holocaust of innocent human life annihilated?…Does that mean that if we could detect such unimplanted embryos as they leave the womb, we would have a duty to rescue them and try to implant them anyway’

    http://wellthoughtoutlife.blogspot.com/2009/12/beginning-of-life-implantation-and.html

  25. October 29, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    @ jeg: yeah, love the internet! re genes:

    “The primary biological argument behind conception being the beginning of life is that conception is when the complete genetic code (DNA) is formed through the joining of the sperm and egg. I question whether this is consistent. Genetic code is present long after death, yet we still consider the person and their life to be gone. The question is not when the genetic code is present but when a PERSON is present with the genetic code.”

    http://wellthoughtoutlife.blogspot.com/2009/12/beginning-of-life-implantation-and.html

  26. October 29, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Yap, genetic code is present in a dead guy but it’s no longer instructing genes to replicate themselves. (Blogspot is blocked where I am. Blek.) My dining table theoretically has the genetic code of the tree it came from but does anyone doubt that the dining table is dead? ‘When does life begin?’ is what’s in contention, not ‘When does life end?’

    “The question is not when the genetic code is present but when a PERSON is present with the genetic code.”

    Exactly. It’s a question. Genes however — the replicating ones, not the dead ones — are not. It’s a certainty. Why then would we base life on a question instead of a certainty, giving life — human life — the widest possible leeway?

  27. October 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    There is no argument that the beginning of life commenced from the moment of fertilization however vague is the stage of determining whether the fertilized egg is a person already or not yet. My take on this is that any move to stop the progress or continuation of that life is abortion already. I’m in favor of the RH Bill if there is no condoning of abortion in the proposed law. However, I believe that there ought to be a law allowing abortion in cases where the fertilized egg has no farther chance of survival specially if the life of the woman carrying that egg is in danger.

  28. October 29, 2010 at 10:18 pm
    UP nn grad

    Click here and look for Abortion in the Bible.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2027582,00.html

    and about monogamy and divorce.

  29. October 30, 2010 at 1:35 am
    BrianB

    First of all, you mean human life. Second of all, human life isn’t a technical or scientific concept but a moral one. Not everyone thinks humanity is contingent to the human form (that it looks human or is genetically human doesn’t mean it’s human, i.e. an anencephalic child isn’t human at all. A famous contemporary philosopher (the originator of animal rights) believes that if a human being is physiologically incapable of thought and complex emotion (a child with anencephaly for example) it should not have the same rights as other humans. In fact, a cow should have more rights, according to him.

    Depende yan kung sinong tanungin mo… doctor, pari, scientist, pulitiko. This birth control issue should boil down to how our culture thinks about conception… not to glorified kanto logic.

  30. October 30, 2010 at 1:49 am
    BrianB

    Pinapalakas nyo lang ang argumento ng mga pari.

    You’re like donkeys trying to take a bite of their philosophical carrot. Tinapunan kayo ng buto, dayb kaagad na parang mga aso. You’re so intellectually vain that you’d rather debate on purely theoretical issues… What is life is a question that has been asked for millennia. Ngayon nyo pa sasagutin yan? Ganyan ba ka sacred talaga buhay ng tao sa inyo. Iinisin kayo, pahihiyan kayo di nyo kaya patayin ang tao?

    Wag na nga tayong magkunwari na malalim tayo. Basta, a few years from now 150 million na tayo. Kaya ba ng tax base natin bigyan pa ng libreng edukasyon ang mga bata? HINDI. Traffic? Manigas kayo. krimen? Away? Dadami. So dapat noon pa may desisyon na kayo.

  31. October 30, 2010 at 7:49 am

    human life isn’t a technical or scientific concept but a moral one.

    This is correct. This of course presumes the existence of moral facts, as I believe they do. If there werent moral facts, then the decision of the more powerful party will win, or in a democracy ‘majority rules’. (It’s the ‘rules’ part that is so odious to me.) If most people think it’s ok to kill the unborn, then that’s what youll get. If it is a moral question, do you guys really think this is a question for politicians?

    Moral questions are questions of conscience. Therefore this is a decision of the individual: the individual who wants to kill the human in her womb, and the decision of the individual health worker who helps her do it.

    It is almost a certainty that there would come a time when there is no more social stigma attached to having an abortion, or indeed to being a doctor who helps women have abortions. Just like there is no more social stigma attached to being a corrupt politician. We will have as ninong sa kasal doctors who run successful abortion-on-demand clinics just as we have ninongs who are corrupt mayors or congressmen or Jueteng lords as a matter of prestige.

  32. October 30, 2010 at 11:02 am

    “Wag na nga tayong magkunwari na malalim tayo. Basta, a few years from now 150 million na tayo. Kaya ba ng tax base natin bigyan pa ng libreng edukasyon ang mga bata? HINDI.”-BrianB

    Aywan ko sila. Ako, wala akong pagkukunwari. Hindi kaya ng aking dibdib na patayin ang anak na nasa sinapupunan ng aking asawa dahilan lang sa takot kong mapupuno na ng tao ang mundo. Sila, kung kaya ng dibdib nila, sige lang, gawin nila.

    Wala akong pakialam sa mga opinion ng mga pari. Hindi naman ako naniniwala.

  33. October 30, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Sila, kung kaya ng dibdib nila, sige gawin nila. Huwag lang nilang itanong sa akin dahil siguradong hindi ako papayag. Hindi talaga kaya ng dibdib ko.

  34. October 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    “Not everyone thinks humanity is contingent to the human form (that it looks human or is genetically human doesn’t mean it’s human, i.e. an anencephalic child isn’t human at all. A famous contemporary philosopher (the originator of animal rights) believes that if a human being is physiologically incapable of thought and complex emotion (a child with anencephaly for example) it should not have the same rights as other humans. In fact, a cow should have more rights, according to him.”-BrianB

    I agree with that, incidentally. Still, I think that it’s preposterous, to say the least, to have a negative assumption that the unborn fetus might/could become an abnormal human being anyway and therefore there is no moral implications involved in eliminating the fertilized egg in its inception.

  35. October 30, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    He’s talking about Peter Singer, who believes women should have the right to abort babies after giving birth to them. Up to eight weeks old if I remember correctly. His views have their own internal logic. If it’s ok to kill babies just before theyre born, it shouldnt make any difference to kill them just after theyre born. The ‘when’ is arbitrary. A baby in the womb is just as helpless as a baby out of the womb.

  36. October 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    “You’re like donkeys trying to take a bite of their philosophical carrot. Tinapunan kayo ng buto, dayb kaagad na parang mga aso. You’re so intellectually vain that you’d rather debate on purely theoretical issues… What is life is a question that has been asked for millennia. Ngayon nyo pa sasagutin yan? Ganyan ba ka sacred talaga buhay ng tao sa inyo. Iinisin kayo, pahihiyan kayo di nyo kaya patayin ang tao?”-BrianB

    Hindi ako natatamaan sa mga salitang ito ni BrianB. Kung ako man ang pinatatamaan niya, hindi pa rin kaya ng dibdib ko na patayin siya dahil sa ako ay mayroong pusong mamon, :).

    Subali’t, I am in favor of the Death Penalty. I’ll be happy to see those guilty convicts inside Muntinlupa and Bilibid prisons sentenced with death penalty, those politician instigators of massacre and genocide, and plunderers of the country’s wealth, killed right away.

    But, to kill the innocent baby? Naaaah!

  37. October 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Just to be persnickety about this subject of abortion, and over-population is the ultimate crisis that we must avoid at all cost of life as BrianB seems to be insinuating, why should we be venting our ire on the innocent and helpless baby who came to be not of his/her own fault nor his/her own making but the woman’s and the guy’s who can’t control their urges at the wrong moment?

    Kung hindi ako pusong mamon, sila ang papatayin ko, :).

  38. October 30, 2010 at 10:23 pm
    joji umali-riyadh

    In our Religion 101, man is defined as created being composed of body and soul. Therefore, to be human is to come out in this world with both the physical attribute and a “spirit” in order to enjoy his right to human life. Is the unborn fertilized egg has the moral right to human life even God has not “breath” his spirit into it. Therefore, even if there is a physical evidence of fetus but not Spiritual life” in it, can we call that human life entitled to human right to live without God’s power of life to exist??? Who has the absolute certitude that the baby-in-process is human or not???

  39. October 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion

    http://www.sacredchoices.org/News_Tracker/moderate_RC_position_on_contraception_abortion.htm

  40. October 30, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Embryos and ensoulment: when does life begin?

    “What matters is that scientists cannot solve the moral questions, and theologians and philosophers cannot argue without the latest scientific knowledge. Although those who work in bioethics used largely to be people of faith, these days they hold a mixture of faith-based and humanistic views. Their goal should be to stop any single view prevailing. There is no absolute truth here. If views have changed for 2500 years, they will continue to change. A calm watching brief is what is needed, not a shrill condemnation by one interest group of another. So it is time for less certainty from scientists that their research will bring forth human benefit, and a groping, uncertain crossdisciplinary study of philosophy, theology, and science together. That might lead us to some conclusions about what can be allowed in our time, not in the future.”

    http://www.sacredchoices.org/News_Tracker/moderate_RC_position_on_contraception_abortion.htm

  41. October 31, 2010 at 3:20 am
    UP nn grad

    Pilipinas should think about putting a final stamp on this abortion issue by hunting down and put in jail all the women who have had an abortion in the past 12 years. A crime is a crime is a crime. Justice is served only when the guilty are identified, charged with the crime, and if found guilty, then jailed.

  42. October 31, 2010 at 4:50 am
    GabbyD

    @angela

    if its true that the issue is uncertain, isnt that an argument for more caution, not less?

  43. October 31, 2010 at 12:58 pm
    BrianB

    Don’t let them lump abortion with the contraceptive issue. Please think about this. The RC church is the oldest living political body in the world. Expert ang mga ito sa lahat ng rhetoric, even if they mean well 9saving our souls). They invented the white lie, you know.

  44. November 4, 2010 at 6:00 am
    baycas

    @Angela, thanks. Had a good rest and am well now. Had a nice vacation also…away from internet use…

    Well, going back…Grimes and Cook said:

    [“The hypothesis that “a fertilized ovum constitutes a new human life” apparently considers a preembryo to be the same as an implanted embryo that would be affected by abortion. Opinions differ on this point. Moreover, the notion that human life begins at fertilization does not necessarily take biologic reality into account. For example, a fertilized ovum may result in a hydatidiform mole or choriocarcinoma, not a human being. Moreover, human reproduction is inefficient. The majority of conceptions that occur either do not implant in the uterus or are lost through spontaneous abortion. Those of us alive today are the minority who survived this biologic winnowing. Rather than being an aberration of voluntary fertility control, the loss of zygotes is common in human reproduction.”]

    (Emphasis mine. Ref: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199302043280515 )

    However, I believe our Constitution protected even the unborn at the stage from fertilization to complete implantation. Rumsfeld’s unknown unknowns (such as the moment of fertilization and the fate of the fertilized egg) will come into play.

    Our Constitution played it safe…if not, human life may be needlessly terminated or aborted.

  45. November 4, 2010 at 6:01 am
    baycas

    Additional reading:

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM199210083271509

    This is where the editorial by Grimes and Cook was first published (October 8, 1992).

  46. November 4, 2010 at 6:02 am
    baycas

    The following are good reads probably but as they require subscription I failed to completely read them:

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM198807283190409

    [“Between fertilization and implantation and the clinical identification of pregnancy there is a period of hazard and potential pregnancy loss. Pregnancy loss during this period is usually classified as occult abortion or “chemical beta human chorionic gonadotropin (ß hCG) abortion” (implying a positive pregnancy test with or without delayed bleeding). The study by Wilcox et al. in this issue of the Journal assesses such pregnancy loss with a sensitive urinary immunoradiometric assay in 230 healthy women. The assay is a test with exquisite specificity and sensitivity that measures intact hCG plus some free beta-subunit radicals without cross-reaction with luteinizing hormone…”]

    Those are the first 100 words of the editorial entitled “There’s Many a Slip ‘twixt Implantation and the Crib” by A. Brian Little, M. D. which appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine on July 28, 1988.

    The Wilcox study is found here:

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM198807283190401

  47. November 4, 2010 at 6:03 am
    baycas

    And this one too, a correspondence by Hertz-Picciotto directed to Little’s editorial:

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM198812013192214

    The first 100 words are as follows:

    [“ To the Editor: In an editorial in the July 28 issue, Little reviews previous estimates of total pregnancy loss of 60 to 78 percent. He uses the newly released study of Wilcox et al. to conclude that about 52 percent of fertilizations result in loss before the 28th week of gestation and that “all but 6 percent of this 52 percent occurs before an abortion is recognized clinically.” The derivation of these figures is unclear.

    Little suggests that about 15 percent of fertilized ova are lost before implantation, leaving 85 percent of fertilized eggs to be implanted and detected by…”]

    (Emphasis mine.)

  48. November 16, 2010 at 4:53 am
    baycas

    RH bill talking points by Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J.

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20101115-303311/RH-bill-talking-points

    [“Along similar lines it can be said that the “two track” system will protect the freedom of religion of Catholic health workers even as they are required to promote the goals of the RH bill. The benefit is directly for individuals and for the promotion of the goals of the law and only incidentally for the benefit of religion, if at all. (This might disappoint bishops and priests, however, who are ready to become martyrs!)”]

  49. April 16, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Another fantastic article! I shared this one on Twitter – you should add a “like” button to your blogposts. :)

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