The Windmill and the Dragon

By Darren de la Torre Mangado

Articulating the worth of a human person (born or unborn) to an audience with pragmatic inclinations is arduous, exhausting, and to some extent frustrating. Anxiety accompanies the every word I say and doubts constantly present themselves like hydra’s heads. Nevertheless, when everything seems futile, it is inspiring to know that on my side are my friends from World Youth Alliance, who like me also decided to articulate and fight for human dignity.

Some people told me that such an advocacy is quixotic. According to them, it will be the same as fighting a windmill while thinking that the windmill is a dragon. It could be true; but I have my reasons into believing that an innocent windmill could in fact be a monster in disguise.

For the past months, I have been exposed to a seemingly innocent bill with a noble rhetoric. The bill promises to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates, alleviate poverty and empower women. We all want these to happen. We all want to protect our mothers, our children, our sisters, our grandmothers, and our friends. Nevertheless, I believe that the Reproductive Health bill cannot guarantee these promises rather it could result in adverse consequences.

The RH bill promotes a culture of one-night stand. As long as participants in sexual acts use contraceptives, everything is ok. As long as everybody is enjoying sex without producing an offspring, everything is ok. As such, pregnancy will become an anathema to this lifestyle. No one would want to have a baby. Nevertheless, since contraceptives do not guarantee absolute protection from pregnancy, a baby can always snatch a chance to his/her mother’s uterus. Given this one-night stand culture, mothers will be tempted to abort the baby. The result is contrary to what the bill promises, abortion rate will increase and thus mothers will be prone to more complications that will ultimately cause death. Legalization of abortion will inevitably follow because of this scenario.

The RH bill promises to alleviate poverty. In the first place, the use of the word alleviate implies that poverty will not be resolved. Another sad thing about the ‘alleviation of poverty’ is its indifference towards the poor. Alleviation of poverty is the same as sugar coating poverty so that it will be palatable to the poor. This objective is insincere.

The RH bill promises to empower women. In what ways can a woman be empowered by the RH bill? Couples should be able to decide freely the number and spacing of their children. Should a woman need to negotiate with her husband, negotiations should be on equal footing. Wives should assert their rights and if husbands disagree, wives should not resort to meek compliance and compromise. The bill proposes that wives can make a compromise by using contraceptives. Husbands coercing their wives to have sex with them even with the use of contraceptives is still considered rape! But again, the bill pushes a culture that as long as a baby is not born even if women are silently weeping, everything is ok.

Others claim that these arguments have long been expounded and expanded and thus a retrospect is unnecessary. True enough, and so we just need to look for the result of an RH law somewhere in the world. China, Europe and Singapore to name a few are now facing economic repercussions and various adverse consequences brought about by their versions of an RH law. Nevertheless, some people remain convinced that the RH bill is an innocent windmill that is beneficial to the people. For my part, I see a dragon that is just waiting to be unleashed to terrorize my mother, my grandmother, my sisters, my friends, and my future children. I do not want that to happen.

Protecting people from the harms of a misguided legislation may seem arduous, exhausting, and to some extent frustrating but it is worth it because I know that by doing so I fulfill my responsibilities to my family, friends, and the society.