Thursday, September 2

Ignoring the obvious

Every so often, local media would churn out reports about fetuses in shoe boxes that turn up in churches. That's regular tabloid fare. Networks would trundle out "exposes" about manghihilots, niceties for abortionists. Tonight, Jessica Soho Reports joins the ranks of those who raise their fists against our decaying moral fiber. Apparently, all the towns in the Philippines have their own village abortionist. Oh, they call it a manghihilot, or the friendly "herbal medicine advocate" outside Quiapo church who sells pamparegla, but it's abortion just the same.

What follows is a primetime witch hunt of these women who essentially snuff out the results of uninformed hetero sex. They also managed to trundle out women who got pregnant quite young, sought out the easy solution in the form of pills or hilot, and became infected when the catherer was left for 3 days inside their uterus. Then there's also the woman who had 3-7 abortions a year. But she didn't stop there: every time she hears about another woman who's rumored to be pregnant and might be interested in the operation, she would convince the woman to go to her "suking abortionista." What's even more appalling is not it's not even that expensive to get things done. Two hundred pesos (roughly $3.57 with the current exchange rate) for every month of conception. But then Catholic guilt kicked in and she stopped being an abortionist's agent. She started a new life and is now on her eleventh pregnancy.

To give the feature the appearance of fairness, they interviewed this woman from a woman's reproductive health organization, and her suggestion was to legalize abortion to avoid all these "gruesome events" of fetuses in boxes. What's even more gruesome, she says, is the number of women who die each year from the complications of botched abortions. These are, after all, medical operations. If you legalize them, if you make women aware of their choices, that they could get themselves qualified medical people to do it for them, then there would be no need to hie off to far off neighborhoods in the provinces or in the more unreliable parts of town to procure oneself of such a procedure.

Well and good. I'm all for women empowerment and all that blah. Make the women aware of their choices. Legalize the operation. Everyone is pointing fingers that all these things stem from the fact that young people are becoming aware of sex early. But nobody is telling these kids that if you have sex, you better use protection or else you might find yourself with a baby nine or so months down the road.

That's actually more basic than the abortion problem. So girls, nice or not, do get knocked up. Are we still going to be scandalized or are we going to do something about it?

But apparently, people just want to pretend that no, nobody ever has sex in this country except the married people. And the married people pretend that they're not having sex with people not their spouses. So when the problem does make itself known --bumukol na ang nauukol--that's when they scurry around for the solution. You want to fool around, get yourselves some rubber. It would save us all some time.

I actually miss those Reproductive Health ads from some eons ago. The only way we get out of this mess is for people to be aware of their responsibilities that come with pursuing physical relationships. It will solve the population problem.

We're already 80 million strong. We don't have the means to feed all our people, take care of them decently. People aren't getting basic health care. We don't need any more babies regardless of whether the church says it's bad to say no to God's little gifts.

Let's cut out the Catholic guilt crap. If we churn out more and more babies and people aren't ready to take care of them, you're just bringing out lives that will end up in poverty. I think that's an even more cruel end than becoming an exhibit in a forensic museum when you die.

For all this crap, maybe it's time to trundle out Rosanna Roces again if only to have a loud woman speak out loud enough that hey, we have to do something other than pretend to be moral and all. What would even be better is to ask people who will make people sit up and listen.

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