MANILA, July 29, 2011—The youth are hungry for information about themselves and about vital issues of the day—this much was evident based on requests received by Filipinos for Life to deliver talks on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill at a school and to an audience composed of high schoolers.

Some 150 students from various campus organizations of AMA East Rizal gathered for a symposium on the House Bill 4244, dubbed “RH Bill Awareness.”

In a three-hour presentation, Dr. Melissa Poblete and Dr. Abraham Cruz tackled key portions of the bill and explained relevant medical studies to help the students understand the repercussions of allowing the measure to be enacted into law.

Poblete, also a board member of Pro-Life Philippines, pointed out seemingly harmless sections of the P3 billion piece of legislation but devoted much time to tackle provisions that ought to be rejected and which the doctor referred to as coercive, anti-poor and anti-life.

Armed with documented medical research, she presented how oral contraceptive pills—the procurement and distribution of which are mandated by the RH bill—are actually carcinogenic, specifically linked to an increase risk of breast cancer.

“It is unethical for a medical professional not to disclose these medical facts,” Poblete said.
She also pointed out to the students that these birth control pills as well as other contraceptive drugs and devices, are being pushed to be categorized as “essential medicines” under the law via the bill authored by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman.

After the speaker’s presentation, the question about abortion being considered a “necessity” in some cases came up as a student queried, “Ano po ba ang masasabi ninyo sa aborsyon na isang option kung ang sitwasyon ay dapat papiliin, ina o sanggol?”

“If a treatment should be applied on the mother, and the baby dies [as a result of] the treatment, that is unintentional. It is different from intentionally killing the baby,” Poblete replied. “It’s a matter of ethics that the life of the baby should be considered as well.”

Cruz gave his insights as well on the ethics and Hippocratic oath taken by medical professionals—that they swear to save lives and not to kill. He then enjoined the AMA students to take to heart the importance of valuing life from beginning to end.

The youth parishioners of San Pablo Apostol in Tondo, on the other hand, were reminded about the importance of embracing chastity and keeping relationships pure, as Filipinos for Life founder Anthony James Perez provided a brief overture before nurse trainer Anna Cosio launched into a simple but informative talk on the medical aspects of the RH bill.

The high school juniors and seniors of the parish were visibly fascinated by the knowledge they acquired through the talk even after the speakers bade them goodbye for the night.

The forum was preceded by a Eucharistic celebration led by San Pablo Apostol parish priest Fr. Ricky Cabugsa FdCC, followed by a short musical performance by youth parishioners. (Raymond Bandril)