MANILA, August 16, 2012?Foreign organizations are out to circumvent the country’s strict abortion laws and control the population by way of the “reproductive health” (RH) bill, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III bared Wednesday.
In the continuation of his “turno en contra” speech representing the Senate opposition to the controversial bill, Sotto said four local groups were working to legitimize abortion in the Philippines, with financial help from these foreign organizations.
Sotto said the US Agency for International Development (USAID), various United Nations bodies, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have been seeking to “surreptitiously impose their hidden agenda through this bill.”
“Aking natuklasan na may mga local organizations na ginagamit ng kanilang mga katuwang na foreign organizations upang unti-unting imulat ang kamalayan ng sambayanang Pilipino sa moderno at liberal na reproductive health schemes, simula sa paggamit ng artificial contraceptives hanggang sa malaunang pagtanggap ng bansa sa konsepto ng abortion. This is the big picture, and the RH Bill is an important detail to complete this picture,” Sotto said.
The RH bill, which seeks billions in public funds to purchase and distribute artificial contraceptives nationwide, claims to uphold the prohibition against abortion, but various versions contain provisions mandating “post-abortion” care.
Studies abroad have connected a contraceptive lifestyle to increased abortions.
Sotto named the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN), Likhaan, and the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP). “Sa laki ng budget ng mga organisasyong ito, hindi na kataka-takang napakasigla ng kampanya nila para sa RH Bill sa radyo, telebisyon, pahayagan at lalo na sa internet,” he said.
“IPPF’s recent financial statement reveals that FPOP received a subsidy amounting to $625,095 or almost P27.5 million in 2011. It thus appears that FPOP [has] already adopted IPPF’s abortion advocacy. FPOP’s website displays the organization’s support to the use of abortive facilities. In fact, the FPOP posted on its website an instructional brochure discussing different methods of abortion, depending on the weeks of pregnancy,” Sotto said.
RHAN, meanwhile, had submitted a budget proposal to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) containing a budget allocation for “nurturing legislators,” to expedite the passage of the RH Bill, Sotto said.
“LIKHAAN, an affiliate of RHAN, is also one of the local organizations actively pushing for the RH Bill. It reportedly received funds from the UNFPA for the passage of the RH Bill. Likhaan openly supports abortion, as it features in its website step by step procedure on how to abort a baby,” Sotto bared.
The lawmaker also noted that DSWP “excludes the unborn from the definition of ‘children’ and claims that ‘calling the unborn a child is going beyond what the constitution provides.’”
Conflict of interest
Sotto also pointed to a conflict of interest on the part of those supplying data to proponents of the RH bill, citing the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey which was a basis for the oft-repeated statistic of 11 maternal deaths a day. The survey was funded by USAID.
“The USAID, for the information of the body, is the agency which the United States uses as its principal instrument to control and reduce the population through birth control worldwide. It is also the same agency which funded the DKT … manufacturer of Trust condoms, pills and other contraceptives. Nais ng DKT na lumaganap ang paggamit ng contraceptive products sa Pilipinas,” Sotto said.
“USAID ang magpopondo sa NSO para lumabas ang impormasyong kailangan ng population control sa bansa, at USAID din ang tumutulong sa DKT na mapalaganap ang produkto nila. Aba, ang galing ano? Gagawa ka ng demand for contraceptives, tapos ikaw ang magsu-supply ng solusyon. Magandang ideya sa marketing pero hindi sa paggawa ng batas.”
Sotto cited a 2010 World Health Organization publication stating that there were 5.75, not 11 maternal deaths a day. Data from hospitals nationwide, meanwhile, did not amount to 11 maternal deaths a day, he said. Nueva Viscaya Provincial Hospital only had two deaths in 2011. In Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, four deaths were recorded for the whole year. In Batangas Regional Hospital, there were seven deaths out of 2,584 deliveries, or 0.27%. Cavite Naval Hospital, meanwhile, did not have maternal deaths last year.
“Uulitin ko lamang po, hindi po sa wala akong pakialam sa mga nanay na namamatay. Ang punto ko po ay ayokong gamitin nila ang maling figures at statistics para lamang hikayatin ang nakakarami na ipasa ang RH bill. Maling konklusyon po ang kahihinatnan nitong maling figures. Gaya po ng nasabi ko nung Lunes, malamang kapag naipasa ang RH bill ay mas marami pang kababaihan ang mamamatay dahil sa contraceptives. Ayaw ko po mangyari `yon,” he added.
Last Monday, Sotto told his colleagues that contraceptives are abortifacients, and that they pose health risks to women and have harmful effects on children born to mothers using contraceptives and still got pregnant.
Sotto castigated critics for doubting his family’s own experience on the ill effects of pills. On Monday he revealed that his wife, actress Helen Gamboa, conceived while on the pill and gave birth in 1975. The child, Vincent Paul, was born with cardiovascular problems and died five months later.
“I would like to take exception to the statements made by Dr. [Esperanza] Cabral and to a certain extent by Congresswoman [Janette] Garin, in reaction to my disclosure and confession on the death of my first son, Vincent Paul. I find their statements callous and insensitive and it is unfortunate that the reproductive health debate has come to this level. They should have given the sorrow of my family more respect,” Sotto said.
“Diane po ang pangalan ng pills na ginamit ng aking asawa noon. Supervised po siya ng doktor habang ginagamit niya ito. Intelehente naman po ang asawa ko, alam niya kung paano gumamit nito,” he said.
“Malinaw po ang sinabi sa amin ng kanyang doctor, katuwang ang aking ina, Dra. Herminia Castelo Sotto, na ang pagbubuntis niya kahit may contraceptives ang maaring naging sanhi ng kumplikasyon, prematurity at eventually pagkamatay ng anak namin. Bakit ko po iimbentuhin ang katotohanang ito? Maliwanag, nagko-contraceptives, nagbuntis. `Yun ang issue.”
The prevailing clinical knowledge at the time bears Sotto out. The 1977 study “Cardiovascular Birth Defects and Antenatal Exposure to Female Sex Hormones” published by the New England Journal of Medicine found:
“In a cohort of 50,282 pregnancies, 19 children with cardiovascular defects were born to 1,042 women who received female hormones during early pregnancy (18.2 per 1000). Among 49,240 children not exposed in utero to these agents there were 385 with cardiovascular malformations (7.8 per 1000). Six children with cardiovascular defects were born to a subgroup of 278 women who used oral contraceptives during early pregnancy (21.5 per 1000). After the data were controlled for a wide variety of potentially confounding factors by multivariate methods, the association between utero exposure to female hormones and cardiovascular birth defects was statistically significant.” (CBCP for Life)