I have just received a copy of House Bill No. 13 entitled “An Act Providing for the Safety and Protection of the Unborn Child…” filed in the Lower House by Congressman Roilo S. Golez. There are some features in this bill that directly clash with some concepts of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill No. 5043, particularly concerning the issues of life, abortion, and the rights of the unborn. Bobby Atendido has discussed the RH Bill in one of his previous columns on this website.
HB 13 addresses these issues directly in its definition of clarifying terms in support of and the protection of life from its moment of conception. In Section 2. Declaration of Policy, the bill states that “the humanity of the unborn child is not just a legal principle or philosophical, moral or ethical belief but is an established biological fact as recognized by the Constitution and shown by the vast amount of knowledge acquired in the fields of genetics, embryology, and fetal development … The Constitutional and natural right to life and protection of the unborn child is an absolute value and norm that cannot be repealed by ordinary legislation, now or in the future”.
The Reproductive Health Bill, that House Bill No. 13 attempts to correct, is, in my opinion, a prime example of the “conspiracy against life” that is subtly encroaching on the sanctity of life in today’s milieu. This conspiracy takes the form of a “culture of death” and damages not only us in our personal, family, and community relations, but also distorts relations between peoples and nations.
The basic feature of this Culture of Death is the noticeable absence of God in a growing secular lifestyle, influenced by a flood of distorted and hedonistic values where pleasure is maximized and pain is minimized. Having and hoarding become more important than “being”. Sexuality is depersonalized and exploited. The so-called right of women to decide whether or not to kill their unborn child due to various reasons usually in support of their personal life-style is highlighted and the right of the unborn to its God-given life is being ignored.
This is the modern tragedy: the eclipse of the sense of God and man, and the resulting distortions wherein society refuses to accept and care for any life – the sick, the aged, the dysfunctional, the weak – that interferes with its “progress”. We are gradually but inexorably losing the sense of the sacred in our society.
Life as designed by God is always “a good”. It is the seed of an existence that transcends the very limits of time, for God himself has planted eternity in the human heart. Human life has always been sacred to God, and to proclaim Christianity is to proclaim life.
Therefore as a “people for life” we need to view life in its deeper meaning, and to look for God’s living image in every person, in the unborn person as well as in the birthed. By seeing Christ in every person we meet, we can experience a God-given, everyday – or we could say, an everyperson – epiphany! This is the Culture of Life.
It is this Culture of Life that promotes and enables us and others to live in dignity and fullness of life. It is in embracing the Culture of Life that helps us build our families as the basic life unit of community and society. It is in strengthening this Culture of Life in our families that the integrity and sanctity of the family as the domestic church, the basic unit of Christian life and cornerstone of society, is truly realized.
Who am I, who are we, to arrogate ourselves equal to God by legislating whether a God-created, God-given life should live or die? I believe that the future of our society depends on the rediscovery of the innate human and moral values that promote and strengthen the Culture of Life. At the same time we need to fight against those values that promote the influence of the Culture of Death.
That is why I am bothered when leaders squabble among themselves about whom to blame for this or that, when bureaucracies seem to endlessly manufacture even more red tape, when the environment takes second and third place to so-called progress, when soap operas, malling, chizmis, and the ‘net’ rule our leisure (and sometimes, our working) hours, when media blatantly works to create ostentatious misaligned sexuality.
If our children and grandchildren are to enjoy living in a culture of life, then it’s time that we of this generation and day and age take a stand against the culture of death and work more vigorously to teach and practice the value of life, the beauty of human sexuality, and the responsibilities of love … love for the other, love for family, community and country, love for the environment … love for life itself in all its myriad shapes, ages, forms, and manifestations. And, last but never, never the least, let us demonstrate through our actions our love for our God who created us and gave us this life in the first place.
For a more detailed discussion of the various aspects of the Culture of Life, the Culture of Death, and other burning issues of the times (contraception, abortion, euthanasia, bioethics, health care, and sexuality concerns), read Evangelizing Presence: Caring for Life, a BCBP publication, authored by Nancy Russell Catan (this columnist), Fr. Pasquale T. Giordano, SJ, and Mitos Rivera. It is available at the BCBP National Office.