I have been pondering on Rina Jimenez-David's article about why Catholic leaders seemingly keep mum about the corruption going on in the country but "meddle" with the private affairs of couples, and by default, women's "rights" over their own body. It's a challenging piece, in the sense that it attacks the Church's choice of, shall I say, battle. But, overall, I find myself disagreeing with her. Here's why.
In the article, David retorts: "The world is not going to end because teenagers are taught to use the condom or because women learn how to pop pills." That the world would "end" is obviously an exaggeration; of course the world won't end because of those reasons, but something else certainly will: the institution of the family.
Seems too far-fetched, but let me explain. You know that the family is composed of a father, a mother, and their kids--and the thing that most binds them together is the bond of love. It's love that brought the parents together, and it's that love that brought the kids into the world, as cheesy as it sounds. What does this wonderful concept of family mean in a society where sex can be so easily accessible outside marriage and contraceptives/abortifacients dictate who gets to live?
What the bishops are doing is not attacking "women's rights" (more on that later) but defending the institution of the family (of which women's true rights are obviously a part). They're defending society's most basic unit...and at a most urgent time, too--we're living at a time when, David herself points out, "one or any religion ceases to dictate the norms and rules by which government operates, and at the same time protects the right of individuals to dissent from religious doctrines and 'norms and values that were imposed based on that doctrine.'"
We're living at a time where practically anything goes. There are so many choices; we decide for ourselves. We are left to our own devices. Norms and values? Why espouse them when you can be free? But of course, the meaning of freedom is obscured, too: "Thus, writes Blancarte: '(T)he ability of women to buy contraceptive pills at the corner pharmacy, to divorce and get remarried or to end an undesired pregnancy goes hand in hand with the existence of a lay state that guarantees that freedom of conscience and the acts that consequently derive from that freedom.'"
What freedom? Is a woman ever free when she continuously buys drugs made to screw up her body's natural sexual process? Where's the freedom in killing one's own unborn child? Did anyone ask the child if he wanted to be born? What about the freedom of the family in the midst of divorce? Who owns the choices there?
I've heard of the use of the term "women's rights" or "women's reproductive rights" to mean "the right of the woman to her own body," hence, "the right to use contraception and abortifacients, and to abort unwanted pregnancies." This is not a right! It is a twisted philosophy at best, disguised as something ideally good (rights).
As far as I know, human beings don't have the right to hurt themselves and others--so why use euphemisms? Call them by their real names and stop hiding them under the word "rights."
Women have every right to bear children and raise a happy and whole family with their husband. I cannot accept a cultural mindset that promotes otherwise. If contraceptives are so good, and divorce is so good, and abortion is so good that they must be urgently filed under "women's rights," then why must women put their health on the line?
The bishops are not meddling with a private affair. The family unit that they're protecting might be a very tiny part of society, nevertheless it's a very crucial little part. To destroy the meaning of family is to strike the nation at its very heart--a very figurative end to the world we're all hoping to build better.