There is another great debate in the Philippine Congress about the use of contraceptives, which sponsors of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill see as an empowerment of women. While the 15th Congress is on a six-week break until July 22 this year, there are big hopes that the RH bill being sponsored by the feisty Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and the gutsy, Sen. Pia Cayetano will be passed within the year.
There are many who are against it, especially the Catholic church which has a vast influence among the Filipino hopefuls. On their side is Senate Majority leader Vicente Sotto III, who has expressed concern that the use of contraceptives by women to prevent pregnancy, could be tantamount to abortion. It is also a violation of a person or even an unborn child’s right to life, which is protected under the 1987 Constitution, Sotto says.
I don’t intend to bore you with the arguments and the endless debates on RH bill and the use of family planning methods– whether natural or not. I believe it is the choice of the woman or even the couple who must assess what must be appropriate for their situation. There are others who wanted children so badly and yet they are not blessed, while others just can’t control their libidos and pro-create without having to think of how they will raise their children or their families. But who am I to judge?
What prompted me to blog about this controversial RH and family planning issues is what I recently learned from a book titled “100 Headlines That Changed The World” by James Maloney.
So here are some trivia:
A Nevada newspaper, Reno Evening Gazzette, published the news on May 9, 1960: Birth Control Approved by Commission.
The book said the story ushered what to be regarded as one of the biggest scientific, social and cultural events of the century.
It read that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved a pill as a birth control device. (So here goes that start of the five decade debates). Initially, the drug has been used for some time for treatment of female disorders. The pill was called Envoid, made by G. D. Searle and Co, Chicago. It was the first commercially available oral contraceptive.
Margaret Sanger, a Catholic nurse and birth control campaigner, was said to be one of the most influential pioneers for the invention of the pill. Sanger believed that in order for women to have an equal place in the society, they needed to be able to determine when to have children. She was pro-birth control but anti abortion.
An American biologist Gregory Pincus and Catholic gynaecologist John Rock were the ones who fully tested the pill and distributed it for contraceptive purposes. Rock founded a clinic which taught the rhythm method, the only form of birth control accepted by the Catholic Church.
There were trials in United Kingdom in 1960 and in 1961 for use of the pill in Britain. Germany followed UK, prompting other western countries to follow suit. Contraception was illegal in France until December, 1967 but the pill became a hit and the widely used method of birth control.
Ironically, Japan was said to be one of the last to adopt the pill as contraceptive. It was not approved for use in Japan until 1999.
The book said the use of the pill “helped usher in the sexual revolution and gave women control and independence.” “The Pill was to become the leading method of birth control used by more that 100-million women around the world,” the story read.