Trabaho na, personalan pa. (This is not just work, this is a personal matter). This was how a Philippine Senator described his fight against the controversial Reproductive Health Bill. This is rightly so. Every defense of the cause of life has got to be very personal because it a fight for the life of YOUR child, for the joy of YOUR family, for the future of YOUR nation.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, the RH bill’s strongest critic in the Senate, fought tears and struggled to contain his emotions as he bared in public that he lost his second child years ago because his wife, actress Helen Gamboa, had taken contraceptive pills. She got pregnant even if she was taking these contraceptives. Sotto said his second child, Vincent Paul, was born March 13, 1975 with a weak heart, and the baby died five months later on Aug. 13, 1975, exactly 37 years ago as the Senator gave his speech.
Sotto bared the numerous health risks posed by hormonal contraceptives, notably the findings of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that the use of birth control pills causes breast, cervical, and liver cancers. The pill was kept by the WHO agency on the list of Group 1 carcinogenics last year.
Aside from these, the fetus inside the womb of a mother who had taken contraceptives is in danger of being exposed to toxins. Pills could lead to gut dysbiosis or gut imbalance induced by drugs, which a mother could pass on to the baby, he said.
The government should also allot money to cure these diseases if the RH bill is passed, Sotto argued.
The lawmaker also pointed out that “hormonal contraceptives act as abortifacients. Ovulation and conception can still occur despite the pill’s intake,” he said. “The morning-after pill no longer prevents fertilization, it prevents implantation,” he added.
“[The RH bill] is dictated by outside forces, cultures, and philosophies,” he said. “The RH bill violates Philippine sovereignty, the Constitution, and existing penal laws. It is detrimental to the health of the mother … It transgresses Filipino culture and family values.”
“It is not necessary, not beneficial, and not practical to our people,” he added.