I was about to attend a Policy Forum on Teen Pregnancy. It’s supposed to be today, but I just found that it has been postponed.
I expect it to be rich on informative, insightful lectures and speeches; and poor on workable solutions.
There is a culture of hypocrisy in this country as far as pregnancy is concerned. As far as sex is concerned, actually.
We are a people who tell our children, “do as I say, not as I do.”
For example, a grandmother of 35 brought her 16 year old pregnant daughter to the clinic yesterday. The grandmother is also pregnant with her 5th child with husband number 2. She tells me, referring to her pregnant daughter, “Ewan ko ba kung bakit nagpabuntis yan ng ang aga aga.” (I don’t know how she got herself pregnant at such a young age..”) What did they say about the pot and the kettle?
Congressman Manny Pacquaio is adamantly opposed to artificial contraception. His wife Jinkee has been using oral contraceptive pills to space her pregnancies. Good for you Jinkee … now please tell your husband to be consistent in his convictions.
Health workers are supposed to advise our clients about family planning. A week ago, a patient was willing and able to undergo tubal ligation (a procedure to tie her fallopian tubes that will permanently prevent her from getting pregnant). So I was ready to perform the procedure when my midwife reminded me that we have no anesthesia supplies.
Uhhh … I’m sorry Ms. Family Planning Client, I will have to refer you to another government facility because we lack supplies. And no, we weren’t given supplies for IUD or DMPA either. I can advise you about Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) and Calendar-Based Methods. Oh I see, LAM didn’t work for you because you had to work in a factory that doesn’t have breastfeeding facilities; and Calendar Based Method is so difficult to do because, really it feels sooo good to have sex when you’re ovulating … I can agree with the great sex during ovulation part :)
During Women’s Month (which is, incidentally, this month!), the mayor proudly announces that the health facilities in the local government provide complete and comprehensive family planning services.
The truth is: most funding for Family Planning come from foreign aid agencies.
Another truth is: the Department of Health (DOH), like a lot of government agencies, is wishy washy about reproductive health because of the Catholic lobby. When they ask for funding for family planning supplies from Congress, god-fearing congressmen shoot them down.
Yeah, yeah, Undersecretary Garin is now at the helm of the Family Health Office and she was a proponent of the RH Law. Well good luck to her. I hope she doesn’t use her DOH post as just another stepping stone to higher political office.
In countries that have curbed teen pregnancy and have decreased unplanned pregnancy, education played a big role. And so in the Philippines, sex education is being espoused as a solution to prevent pregnancy among adolescents. So okay, fine, but where and how will we conduct this so-called sex education if we lack classrooms; we lack teachers; the teachers are uninspired and underpaid; the school books are crap; and the students are hungry?
And was I the only one who has noticed that the agencies who are very active in the Sex Ed/Teen Pregnancy advocacy are DSWD and DOH? Where does the DepEd come in all this? Are they, or are they not, the ones who are primarily in charge of education? Ah but my dear, Education is quite different from sex education …
Do the people advocating sex education even know how it is supposed to be conducted?
I can hear my 16-year old self: If sex feels soooo good, how can you keep us from it? If being a parent is so stress inducing, why did you go through with it?
The thing is, people become parents even if they don’t know how to answer such questions from a 16-year old.
Cynicism has its place and I don’t know if mine is warranted.
The Virgin Mary and me. I’m sure even she and Joseph had sex.