When does life begin?
When does life begin? This was the question Bacolod Rep Anthony Golez wants answered through a congressional inquiry to put an end on debates on what family planning methods are considered lawful and unlawful, based on their tendency to induce abortion.
In House Resolution 509, the lawmaker said it is the prime duty of the state to determine and provide adequate understanding of the basic principle of life and its beginning in order to properly address controversy over approaches to the country’s family planning program.
Golez said the country is divided on the definition of the beginning of life in the womb as some believe it begins at fertilization or once the sperm cell meets the egg cell; while others believe it happens when the fertilized egg has been implanted in the uterus.
He said a clarification on the definition is important to determine if the reproductive health and family planning programs being pushed by the government are lawful or unlawful.
The lawmaker said if the inquiry will show that life begins at fertilization, more than half of the family planning services being offered by the government will be considered as illegal, or abortifacient.
He said the intrauterine device (IUD), morning after pill, injectables and oral contraceptive pills thickens the lining of the uterus thus prevents the fertilized egg from being implanted. He said this is tantamount to abortion if we believe there is already life in the fertilized egg.
“The artificial methods of fertility control the modes of action to prevent pregnancy will either be to prevent the fertilization, disrupt fertilization or disrupt implantation of the fertilized ovum," the resolution stated.
If here is already human life in the fertilized egg, only the use of condom, tubal ligation and vasectomy should be considered as lawful, together with natural methods such as the calendar method, withdrawal method, personal control and abstinence.
Golez said the government’s population policy under the Department of Health’s Responsible Parenthood Movement and Natural Family Planning is based on four pillars: responsible parenthood, birth spacing, respect for life and informed choice.
“One important duty of the State is to recognize the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. The State shall equally protect the life of the mother and the unborn from conception," he said.
Amita Legaspi, GMA News