Friday, October 3, 2008

LAIKO petitions lawmakers to junk reproductive health bill

LOILO CITY, October 3, 2008—Dissenting voices to the passage of the controversial reproductive health bill have reached a crescendo with the signing of a petition against its passage by members of LAIKO during its regional conference held recently in Iloilo City.

Representatives of various lay organizations and movements all over the country who participated in the LAIKO regional conference signed up a petition asking legislators to junk the RH bill that is currently being debated in Congress.

Dr. Dolores Octaviano, an internist and endocrinologist working at St. Paul’s Hospital in Iloilo City delivered a fiery speech to Laiko participants during the conference lambasting pro-choice lawmakers for their insensitivity to the needs of their constituents.

“I hope these legislators will realize that they should not lord it over the people who have elected them… If they legislate laws that go against their identity of being a legislator then they have no business passing the law,” said Octaviano.

An active member of the Jaro Archdiocesan Commission on Family and Life since 2005, Octaviano, also a member of Human Life International, has recently been elected in charge of the Visayas area for family and life advocacy.

She said lawmakers should discern well and see if their decision is in accordance with the will of God.

“Legislators should legislate laws that are for the good of the people. If the law they want to pass will do a lot of havoc to the people they promise to serve, then whom are they serving?” Octaviano asked.

Awareness campaign

Octaviano goes around giving talks to schools, both private and public. She also gives talks to different organizations making them aware of the side effects of the reproductive health bill.
Being a medical doctor, Octaviano knows whereof she speaks. In one of her awareness campaign, she said she got shocked from the reaction of a woman from the audience.

“The bill has been here for the past 40 years but we never heard any doctor talk about the side effects. You are the first physician who talked about [its] side effects,” the woman told her.

When asked if she talks with the doctors regarding her advocacy, Octaviano said she tries to approach one doctor at a time. She said she tries to be prudent in approaching doctors on this subject since not all doctors believe in her advocacy.

Octaviano said she started talking with one obstetrician about it. Now, more obstetricians she talked with have stopped ligating their patients.

Although ligation is a national program of government, Octaviano is not sure if the practice is observed in all hospitals.

But she talked of one instance when a doctor tried to force her helper to sign a document that would allow the doctor to ligate her.

“One time after doing my rounds in one hospital, I saw this doctor running after a pregnant woman, saying ‘have yourself ligated.’ So I scolded the doctor,” said Octaviano.

She said St. Paul Hospital, being a Catholic institution does not allow this practice but other hospitals do, whether public or private.

When asked if patients are given options, she said, “I don’t know of other patients but those who were not informed, they are made to believe as if this should be the case. They give you a scenario [that] it’s almost impossible to say no.”

But there are also sensible doctors who sit down with their patients and advise them to think of their options, Octaviano said. (Pinky Barrientos, FSP)