Woman shares pre-wedding ‘shaming’ incident
MANILA – A soon-to-be married woman shares about a pre-marriage seminar where she and her fiancé were berated for choosing natural family planning methods, in blatant violation of section 2 of Republic Act 10354, also known as the RH law, which states that “(t)he State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons including their right … to choose and make decisions for themselves in accordance with their religious convictions, ethics, cultural beliefs, and the demands of responsible parenthood.”
Young professional and blogger Laika Pantaleon recounted how after a “pre-marriage counselling seminar” conducted by the LGU as part of a prerequisite to acquire their marriage license, she and her fiancé were repeatedly asked to change their answers in a questionnaire about their current and future family planning methods of choice after they wrote “natural methods.”
She asked: “Why are we being made to feel that choosing to pursue our morals is wrong?! Why were we publicly shamed for deliberately deciding to choose the natural way – even after having been presented with all the other options: condoms, IUDs, pills, ligation?”
‘Old school methods’
According to Pantaleon, the LGU officer refused to accept their answers calling it “traditional and old school methods.”
“…(W)hat she was looking for was one of the artificial methods we were taught earlier,” she said.
“After several back-and-forths, realizing that we weren’t backing down, she smirked at us and said, ‘(You will be the problem of our government. I will submit this to our LGU and I will mark you with red. (Kayo ang magiging problema ng gobyerno natin. Sina-submit ko ito sa LGU natin at kayo ima-mark kong red)’ To which I replied, ‘Yes, and we are free to choose so!’”
The bride-to-be noted how the seminar had three parts: artificial family planning methods, responsible parenthood, and breastfeeding, which they sat through “quietly and patiently” despite “[their] discomfort, because it was a requirement.”
Pantaleon explained that while she completely understands why the government requires engaged couples to undergo the seminar, admitting she herself was able to pick up good tips about parenting and breastfeeding, she decried the lack of respect for those who choose natural family planning methods.
“…to be threatened this way and to be publicly shamed for our choice and our values does not and will never sit well with me,” she stressed.
“Call us conservative for our choice, but it is our choice, still. This isn’t even a matter of what method any of us prefers; it’s a simple matter of respect and freedom,” she added.
Pantaleon explained that they had already gone through an extensive marriage seminar with the Church some weeks before and believe that “the best way to ‘plan a family’ is through abstinence and self-control.”
Silent on side effects
Far from being a victim of outdated thinking, Pantaleon maintained that their choice was made “weighing all options available to us; we’ve made our choice more deliberately than anything we’ve ever decided.”
What particularly bothered her was the seeming lack of full disclosure on the part of the LGU regarding artificial methods of birth control.
“The LGU laid down all of the methods without saying any of the side-effects of any method,” she noted.
“How can our citizens make complete and well-informed decisions if they say that ligation is ‘just like tying a ponytail’ and why don’t they add that abstinence is also an option?” she argued. CBCPNews