Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Church Battles Abortion
Quiapo church, located in the heart of Manila city, the home of the renowned Black Nazarene, battles abortion in front yard. Here are some brief excerpts from the local media about the history of Quiapo church:
The Black Nazarene statue was brought to Manila by the first group of Augustinian Recollect friars on May 31, 1606. The image was originally housed in the first Recollect church in Bagum-bayan (now part of the Rizal Park), which was established on September 10, 1606, and placed under the patronage of Saint John the Baptist.
In 1608, the image of the "Nazareno" was transferred to the second, bigger Recollect church dedicated to San Nicolas de Tolentino (Saint Nicholas of Tolentine). The Recollect Fathers dynamically promoted devotion to the Suffering of Our Lord represented by the image that in fifteen short years, the Cofradia de Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno (Jesus of Nazareth) was established on April 21, 1621. The confraternity obtained Papal approval on April 20, 1650, from Pope Innocent X.
Sometime in the year 1787, then Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santas Junta y Rufina, ordered the transfer of the image of the Nazareno to the church in Quiapo, again providently placed under the patronage of SaintJohn the Baptist. The Black Nazarene made a lot of miraculous things. These are the survival of the image from the great fires that destroyed Quiapo Church in 1791 and 1929, the great earthquakes of 1645 and 1863, and the destructive Bombing of Manila in 1945 during World War II. Today the head and the cross stay on the Altar Mayor of the Minor Basilica, and the original body image of the Black Nazarene is used in the processions.
The church was surrounded by side-walk vendors of all kinds and they flock the church on Friday cause it is the day of the Black Nazarene. Vendors sells street foods, candle prayers(they buy candle and the vendor lights the candle for a certain request prayer), rosaries, flower sellers to the much infamous herbal stalls and the hex fortune tellers.
The herbal vendors sell medicinal herbs from common cold to flu, diarrhea, itch, bites, herbal teas for diabetes, roots and leaves that cures all and more. But the main attraction was herbs for miscarriage that sold like hot cakes on a casual manner. It all started an acrid potion for inducing menstruation. Originally devised to treat dysmenorrhea(menstrual cramps), it can trigger miscarriage in pregnant women when taken with the restricted anti-ulcer drug Cytotec.
"It all started in... 1995"
A loosed-lip peddler who claims she roamed Quiapo for forty years told the story.
A woman came. The woman told her story about Cytotec, prescribed to her by a doctor because she had ulcer and pregnant. She lost her baby. The story was spread around and many are looking for the pill.
Prostitutes, wives of contract workers overseas who miss their husband and commit adultery, wives of many children who don't want more and students. Many times the mother of very young daughters who got pregnant buys the pills or when rape or incest caused the pregnancy. Middle class women impregnated under sordid circumstances are not beyond turning to Cytotec in their hour of need, often with full support of husband or boyfriend.
Methergine, a drug used in hospitals used to control the bleeding of the uterus and expels the placenta after a woman gives birth. Like a chaser. Methergine is always sold with Cytotec in Quiapo.
Little guilt is shown in taking the pills, which are simply seen as a means of getting one's period back after it stops due to fertilization. Never mind what else comes out when the flow comes gushing back.
What to expect after Abortion
A vendor describe the debris that comes with menstrual flow. "If the fetus is one month old, it will look like an egg yolk. If the fetus is two months old it will look like this". She hold up a hefty thumb, shaped like a chubby chorizo.
"If you put it in a small plate, it will be whole".
The vendor continues, "As much as possible, the fetus must be one to two months old," with warns. "At three months, it will already be human". Past six months of pregnancy, the fetus expelled by Cytotec may already be a mature baby that can survive outside the body.
When Cytotec fails to thoroughly expels the fetus and placenta, body parts and excess tissues are left inside the uterus. Curettage in the hospital is necessary to avoid infections and septic shock. Malfunction happens most of the time. Cytotec can also cause the entire uterus to rapture, that can lead to death and damage the whole reproductive system permanently. Future childbearing becomes impossible or a continuous pregnancy will result to a child born with serious mental and physical defects.
Sacred Shock Treatment
"Pregnant? Confused? Problems? We are ready to help"!
A poster say at the bulletin board at the entrance of Quiapo church. The church center for counseling contact numbers is printed at the bottom. At the middle is a picture of a blood-splattered fetus stuffed in a bowl with umbilical cord still attached. "This baby was killed by a self-poisoning abortion when the mother was 4 1/2 months pregnant".
At high noon on selected days, the video wall outside the church that is used to broadcast masses to the spillover crowd in Plaza Miranda airs ultrasound footage of an eleven-week-old fetus floating happily in its mother’s womb while sucking its thumb. Suddenly, an abortionist’s curette appears, and the fetus frantically tries to evade it. With nowhere to hide, the fetus is ultimately scraped out of the womb in bleeding chunks. Last to go is the head, which is crushed for easy removal. The footage is taken from the 1984 documentary The Silent Scream, spliced with even more graphic video of dismembered fetal limbs, heads, eyeballs, and the voice of a child dramatically pleading for its life in Filipino.
This are just a few radical steps to squelch Cytotec trade around Quiapo church.
Church vs State
The church agrees that the demand for abortion pills exist because of too many unwanted pregnancies, but are there too many unwanted pregnancies because of lack of knowledge or information about contraception?
“Unwanted pregnancies cause illegal abortions, that’s a fact," the church says. “But are we now supposed to promote contraceptives? Contraceptives will produce more abortions. Contraceptives will create a [culture of irresponsibility and selfishness]. The more people engage in selfish sex acts, the more you produce unwanted pregnancies, because contraceptives are not 100% [foolproof]."
(Not that anyone needs another recap, but here’s the gist of the tedious birth control debate: The Roman Catholic Church supports family planning, but only through natural means such as the withdrawal method and the Billings method. Advocates of artificial contraception in government and the medical community say this is unrealistic, because most people do not have the high degree of discipline and clockwork ovulation necessary to make natural family planning work.)
The church good explanation of their outlook is well said but a deeper philosophy, scientifically and spiritual concept is also needed. The roots of the problem must be explained elaborately.
Unwanted pregnancy roots from many grounds like premarital sex, free-sex, rape or incest and prostitution. But mainly on the diverted source of looking for
HAPPINESS : SEX! This is another great issue.
More Sex More Abortions
Around Metro Manila, fetuses were found on different places, in front of churches, trash cans, riversides, toilets in malls, cinemas, schools, hospitals, and backyards. They are just dump nonchalance.
A baby boy was found half-dead dumped in a park was revived and is now under the custody of the Department of Social Welfare. The alleged mother showed up in grief, despair, and full of regrets on what she did. Authorities is reviewing her case if they are going to file charges or not.
If women who use contraception have more sex, do they also have more abortions? Data from the 2008 report of the Guttmacher Institute and the UP Population Institute shows only 11% of the women who induced abortion were using artificial contraception when they conceived. Majority or 54% were not using any birth control method, while 35% were using natural family planning. The same study lists the chances of getting pregnant while using different contraceptive methods: 2% for IUDs (intra-uterine devices), 3% for injectables, 7% for birth control pills, 13% for condoms, 26% for withdrawal.
But the Church is immovable. “Sometimes we get into something because we think it’s a good tool," the church said. “What we don’t know is there’s a whole culture behind that tool. Like computers. It can facilitate things, but there are dangers. Computers are now also being used to pollute the minds of the young, for the sex trade, for terrorism. There’s a whole world behind the tool."
This abortion issue is centered only in Metro Manila. There are some news of fetus damping from rural places.
I will be posting issues on abortion on international cases, the roots explained and in depth analysis on prevention connecting thoughts on identity and spirituality.
Note: Some paragraph are excerpts from Special reports of our local networks.