A-Stat survey: Most Ateneans Support RH Bill

By Katerina D. Francisco on July 31, 2011 in News

IN A survey conducted by the Ateneo Statistics Circle for The GUIDON last June, several Ateneans expressed support for the controversial Reproductive Health bill.

142 out of 172 respondents from the sophomore, junior, and senior batches are in favor of the bill, citing its provisions for greater access to reproductive health information and services.

Other reasons cited for the support of the bill include its perceived effect in controlling population growth, its benefits to the economy in the long run, less unwanted pregnancies and people empowerment through education.

Those who disagreed with the bill cited its non-consideration of moral principles as the lead reason.

Some 25 respondents also specified other reasons to oppose the bill. The frequent answers include its perceived stand against the Catholic Church, the possibility of being a breeding ground for corruption through the use of public funds, and the need for further revisions due to unclear and controversial provisions.

Majority of the respondents (85%) are also in agreement with the 14 professors’ position paper.

“It’s offensive to even suggest that Catholics have no right to their own choice because of their religion,” one respondent said.

“In the process of forming a good conscience, you must be allowed to make choices, good or bad. RH bill is pro-choice. People shouldn’t be slaves to the choices already made for them by other people,” said another.

Meanwhile, one respondent said a good conscience “won’t even follow such a thing as the RH bill.”

It went on, “It is the method of RH Bill—contraception, that is—and not the expected good results…which makes the RH Bill an abominable one. Just because the RH Bill poses good effects does not mean it is automatically a good thing, simply because of the fact that the end does not justify the means.”

Following the high agreement to the professors’ position paper, an overwhelming majority (95%) of the respondents disagree with Fr. Reuters’ statement that faculty members supporting the RH bill should not teach in Ateneo.

Most cited freedom of speech and the Ateneo as an academic institution that should promote and upheld discourse as reasons for their responses.

“The Ateneo is supposedly an institution where different reasonable explanations of controversial issues must exist to be able to enrich the community members’ understanding of the said issue,” said one comment. “The statement of the respected Jesuit seems to be one-sided since it fails to consider the fact that the statement made by the different faculty members is based on researches and immersion with the poor communities who are the real stakeholders of this bill.”

“One’s opinion about a bill doesn’t generalize one’s whole perspective on teaching,” said another. “We should separate our personas and titles. A person supporting RH bill doesn’t mean that his role as a professor is tainted by the “evils” of the RH bill.”

“If Ateneo has no room for discussion then it is not an educational institution but a factory where knowledge is given but where no learning is gained,” another comment said.

Meanwhile, those who agreed with Reuter argued that teachers should live up to the school’s mission and vision, and the Ateneo as a Catholic university should adhere to its teachings.

“If the Ateneo really claims itself to be Catholic, they have to strictly follow the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church,” one comment said. “If professors insist on their own understanding and belief, and turn out to be in contrary to what the Church teaches, they should leave the institution because it would be hypocritical of them to be calling themselves professors of Ateneo de Manila University, a Jesuit and Catholic university.”

“It is only just that the people who teach in such an institution are aligned with what the institution believes in. How can such an institution help their constituents [the students] understand the reasons as to why they oppose such a bill when the people in the institution are telling otherwise?” went another comment.

The overall survey results point to a pattern: most Ateneans support the RH bill and the 14 professors’ paper in support of the said bill. In relation, Fr. Reuter’s statement against the position paper was met with disagreement by an overwhelming majority of the respondents.

Source: http://www.theguidon.com/1112/main/2011/07/a-stat-survey-most-ateneans-support-rh-bill/

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