The raging controversy over the Reproductive Health (RH) bill has forced the Senate to tackle a subject normally left in the hands of religious clerics: “When does life begin?”
It is a question which has been debated by various philosophers and religious thinkers since ancient times, but to which there is no generally accepted answer, even today.
Late last year, a news item appeared in the Inquirer saying that “doctors and bishops agree life begins at fertilization.”
According to the newspaper report, this startling conclusion was made during a consultative meeting between the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), where the PMA delegation, headed by its executive director Dr. Arthur Catli, through its specialty society, the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, represented by its president, Dr. Sylvia Carnero, “confirmed that life begins at fertilization.”
The question that immediately came to my mind upon reading the above statement by the PMA was, “How did the good doctors know that? What is the basis for this conclusion? Did they talk to the unborn child and was told it entered the mother’s body during fertilization?”
I can understand the Church’s stand on this issue of when life begins. It is based on pure belief or faith, and one cannot argue against one’s belief. You just have to accept it without question. That’s the nature of faith.
But medical doctors are supposed to be scientists, and their statements and conclusions should be based on science or at least on some rational grounds. I am very eager to know therefore how they arrived at the conclusion that “life begins at fertilization” or conception.
If they cannot provide any rational basis for it, then it can be regarded as mere opinion or hypothesis, and not as fact. I remember a principle in elementary logic which says, “a statement which is affirmed without proof can be denied without proof.” Anybody can challenge that statement without offering any proof, either. So the debate in the Senate will continue ad infinitum or without end.
But is there another point of view which says otherwise, that “life does not necessarily begin at conception or fertilization,” and provide a basis for it?
Yes, there is! About 15 years ago, psychologist Dr. Helen Wambach conducted 5,000 past-life hypnotic regressions on 3,000 subjects. One of the questions she asked the entranced subjects was, “When did you enter your mother’s womb?”
The following were the various answers she obtained: 11 percent said first 6 months of pregnancy; 12 percent said at the end of six months; 39 percent said in the last three months; 33 percent said before birth; and 5 percent said shortly after birth.
Period of entry
Assuming, of course, that past life hypnotic regression is a valid technique for obtaining answers from one’s subconscious mind, it would appear that the period of the soul’s entry into the body is not fixed. It differs from individual to individual, governed mainly by the choices the parties themselves made or the karma they have.
This is consistent with the opinion of the American psychic and prophet Edgar Cayce. While in trance, he declared that the time the soul enters the body is not fixed at conception. And that is why he said that astrological forecasts based on date of birth is subject to error.
He said such forecasts, to be accurate, should be based at the time the soul enters the mother’s womb. But no one can tell this for certain. And therefore, astrologers had to use the date and time of birth as basis for astrological readings.
If Dr. Helen Wambach’s findings are correct, that the time of the soul’s entry into the womb is not fixed at conception, then the Catholic Church’s main objection against the Reproductive Health Bill, that it encourages curtailment of life, is tremendously weakened. For there may not be any life yet to be curtailed.
Contraception is not the same as abortion, as the Church and her followers mistakenly and stubbornly claim. That is why almost all Catholic and other Christian countries in the west, including Italy, France, Spain, Poland, England, etc., allow the use of contraceptives.
If the Filipino people and the government do not wake up to the reality of runaway population growth which has retarded our economic progress, we will never catch up with even our poorest Asian neighbors.
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