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Handbook of truths behind the RH Bill -Medical Arguments



This is the revised first edition of this Handbook. The most important consideration to be given when using this is that it was made with the “unamended” version of the RH Bill in mind. Although the authors were quite aware that amendments have been proposed by the proponents of the RH Bill, the formal amendment of the Bill has not actually happened either in Congress or the Senate. Thus, the authors thought it more prudent to include even arguments that may not actually be applicable anymore once the  Bill has been finally amended – assuming it makes it through its present status. Anyway, these arguments may actually be useful in other situations.

This Handbook was made for the Filipino people. It was written to help honest minds understand what the  R.H. Bill really is and cut through the jungle of confusing arguments to expose the most essential truth about the Bill: it short changes the Filipino person and the Filipino nation. Due to the very limited time that was given for writing this Handbook, however, it was not possible to include the voluminous amount of other undoubtedly valuable material that could have likewise strengthened the points mentioned here. Also, there are no doubt more nuances in the reasons and arguments that have not been written. However, the authors hope that they could include whatever may be lacking when the occasion comes to revise this Handbook. Suggestions and materials are most welcome.

The authors would like to thank the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, through Archbishop Jose Palma, for giving them the opportunity to serve the country in a small way through the writing of this Handbook. Special mention goes to Dr. Antonio Torralba who put the team together. Lastly, many thanks go to the millions of men and women all over the world who have defended and continue to defend the cause of LIFE through their prayers, writings, spoken word, and living example.

The Authors

September 12, 2012

Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary

The Authors

Bernardo M. Villegas, Ph.D. (Harvard University), Economist

Rosa Linda L. Valenzona, M.A. (University of the Philippines), Demographer

Jo M. Imbong, Esq. (University of the Philippines), Public Interest Lawyer

Roberto E. De Vera, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh), Economist

Raul Antonio Nidoy, S.Th.D. (University of Navarre), Educator

Robert Z. Cortes, M.A. (Columbia University), Educator


Handbook of truths behind the RH Bill


The RH Bill, being merely palliative and based on faulty assumptions and facts, falls short in giving the Filipino what he or she truly deserves, both as a human person with dignity and as a proud citizen of a sovereign nation. Worse than that, several key provisions of the RH Bill are harmful to individual Filipinos and the Filipino nation. The RH Bill will result to the rending, warping and despoiling of Filipino culture. These, in summary, are the reasons that Filipinos should reject the RH Bill.

This handbook provides the interested reader arguments for doing so based on human science and reason.


The RH Bill is harmful to the Filipinos because it endorses drugs and other family planning supplies and techniques that have serious deleterious effects to their physical health and to the environment.

1. Pills cause cancer

2.  Pills increase the risk of stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attack), thrombosis, and diabetes.

3. Pills have other associated health problems not generally mentioned in most websites or literature.

4. Pills and the IUD kill the human embryo.

5. Pills cause serious environmental problems.

6. Male and female sexual sterilization DO have harmful physical, psychological, and social effects.


1. Pills cause cancer.

a. An International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) study (2005) by 21 scientists from 8 countries concluded “that combined estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives and combined estrogen-progestogen menopausal therapy are carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), after a thorough review of the published scientific evidence.” Group 1 (most certain) carcinogens include as well asbestos and formaldehyde (Baan, Grosse, Straif, et al., 2009). Substances are placed in this category when “when there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.”

b. The same IARC (2005) study mentioned above, moreover mentions, that “oral combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptives cause cancer of the breast, in-situ and invasive cancer of the uterine cervix and cancer of the liver .”

c. Althius, Brogan, Coates, et al. (2003) point out that “recent use of oral contraceptive pills is associated with a modest risk of breast cancer among very young women… Women who recently used oral contraceptives containing more than 35 g of ethinyl oestradiol per pill were at higher risk of breast cancer than users of lower dose preparations when compared to never users… This relationship was more marked among women <35 years of age…. We also found significant trends of increasing breast cancer risk for pills with higher progestin and oestrogen potencies…, which were most pronounced among women aged <35 years of age…. Risk was similar across recently used progestin types.”

 d. Brinton, Huggins, Lehman, et al (1986) affirm that “our findings provide further evidence that long-term use of oral contraceptives may have a carcinogenic effect on cervical epithelium 1…”

e. Hsing, Hoover, McLaughlin, et al. (1992) writes, “This study, the largest to date, adds to the number of investigations demonstrating an increased risk of primary liver cancer with use, particularly long-term use, of oral contraceptives.”

f. A study by the Royal College of General Practitioners revealed that “statistically significant trends of increasing risk of ….central nervouse system or pituitary cancer…were seen with increasing duration of oral contraceptives use” (Hannaford, Selvaraj, Elliot,, 2007 )

g. Palmer, Driscoll, Rosenberg, (1999) reported that their “study, the largest to date 2, indicates that long duration of oral contraceptive use before conception increases the risk of gestational trophoblastic tumors 3.

h. Likewise, one study in Germany demonstrated a “positive association” between neuroblastoma 4 in children (particularly males) and “the use of oral contraceptive or other sex hormones during pregnancy.” (Schuz, Kaletsch, Meinert, et. al., 2001)

i. National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Maryland, U.S.A. (2012) says that there is an increased risk of breast, cervical, and liver cancer. 

j. National Health Services (NHS), U.K. (2012) admits that there is increased risk of breast, cervical, and liver cancer, although these are small.

h. While it is true that institutions like the NCI and NHS tend to downplay the carcinogenic risks of contraceptives, the fact that these have been published and acknowledged as Group 1 carcinogens should give pause to any responsible government that intends to give them away for free, as if it did not care for the lives of the women who would be affected by them. In the words of Sen. Pia Cayetano (2012), herself a very strong advocate of the RH Bill: “If there were only 10 women or 3 women dying, is that one life not worth saving?”


2. Pills increase the risk of stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attack), thrombosis, and diabetes.

 a. Oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) are found to reduce the risks of and used to treat ovarian cancer. However, this study of Diamanti-Kandrakis, Baillergeon, Iurno, Jakubomicz and Nestler (2003) warns that “OCPs may aggravate insulin resistance5 and exert other untoward metabolic actions that possibly enhance the long-term risk for diabetes and heart disease. This important clinical issue has received relatively scant attention from clinical investigators and remains unsettled.”

 b. Hannaford, Croft, and Kay (1994) affirm that “women who had ever used oral contraceptives had an increased risk of all stroke (odds ratio, 1.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 2.0, adjusted for smoking and social class)… Current users of oral contraceptives appeared to be at increased risk of stroke.”

 c. Martinelli, Sacchi, Landi, et al. (1998) write that “mutations in the prothrombin gene and the factor V gene are associated with cerebral-vein thrombosis6. The use of oral contraceptives is also strongly and independently associated with the disorder. The presence of both the prothrombin-gene mutation and oral-contraceptive use raises the risk of cerebral-vein thrombosis further.”

d. Tanis, van den Bosch, Kemmeren, et al (2001) confirm that “the risk of myocardial infarction was increased among women who used second-generation oral contraceptives. The results with respect to the use of third-generation oral contraceptives were inconclusive but suggested that the risk was lower than the risk associated with second-generation oral contraceptives. The risk of myocardial infarction was similar among women who used oral contraceptives whether or not they had a prothrombotic mutation.”

e. Kemmeren, Tanis, van den Bosch, et al (2002) assert that “epidemiological studies have shown an increased risk of venous thrombosis in women taking third- generation oral contraceptives, i.e., those containing the progestogens desogestrel or gestodene… Third-generation oral contraceptives (containing desogestrel or gestodene) confer the same risk of first ischemic stroke7 as second-generation oral contraceptives (containing levonorgestrel).

f. Despite the dangers mentioned above, Festin (2006) affirms that “a review of the drug catalogue in the Philippines shows that preparations with second-generation progestogens (LNG and NG) and third-generation progestogens (DSG and GSD) are on sale in the country (Philippines).” Sen. Pia Cayetano admits this, referring to OCPs: “It’s there in the Philippine Drug Formulary. It’s acknowledged as an essential part of that list” (Chua, 2012). In fact, according to the Office of Population Research at Princeton University (2012) which lists more than 330 brands or types of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) and gets their “country-by-country information for dedicated ECPs…from non-governmental organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and reports from the field,” the following 2nd and 3rd –generation OCPs are available in the Philippines: Femenal, Nordiol, Charlize, Lady, Nordette, Rigevidon 21+7, Seif, and Trust Pills, among others.

g. At least one Filipino buy-and-sell website,, has a dealer that sells (as of the writing of this Handbook) Yasmin, a 3rd-generation OCP, for local consumption. Even as the drug is being sold through the website, the website issues a lot of contraindications regarding this OCP which includes high blood pressure, history of stroke, liver disease, breast cancer etc. including the possibility that (, 2012). Perhaps rightly so, since in the U.S. alone, Yasmin already had 129 lawsuits by the middle of October 2009 and has “come under scrutiny in Europe as well…”(Lamb, 2009). Most of these were cases of thrombotic deaths related to this OCP and the progestin called “drospirenone which has 1.7 time increased risk of developing blood clots compared to levonorgestrel” (another progestin) (Lamb, 2011).

 h. Cole, Norman, Doherty, and Walker (2007) affirm that “there was a more than two-fold increase in the risk of venous thromboembolism8 associated with use of the transdermal contraceptive system 9.”

 i. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Service Office on Women’s Health (2009) say that birth control pills are generally safe for young, healthy women. However, birth control pills can raise the risk of stroke for some women, especially women over 35…”

j. In quite a number of literature (e.g., see Vandenbrouke, Rosing, Blooemenkamp, et al [2001]), the researchers would mention a number of high-risk populations (e.g. smokers, the obese, hypertensives, etc.) for particular types of contraceptives even as they would claim that in general, the increase in the risk by oral contraceptives is minimal. This means that for these women not to be exposed to the increased dangers of contraception, the doctors prescribing the contraceptives must be fully knowledgeable of all the types of high-risk populations vis-à-vis the contraceptives which they must avoid. The kind of detail involved in this exercise is something that only the most virtuous or most equipped of doctors can deliver. Failure to deliver this detail will result in unnecessary deaths of women, something that brings us back again to the words of Sen. Pia Cayetano (2012), herself a very strong advocate of the RH Bill: “If there were only 10 women or 3 women dying, is that one life not worth saving?”


 3. Pills have other associated health problems not generally mentioned in most websites or literature.

a. Lindberg (1992) asserts that “despite the improved safety profile of these products, there remains a plethora of adverse reactions. Problems associated with oral contraceptives include hypercoagulability10 and venous thromboembolism, portal vein thrombosis, stroke, myocardial infarction in older women, alterations in glucose metabolism, adverse alterations in the lipid profile, and hypertension, in addition to a variety of effects on the liver.”

 b. Sulak, Scow, Preece, Riggs, and Kuehl (2000) affirm that withdrawal symptoms in users of oral contraceptives (OC) have hardly been talked about. In this study’s abstract, however, the authors report that “using daily diaries, women recorded pelvic pain, bleeding, headaches, analgesic use, nausea or vomiting, bloating or swelling, and breast tenderness during active-pill intervals and hormone-free intervals. Participants either had no prior OC use, had taken OCs and were restarting, or had been taking OCscontinuously for 12 months or longer.”

c. Again, the pro-RH proponents such as Picazo, Danguilan, Lavado, and Ulep et al (2012) minimize these effects by saying that “No contraceptive pills are absolutely safe, but mainstream science’s consensus is that they are generally safe.” Even assuming that were true, however, a government that is truly concerned with the welfare of its people cannot be distributing freely – and making all taxpayers pay for them – substances which can be a “fatal risk… (to) 1 per 100,000 women”. Given the estimates of 24.8 million in the reproductive age (15-49) in 2012 (based on the data provided by World Population Prospects, 2010 revision, and the author’s calculations adding population of women in age cohorts of 15-49 years of age), that figure translates to 248 women. What will Sen. Pia Cayetano (2012) say to that, she who said, “If there were only 10 women or 3 women dying, is that one life not worth saving?”


 4. Pills and the IUD kill the human embryo.

a. Kahlenborn (2000) writes in his book that “both pro-life and pro-abortion groups openly admit that OCP use causes early abortions, with the latter doing publicly in testimony before the (U.S.) Supreme Court in 1989.”

 b. The Filipino buy-and-sell site itself where Yasmin, already mentioned in 2g. above, is sold candidly admits that this third-generation OCP very much available in the Philippines, “prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary) and also cause (sic) changes in your cervical and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus” (, 2012). This is abortion, based on the general consensus of medical and paramedical professionals which includes the Philippine Medical Association (Castro & Tinio, 2011), ethicists, theologians, lawyers, scientists and the common people. Finally, if the fetus is not aborted, the website mentioned above warns the user that the drug may cause birth defects in the unborn baby.

c. Even though this drug may not yet be legal in the Philippines it is worth quoting Tang, Lau and Yip (1993) who categorically affirm that “RU486 is an alternative abortion method which should be made widely available.”

 d. Wyser-Pratte (2000): “RU-486, or mifepristone, can work as an contraceptive, as an emergency contraceptive, or as an abortifacient.”

e. The Guttmacher Institute (2005), citing the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists confirm that “Food and Drug Administration–approved contraceptive drugs and devices act to prevent pregnancy in one or more of three major ways: by suppressing ovulation, by preventing fertilization of an egg by a sperm or by inhibiting implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine lining.” These contraceptive drugs and devices include estrogen-progestin pills, progesterone-only pills and injectables, emergency contraception, and IUDs. The highlighted words refer to abortion as the fertilized egg, which dies from being prevented to implant, is already a human being. More on this under “Legal Arguments.”

f. As well, the IARC 2011 monograph already mentioned abouvestates categorically that “the progestogen component (of combined hormonal contraceptives) also…reduces the receptivity of the endometrium to implantation.” The highlighted words once more refer to abortion.


 5. Pills cause serious environmental problems.

a. The study of Dr. Joanne Parrott of the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington, Ontario claims that “as little as three parts-per-trillion of synthetic estrogen (used in birth control pills)” mutate certain fish rendering them incapable of reproducing. “This amount of synthetic estrogen is equivalent to dropping a single birth control pill into 10,000 L of water. A human female using the birth control pill will excrete this amount in her urine over the course of a single day.” (Unger, 2012)

b. Peat (1997) asserts that “estrogenic pollution kills birds, panthers, alligators, old men, young women, fish, seals, babies, and ecosystems…Many tons of synthetic and pharmaceutical estrogens, administered to menopausal women in quantities much larger than their bodies ever produced metabolically, are being added to the rivers.”

c. Beckman (2008) likewise says that “the UK Environment Agency confirmed the contraceptive pill as a pollutant back in 2002. The Agency warned then that fish stocks in British rivers were showing signs of gender ambiguity as a result of high levels of estrogen in the water.” Several mutations were likewise found in Colorado (USA) and New Brunswick, Canada.

d. Aside from affecting animals, Beckman (2008) claims that “studies are also showing significant evidence for a link between environmental estrogens, and estrogen-like chemical pollutants, and the earlier onset of puberty in girls… Studies from the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand have shown similar results.”


6. Male and female sexual sterilization DO have harmful physical, psychological, and social effects.

a. Berek and Novak (2007) write that “the greatest risk of pregnancy, including ectopic pregnancy occurs in the first 2 years after sterilization.”

b. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “the risk of sterilization failure is substantially higher than previously reported…Analysis found…(failure) of 13 per 1,000 procedures… (and it) persists for years after the procedure…The younger the woman was at the time of sterilization, the more likely she was to have had a sterilization failure” (Hatcher, Russell & Nelson, 2008). The impact of contraceptive failure such as this on the rise of unwanted pregnancy and, subsequently, abortion, cannot be overlooked as studies like the one of Bradley & Croft (2010) and the Allan Guttmacher Institute (1996) show.

c. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, “Depending on the sterilization technique, between 800 and 2,000 women per 100,000 can expect a major complication at the time of the operation.” (Bower, n.d.)

d. Some women who have had their fallopian tubes tied have suffered from Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome (PTLS) which is “associated with a lack of blood flow to the fallopian tubes which may cause an interruption in progesterone levels” and manifested in the following, among others: hormonal imbalances, weight gain, chronic fatigue, depression, and irregular periods with heavy clotting (Oxendine, 2010).

e. The negative psychological effects of tubal ligation has been documented in different parts of the world that reported results such as the following:

       i. From the Congo (Africa) researchers reported “conflicting experiences in several areas of their lives after tubal sterilization…(and) psychosocial morbidity…” among clients. (Lutala, Hugo, & Luhiriri, 2011)

        ii. In Tabriz, Iran, researchers reported that “anxiety rate in the case group was significantly more than the control group” (Rogaye , Reyhane , Fateme, Zakaria & Fateme, 2007) where the case group consisted of women who had been ligated 1-10 years before the research.

        iii. In Turkey, researchers reported that “the termination of fertility, …with tubal sterilization, may be a risk factor” towards the abnormal sexual functioning of women with poor education (Gulum, Yeni, Sahin, Savas, & Ciftci, 2010).

        iv. The phenomenon of regret was highlighted by one study in Brazil, which has one of the highest numbers of female sterilization. It found that the “relative risk of requesting reversal for women sterilized before age 25 was 18 times that of women sterilized after age 29” and this demand for reversal of sterilization has increased (Hardy, Bahamondes, Osis, Costa, & Faundes, 1996).

          v. One systematic review of 19 articles that studied connections between sterilization and later regret showed that “women undergoing sterilization at the age 30 years or younger were about twice as likely as those over 30 to express regret. They were also from 3.5 to 18 times as likely to request information about reversing the procedure and about 8 times as likely to actually undergo reversal or an evaluation for in vitro fertilization. (Curtis, Mohllhajee, & Peterson, 2006).

f. Some medical websites like the Mayo Clinic (2011), trivialize the side effects of vasectomy. However, the study of Manikandan, Srirangam, Pearson, & Collins (2004) reveals that “chronic scrotal pain after vasectomy is more common than previously described, affecting almost one in seven patients.”

g. One study in Australia that involved 860 men who were requesting for vasectomy reversal procedures concluded that “regretted vasectomy is now a common cause of infertility whose treatment may be both unsuccessful and costly” (Jequier, 1998). A more recent study in the Netherlands revealed the same phenomenon of post- sterilization regret “notably those who underwent it at a young age and those without children of their own” (Dohle, Meuleman, Hoekstra, van Roijen, & Zwiers, 2005).




1 Cervical epithelium: the membranous cellular tissue covering the surface of the cervix (the outer end of the uterus)

2 That is, on this specific topic.

3 Gestational trophoblastic tumor: “Any of a group of tumors that develops from trophoblastic cells(cells that help an embryo attach to the uterus and help form the placenta) after fertilization of an egg by a sperm.” (

4  Neuroblastoma:”Cancer that arises in immature nerve cells and affects mostly infants and children.” (

5 Insulin resistance: reduced sensitivity to insulin by bodily processes independent to insulin (as glucose uptake, breakdown of fat, and inhibition of glucose production by the liver) that results in lowered activity of these processes or an increase in insulin production or both and that is typical of type 2 diabetes but often occurs in the absence of diabetes


6 Cerebral-vein thrombosis: the formation or presence of a blood clot within a vein in the brain

7 Ischemic stroke: a stroke caused by a deficient supply of blood to the brain that is due to obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood

8 Venous thromboembolism: the blocking of a vein by a particle that has broken away from a blood clot at its site of formation (

 9 Transdermal contraceptive system: substances and materials making up the “contraceptive patch,” a patch that contains hormones preventing pregnancy and absorbed through the skin

 10 Hypergoagulability: the tendency of the blood to clot excessively




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One Response to “Handbook of truths behind the RH Bill -Medical Arguments”
  1. Magna says:

    To the authors of the “Handbook of Truths behind the RH Bill”: Thank you for your tireless campaign against this unspeakably evil bill. Thank you for being “candles in the dark” to show us the right way; thank you for spending time and effort to stop this bill even though it is obviously a thankless job. Thank you for speaking out and standing for what is right, despite the formidable opposition – no less than the president of our country (!) is pushing for it. Hopefully, your handbook will reach and enlighten those among the bill’s proponents who, not being aware of the truth, support it because they sincerely believe it is good for the Filipino people. Those who seek the truth with all their heart will recognize the truth when they come face to face with it. However those who, while knowing the truth about the RH Bill, still support it and actively push for it, are an entirely different type all together. One can only hope they come to their senses before it is too late.

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