“Archbishop Palma, You Don’t Know What Terrorism Is” –Risa Hontiveros

This morning on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer was an article, “It’s come to this:  Bishop calls RH backers terrorists.”

Mawalang-galang lang po, Cebu Archbishop and CBCP Vice-president Jose Palma, you don’t know what terrorism is.  Terrorism is women having no access to the information, supplies and services to be able to plan their families with their husbands or partners through the natural or modern methods of their choice.   It is women burdened by unwanted, unplanned or ill-timed pregnancies.  It is women heartbroken by the malnutrition, nakedness, exposure to the elements, ignorance and sickness of their beloved too-numerous children, who have little or no chance in life.

Archbishop, you don’t know what terrorism is.  It is young people kept ignorant of the beauty and responsibility of human sexuality, burdened by teenage pregnancy, struck by sexually transmitted diseases.

Archbishop, you may disagree with us about reproductive health, but please stop calling us names like “terrorists.”  Better to address the issues faced by women and young people.

Archbishop, calling us “terrorists” is an example of the demonization of RH advocates which invites irrational, anti-women and hateful attacks which have no place in a democratic debate.  For example, on Twitter, I and other RH advocates have been called “anti-Christ,” “demonyo,” “kampon ni Satanas” and “bitch.”

Archbishop, please remember that you are a priest of the One Who preached empathy, respect and peace.

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