RH Bill a Threat to Life and Family in the Philippines
by Fr. Peter West | Manilla, Philippines | LifeNews.com | 10/23/11 9:13 PM
People of good will throughout the world should be aware of a great threat to the children and families of the Philippines. Filipinos are overwhelmingly Catholic (81%) and pro-life. Because of this fact, and because they are still having children, they have become a target of international population control organizations and pro-abortion groups. According to the UNFPA, outside organizations based in the United States and Europe have spent $962 million dollars to promote population control in the Philippines from 1991 to 2010.
Since 1998, Filipinos have been fighting the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, which mandates, among other things, comprehensive sex education, government funded contraceptives and aboritfacients and forced participation for doctors regardless of conscientious objection. The bill also labels contraceptives as “essential medicines.” With limitless funds aiding in its promotion, an increasing number of individuals and groups have fallen into the trap of thinking that the RH Bill is necessary for economic development. Many of them have also been convinced by the propaganda that paints the Catholic Church as the enemy of progress. With the unyielding support of the “Catholic” current president of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino, there is great danger that the bill could pass soon. So far, the Filipino people are holding strong. HLI has been part of a successful effort to educate the public about the dangers of this bill, including the production of a documentary that is being distributed throughout the Philippines, including to all of the Filipino Bishops.
It is crucial to note that neither the enormous amount of money nor the language in the RH Bill comes from the Philippines. The bill was not written by Filipinos for Filipinos, but by international population control groups in secret. For a poor country, offers of enormous amounts of money are difficult to refuse unless people are well-grounded morally, and aware of the devastating effects that contraception and other anti-life practices can have on a country. For the time being, the RH Bill is not written to legalize abortion, which is still highly restricted in the Philippines; but it is widely understood that legalized abortion will follow soon after the RH Bill is passed – if it is passed. Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, founder of HLI, often said that in all his travels he had not seen one country where the widespread use of contraception did not quickly lead to widespread abortion.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, the principal author of the bill, has claimed that opposing the RH Bill is tantamount to opposing religious freedom. However, contraceptives are legal and widely available in the Philippines, despite their harmful effects. The Church’s opposition to the RH Bill is based on natural law which is accessible to reason, no matter what faith one holds.
Rather, it is the RH Bill which is a threat to religious liberty. It forces medical professionals and businesses to promote and perform a full range of “reproductive health services,” against their consciences. It also mandates immoral Planned Parenthood-style sex education courses starting in the fifth grade, establishes population officers to pressure poor women to have fewer children and requires couples to undergo RH training with certification before they can obtain marriage license. Perhaps most onerously, the bill threatens imprisonment and fines for anyone who spreads “malicious disinformation” (a term that is ambiguous at best), and thus threatens to muzzle free speech and the freedom of choice that RH promoters claim to support.
While the bill does not make abortion legal, the phrase a “full range of reproductive health services” is found throughout the bill, which is understood internationally as services including abortion. For example, during a 2010 visit to Canada, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health, and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions.” The elites have made a temporary concession to staunchly pro-life Filipinos by not pushing for abortion to be included in the bill, but the history of other countries show that they will be back to press for repeal of laws which ban abortion and protect unborn children. Once a contraceptive mentality has taken hold, it is always easier to promote abortion.
The bill is officially entitled “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011.” Despite its title, the bill does not promote responsible parenthood. The experience of many other countries shows that widespread contraceptive use leads to rampant promiscuity, higher teen pregnancy rates, more STDs and more abortion. Contraceptives provide a false sense of security that erodes natural moral inclinations to restrict sexual activity to situations where people are open to children.
Further, contrary to one of the most common taglines used to promote the RH Bill, it is not “pro-woman.” Overwhelming evidence show the link between hormonal contraceptives and various cancers. Manufacturers even concede that it can cause potentially fatal blood clots and strokes.
Economic problems in the Philippines are not caused by over-population, but by high levels of poverty, mostly in urban centers. Many of their economic problems could be solved by eliminating rampant corruption, which is estimated to cost Filipinos 400 billion pesos annually. Unless the real causes of poverty are addressed, poor Filipinos will remain poor.
Those of us who are concerned with the sanctity of life cannot afford to be indifferent to the situation in the Philippines – it would be a terrible blow if this very pro-life and pro-family nation were to fall. We need to influence government leaders in our countries to offer real assistance to our brothers and sisters in need, and not false solutions and aggressively imperialistic threats, like those posed by the RH Bill.
LifeNews.com Note: Reprinted with permission from Human Life International’s World Watch forum.