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Philippines Gives Initial Approval to Reproductive Health Bill

by Steven Ertelt | Manila, Philippines | LifeNews.com | 12/12/12 4:56 PM

International

The Filipino Congress has given initial approval to the controversial, anti-life “Reproductive Health Bill” (RH Bill). The legislation is seen as a precursor to potentially legalizing abortion in the pro-life, Catholic nation.

The bill received an approval today on second reading, with lawmakers voting 113-104 with two abstentions in the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

“This is a very dark day for the Philippines and for the fight for life and family around the world,” said Father Shenan J. Boquet, president of Human Life International.

He told LifeNews: “The corruption of the legislative process that has been on full display leading up to this vote should trouble anyone who values open and accountable governments. President Aquino and other proponents of the bill have not only shown disdain for the faith that most of them profess, but also for women’s health and for the nation’s economic future.”

Leading pro-life groups and the Catholic Bishops have opposed the RH bill because it directly contradicts the protections of life and family guaranteed in the Constitution of the Philippines which states: “The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

Among other objectionable provisions, the RH Bill would force medical professionals and businesses to promote and perform a full range of “reproductive health services,” regardless of conscientious objection. The bill promises to fine and jail opponents who spread as-yet-undefined “malicious” falsehoods about the bill, and would pay for contraceptive services with taxpayer funds. It is feared that the RH Bill will move the Philippines one step closer to legalizing abortion, which is currently illegal under any circumstance.

Versions of this bill have been filed and re-filed in Congress since 1998, but through the efforts of the pro-life community, and because of prayers from around the world, it has failed every time.

Boquet, of Human Life International, added: “The irony to all of this is that much of the reasoning from the bill’s supporters is that birth rates must come down if the Philippines is to join the ranks of the prosperous developed nations. They make this case even though these supposedly developed nations are all suffering a terrible financial downturn due in large part to curtailed population growth, and many are even trying to pay their citizens to have more children. Countries with stable governments, dynamic free markets and educated citizenry are thriving even though they are more densely populated. The RH Bill does nothing to address the nation’s corruption, infrastructure and education deficiencies, and thus offers nothing in the way of prosperity other than large cash payments from Western governments and NGOs who see Filipino children as a threat to their own prosperity.”

“If this was about lowering maternal mortality rates they would be building hospitals, developing education programs for women and training birth attendants. That is not what they’re doing, and this is not about women’s health. Nor is it about lowering the rate of HIV/AIDS. This is about stopping Filipino children from being born, and as has been the case in every other nation that has widely accepted the contraceptive mentality, abortion is right around the corner,” he continued.

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Boquet concluded: “The chances of stopping the bill at this point may seem slim, but nothing is impossible with God. We pray with greater urgency that the Lord of Life will spare the people of the Philippines from joining in the slow demographic suicide of the supposedly developed nations, and will intervene in miraculous fashion.”

For more on the anti-life provisions of the RH Bill, visit http://www.rhbillnever.com