Both houses of the Filipino Congress approved the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill, which is now expected to be signed into law by President Benigno Aquino as soon as Christmas.
The House approved the measure last week and the Senate voted for the bill today.
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.
“This is terrible news for the Philippines and for the world,” says Father Shenan Boquet, President of Human Life International. “The wealthy Western elites who find in the children of the developing world only a threat to be eliminated appear to have won their most coveted crown. They used their billions to exploit the famously corrupt political environment of the last pro-life and pro-family nation in Asia.
“Several Catholic bishops and many priests of the Philippines have been strong and vocal in their opposition to this destructive bill, and they have welcomed support from other religious groups as well. We hope that the Catholic Church in the Philippines will redouble her efforts to publicly protect the faithful, and that she will support lay leaders and politicians who will continue the fight on the streets and in the courts. The battle is not over, it is only entering a new stage,” he added. “It is extremely important that this principle be kept in mind: compromise with evil never leads to unity. Going forward it is worth taking note of what happened when contraception was widely adopted in the United States and there were calls within the Church for compromise with the culture, as if it were the Church’s responsibility to conform itself to the age.”
“First, the calls to fully legalize abortion immediately increased, despite the assurances of the promoters of contraception that its acceptance would lead to a cease fire in the already raging war over abortion. Not only did this cease fire not happen, but there were no grounds on which the Church could effectively oppose its legalization. We now have some of the most liberal national abortion laws in the world,” the HLI leader continued.
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“What also followed was not a period of peace and acceptance of the Church. Instead we saw only increased attacks on the faith, the confusion and departure of many of the faithful, and the diminishing of the Church’s moral authority. The compromise that many sought within the Church did not lead to greater collegiality, it led to greater division and attack,” he said. “The only true unity will occur in charity and truth. We cannot accept false compromises from those who seek the marginalization of the Church and the Filipino family, and those Catholic politicians who supported the RH Bill should know that there are spiritual consequences for doing so.”
For more on the anti-life provisions of the RH Bill, visit http://www.rhbillnever.com