by Steven Ertelt
May 13, 2007
Manila, Philippines (LifeNews.com) — The United Nations is placing pressure on the Philippines to reduce its population numbers and that could mean the island nation reversing its pro-life laws that prohibit abortions. However, the strongly Catholic country has turned back previous efforts to weaken its protective laws.
A representative of the United Nations Population Fund told the Filipino government that it should adopt the agency’s Millennium Development Goals to eradicate poverty and hunger.
However, the UNFPA has been involved in China’s family planning program that prohibits couples from having more than one child and has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations as well as significant legal and political harassment.
China instituted its policy for same anti-poverty reasons.
Suneeta Mukherjee, UNFPA representative to the Philippines told the nation that it must do more to promote "women’s rights … including reproductive health and family planning.”
The UNFPA claims that about half of all of the pregnancies in the Philippines are unplanned and would like to do more to promote birth control usage there.
In March, pro-life advocates in the country celebrated the defeat of a bill that would have prohibited families from having more than two children each. The bill would have imposed up to six months imprisonment for families not upholding a reproductive health care agenda.
Eileen Macapanas Cosby, the director of the Filipino Family Fund, one of the leading groups opposed to the measure, told LifeNews.com in a statement that her group is happy the bill is dead.
“We helped Filipinos avoid ‘China-lite’ and a poor social engineering experiment for the families of Filipino Americans,” she said.
"These are not Filipino values. Nor should they be imposed on the Philippines as a means of poverty alleviation, especially since their constitution clearly protects life beginning at conception,” Cosby added.
Despite the victory, pro-life advocates are concerned that population control supporters will resubmit their bill in the next session, making the May 14 national elections particularly significant.
"Our solidarity is important or we risk the Philippines will go the way of many countries in Europe, Central and South America where abortion is now legal," Cosby said of her nation.
The people of the Philippines are strongly pro-life and more than 10,000 pro-life young people attended a rally in the Filipino capital earlier this year.
An October 2006 poll conducted by the Pew Research firm found that 97 percent of those polled said abortion was never justified and only 3 percent said abortion is sometimes justified. None of the respondents told the polling firm that abortion is always justified.
The UNFPA came under fire in December for sponsored a gathering of 180 parliamentarians in Bangkok to get the lawmakers to pledge to promote “reproductive rights.”
Previously, the Bush administration sent two teams of investigators from the State Department and found that the UNFPA had been complicit in China’s one-child program.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in October 2005 that the Bush administration "remains firmly committed to women’s maternal and reproductive health" despite the need to defund the UNFPA.
Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, praised the president for his actions, which include diverting the money to groups that stop the sexual trafficking of women, a condition that has resulted in China because of the gender imbalance created by the population control programs.
"UNFPA is guilty of shamelessly supporting and whitewashing terrible crimes against humanity, and the United States will have no part in subsidizing them," Smith said.
Related web sites:
Filipino Family Fund – https://www.filipinofamilyfund.org