Philippines: Reproductive Health-Abortion Bill Fails to Pass

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 28, 2011   |   12:00PM   |   Manila, Philippines

The controversial “Reproductive Health (RH) Bill” opposed by pro-life groups because it advances a contraception-birth control agenda that could lead to the eventually promotion and advancement of abortion, has failed.

The bill contained several provisions offending pro-life advocates, including one that would have called for a two-child limit similar to the one-child policy in China that has been enforced with forced abortions, coercive sterilizations and other human rights abuses.

The legislation failed to pass on the final day of the legislative session of the Filipino House of Representatives. Western Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that support abortion were furiously campaigning for its passage during “National Women’s Month.” Although the failure to pass the bill in this session is a temporary victory, pro-life organizations and Catholic leaders warn the next session of the federal legislature starts in May and abortion advocates will again be pushing the measure.

“All of the wealthy NGOs who saw this as their best chance to pass the RH bill are discouraged that they still don’t have a majority in this pro-life, pro-family country,” said Rene Bullecer, MD, the director of Human Life International Philippines, said in a statement to “Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent, but they have not been able to overcome the power of truth and of prayer. Still, we know that they will not give up and that their pockets are bottomless, so we still have lots of work to do before the next session begins.”

The failure of the measure came after thousands of Philippine Catholics rallied in Manila against the bill the government supported. The Archdiocese of Manila and various pro-life groups led the rally where Manila Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales celebrated Mass.

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, interim president of Human Life International, also applauded the failure by abortion advocates to move the bill ahead, and he condemned the pressure pro-abortion groups from outside the Philippines used to pressure Filipino lawmakers,

“The arrogance of sterile Western elites trying to tell Filipinos how to be ‘responsible parents’ is truly stunning,” he said. “But Christians are united against the bill. The Catholic Church is seeing strong leadership from its bishops and priests, and they are standing united with fellow Christians around the Philippines. They realize the mortal threat that the RH bill represents to their families and their future, and the more that people learn about it, the more vehemently they oppose it.”

“This is definitely a victory for life and family,” said Monsignor Barreiro. “But it is only temporary — it is not the end of the war. We and our partners will continue to grow the opposition to this destructive bill.”

Philippine President Benigno Aquino supported the bill. He said he opposes abortion but, according to a Catholic News Service report, worried about the country’s population, saying  government officials “cannot close our eyes to the reality of our huge population; that is why the state should address it along with other issues like maternal and child health.”

The bill was killed in 2010 and in previous years as well.