The pro-abortion United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with speak with Philippine President Benigno Aquino during her stop in Manila next month on the eve of what is set to be one of the largest pro-life gatherings in the Philippines this year.
Sec. Clinton plans to speak with President Aquino on November 15. The National “Philippines for Life” Congress in the Philippines starts on November 16. The theme of the conference is, “Surrender is not and option, compromise is not a solution. Philippines for life forever.
The conference’s theme serves as a show of force for pro-life and pro-family organizations, and to let others know that they are “very much alive, moving, growing and gaining ground…especially now that we are in the middle of the battle against the anti-life bills in [the legislature],” said Dr. Rene Bullecer, director of Human Life International (HLI) Philippines, and organizer of the conference.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks at a Millennium Challenge Cooperation signing ceremony with Philippine President Aquino at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, New York, on September 23, 2010.
Filipino pro-lifers have been extremely active over the past year, organizing to fight against the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill currently being considered in the legislature. These pro-life advocates say the RH Bill will impose a Western population control agenda on the Philippines through contraception and other “reproductive health” services. The legislation also imposes fines or imprisonment for any person who “maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions” of the bill.
President Aquino, who is Catholic, has been criticized by pro-life advocates, including the Catholic Church in the Philippines, for his support of the RH Bill which he promoted in an official trip to the United States last month. During a stop in New York, President Aquino “made a pitch” for the RH Bill, including saying he “does not mind earning the ire of the Catholic Church,” for his support of the bill, according to news reports.
“It (the Clinton-Aquino meeting) will be in terms of bilateral and multilateral issues. We are looking for a discussion on many areas of cooperation,” Filipino Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters.
One of the topics of debate over the controversial RH Bill is how abortion – which is not legalized per the language in the bill – is to be included in any implementation of reproductive health policy. Clinton said in 2010, “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion,”
“This is why Secretary Clinton’s visit is so ominous,” said Father Peter West, vice president for missions with Human Life International. “Her declaration that abortion is always to be included in reproductive health policy, combined with her obvious support of President Aquino and the RH Bill, seriously undermines the pro-RH side’s claims that they have no intention to push for legalization of abortion after they achieve their first goal, passage of the RH Bill itself.”
“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,” said Father West in a recent column. “Once a contraceptive mentality has taken hold, it is always easier to promote abortion.”
“[The RH Bill] reappears because it is fueled by mind-boggling amounts of money from international population control organizations, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA),” according to Dr. Ligaya Acosta, HLI’s regional coordinator for Asia and Oceania, who previously worked for the health ministry of the Philippines before her pro-life conversion.
“Filipinos have been successfully fighting the bill in the legislature for over a decade, and have no intention of giving in now,” she said.
The National “Philippines for Life” Congress 2011 takes place November 16-18 at the Summit Circle Hotel in Cebu City. Speakers at the conference include: Filipino Senate Majority Leader Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Davao Representative Karlo Nograles, former senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad, former Manila mayor Jose “Lito” Atienza, Jr., economics expert Dr. Roberto de Vera of the University of Asia and the Pacific, businessman and The Philippine Star columnist Valeriano “Bobit” Avila, HLI Asia and Oceania regional director Dr. Ligaya Acosta, Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes DD, Bacolod Bishop Vicente M. Navarra, DD, HLI Philippines country director Dr. Rene Bullecer and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (CBCP-ECFL) Executive Secretary Fr. Melvin Castro.