Pro-lifers in the Philippines are claiming another victory this week as a vote on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill threatening to force taxpayers to fund contraceptive and abortifacient services was again delayed before the House of Representatives went into recess.
“With a joyful heart, we would like to thank the Lord God, the Author of Life, as this morning the House of the Representatives adjourned for a long recess. No voting was held on the RH Bill. Hallelujah!” said Dr. Rene Bullecer, Human Life International (HLI) country director in the Philippines.
Dr. Bullecer has helped to organize thousands of pro-life Filipinos at rallies across the country against the bill since its latest reintroduction to Congress. To keep pressure on congressional representatives before the end of session, around 100 people gathered in Cebu City on Saturday to counter plans to pass the bill this week.
In an interview with local press on Saturday, Dr. Bullecer said that pro-life advocates cannot become complacent in the fight against the RH Bill, and must continue to be active and pray for the bill’s defeat.
A version of the RH Bill has been filed and re-filed in Congress since 1998, but pro-lifers have rallied the public to defeat the bill every year.
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 requires couples to undergo government-mandated RH training and certification before they can obtain a marriage license.
Dr. Bullecer contends that the RH Bill directly contradicts the protections of life and family guaranteed in the Philippine constitution which states:
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.
“Even as we celebrate this victory, we continue with our massive public information activities, and working with our legislators,” said Dr. Ligaya Acosta, HLI’s regional coordinator for Asia and Oceania, who lives in the Philippines. “Our deep faith in God and reverence for our most Beloved Blessed Virgin Mary, whom Filipinos fondly call ‘Mama Mary,’ as well as St. Joseph and all the angels and saints in heaven, is I think our secret why we have persevered and continue to persevere in this long drawn battle for life and family.
The Philippine Congress will be back in session on May 6 until June 7, 2012.
“For us, these days will be crucial again. We will double our efforts in terms of prayers and mass demonstrations,” said Dr. Bullecer. “After June 7, 2012, the chances of the RH Bill being passed are remote because come July 2012, all congressmen will be busy in preparation for the May 2013 mid-year elections. In fact, the majority of congressmen will be campaigning already by that time, and the RH Bill is a very hot issue to talk about.”
LifeNews.com Note: Reprinted with permission from Human Life International’s World Watch forum. Adam Cassandra is a Communications Specialist at Human Life International.