As the congressional session resumed in the Philippines on Monday, hundreds of young pro-life activists filled the gallery of the House of Representatives in a show of opposition to the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill which continues to threaten the protections for life and family guaranteed by the Filipino Constitution.
The youth activists, all dressed in red (the color of the pro-life resistance to the RH Bill) were greeted in their seats by members of the nine Young Legislators (9YL) of the House of Representatives who last year vowed to fight against the RH Bill. Those representatives are Lucy Torres-Gomez (Leyte, 4th district), Karlo Alexei Nograles (Davao City, 1st District), Gabriel Quisumbing (Cebu, 6th District), Irwin Tieng and Mariano Michael Velarde (Buhay Party List), Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Marinduque), Dakila Carlo Cua (Quirino, Lone District), Rachel Marguerite Del Mar (Cebu, 1st District) and Fatima Aliah Dimaporo (Lanao del Norte, 2nd District).
Earlier in the day, a group of young pro-life leaders representing a coalition of organizations held a press conference to present and sign the “Our Voice, Our Vote” youth manifesto opposing the RH Bill.
“The youth are the foremost victims of the Reproductive Health Bills pending in both housed of Congress. It is our generation that will face the reality of the many risks so intimately involved in this measure. It is our welfare that is on the line,” the statement begins.
“[P]regnancy is not the disease that can find a cure in contraception. Massive government spending for products with known health detriments is tantamount to a government serving our people harm,” the statement reads in part.
An “RH Youth Forum” was also held Monday in the Philippines where around a hundred youth leaders gathered to hear pro-life speakers and discuss their activities to oppose the RH Bill. Human Life International (HLI) Philippines Director Dr. Rene Bullecer was one of the speakers, and helped to organize the forum.
“If we made it in the last 14 years, we must be able to sustain our battle until the 15th Congress closes on February 18, 2013. Trusting solely in God’s mercy, we are more determined than ever to fight and win against the anti-life agenda through prayers, dedication and activism, all for faith, life and family,” Dr. Bullecer said in an email sent to HLI’s office in the United States.
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.
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The fight against the RH Bill is the subject of a documentary produced by Human Life International last year. “The Philippines: Preserving a Culture of Life” was featured last weekend at the Life Fest Film Festival in Los Angeles, California. The film, which debuted on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) last August, will return to EWTN on May 9th and 10th in the Philippines, and will also re-air in the U.S. and Canada on EWTN on Wednesday, May 9th at 2:30 pm, and Friday May 11th at 5:30 pm EST.
“That so many young people are active in defending life and family in the Philippines is truly a sign of hope for the pro-life community, not only in the Philippines, but around the world,” said HLI Vice President for Missions Father Peter West. “The Filipino youth who are leading the fight against the RH Bill need our prayers and support to defeat the RH Bill once and for all. May God bless their efforts in the defense of life.”
LifeNews.com Note: Reprinted with permission from Human Life International’s World Watch forum. Adam Cassandra is a Communications Specialist at Human Life International.