The Perceived Defeat of the Reproductive Health Bill, Could the Church Coerce Congress?

If we believe on what the  Roman Catholic church on Thursday that it has sufficient support in the Philippine congress to defeat a “controversial family planning bill promoting sex education and the use of contraceptives” then we expect chaos brought about by unabated increase of population in the country.

The bishops according to Maria Fenny Tatad, executive director of the church lobby group Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines, believe they have a number of congressmen in the House of Representatives who could block the passage of the Reproductive Health Care Act. Out of the 238 members of the House of Representatives only 99 congressmen do support the bill.

Only 99 members of the 238-member House of Representatives have openly said they will support the Reproductive Health Care Act, while the rest are expected to side with the church, Tatad said. Population control is a highly politicized issue in the Philippines, where more than 80 percent of the 90 million population are Catholics.

I am not sure how true is this claim but the Catholic church in the Philippines “wields considerable public influence, frowns on any artificial form of birth control and has been waging a high-profile campaign to block the passage of the bill, which is now before congress,” as circulated in the news. However recent surveys showed that most Catholics are in favor of family planning and sex education to be taught in the public school. What is the Catholic church trying to imply with this statement? Are the bishops giving the public the impression that the Catholic church maintains a strong influence in the House of Representatives? I don’t think the Catholic church has that control anymore on the people in so far as population issues are concerned. It is highly improbable for the Catholic church to make one politician lose during the next election just because he supported the Reproductive Health Bill. I still believe people vote with their conscience not on what the church says. So there is no basis of that fear for congressmen losing because the priests control the minds of their parishioners. 

Philippine Population Commission has always mentained the importance of curbing incidence of birth so as not to overpopulate the country. The Philippine population growth rate of 2.04 according to International aid agencies and economists is one of of Asia’s highest. But the Catholic church is against these International agencies supporting the Reproductive Health Bill that will curb rapid population growth but insures the health of women on reproductive ages.

Contrary to what the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life say, the Reproductive Health Bill which includes family planning program, sex education, and advice on birth control, may not necessarily immoral. It only enhances people perspectives on reproductive  health and propagate values on responsible parenthood. Liberal minded people these days may understand which is socially appropriate without necessarily being “immoral.”

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9 Comments

Filed under government, Philippine government, politics, Religion, Salvation, United Nations, Wealth, Poverty

9 responses to “The Perceived Defeat of the Reproductive Health Bill, Could the Church Coerce Congress?

  1. The Catholic Church’s propaganda arm is working hard these days to confuse the people and those in the Congress. Common sense on the reproductive health issues will pass the bill. You guys who are against the reproductive health bill should bear in mind. Sorry but your dreams will not come true.

  2. i am not very familiar with the details of this controversial bill but what i hold essential is that everyone is accountable to his act and should therefore make his own decisions without undue bias from any sector, even the church.

  3. what is it in the bill that makes the church so wary of it anyway?

  4. chi

    lady,

    The Tatad’s are Opus Die whose members are outnumbered by the Catholics with common sense. I’m pretty sure, the bulk of Catholics have senses in tack with regards to responsible parenthood.

    Mga fanatics lang ang susunod sa Simbahang Katoliko when it comes to the parameters of the reproductive bill.

  5. The Freedom of Speech, although a beautiful law that protects citizen to express concern against government corruption and allows us to state our opinion without fear,We as the citizen of our beloved country Philippines have the right to oppose the on going signature drive in Congress to amend the constitution.We the Filipino people is the fourth branches of government and our voices must be heard.

    Start up your computer and start writing your opposition on this Charter Change. Web logging and blogging has long been praised and employed by members of the Arroyo opposition. Most would be surprised and should be concerned that many web log contributors are silent army armed only with computers and laptops dispatched to people in our country. We does not carry badges identifying us as such. Its main mission is to voice our concern for our people and to our government.

    Unfortunately for Filipinos living outside the Philippines, although highly educated, they rely heavily on Google and other search engines for information.The internet is wonderful tools exchanging information.

    I am inviting you to visit my site and sign-in.

  6. The CBCP is taking it easy with the impeachment proceedings. They are afraid Malacanang would give a thumbs up on the reproductive health bill.

  7. Nathaniel

    Hello,

    I’m not from the Philippines so maybe I’m talking about an older version of the bill but I read through and commented on one that someone from the Philippines brought up. If it is the same bill here is what I had to say with regard to it. If it isn’t then my apologizes for being outdated.


    I started to check it out and have to admit I didn’t finish reading through the bill until now. Most of it I have no problem with. Sorry for the long comment but I wanted to point out which things were questionable and why. Sorry for any typos.

    I don’t mind saying that there is such a thing as gay people and that they should be respected and be treated equally as others. I don’t mind condoms at all-I think they help prevent many (but not all) diseases (depending on the condom). I honestly disagree with many officials in Catholic Church (my own and I don’t plan to leave it) on these issues. So I can see how they would mind this bill even if I don’t.

    However, there are a few things that do bother me. SEC 4. l (under “Definition of Terms”) bothers me a fair amount. It mentions that this bill would lead to programs that encourage limitation to children per family to 2. It will also discourage people from migrating to urban areas. The poll referred to mentioned that a survey indicated that most people would like 2.7 children. Even if this poll was not worded in a deceptive manner (I have seen some that are on different political issues) the preferred number of children is closer to 3 and thus taxpayer funds are going to be spent encouraging families to have less children than they actually want. Also urban areas may actually (if structured well) provide homes and workplaces for people easier and more environmentally than rural-so discouraging migration to the urban areas may be a bad idea and there is no mention of even trying to determine if it is or not in the bill.

    SEC. 13. “Ideal Family Size” may discriminate against children who are from families that include 3 or more children. The actual wording is “In order to attain the desired population growth rate, the State shall encourage two (2) children as the ideal family size. Children from these families shall have preference in the grant of scholarships at the tertiary level.” That is unfair to the children themselves, may actually cut down on the number of children who can receive an education with scholarships (as many families have 3 or more children), and is a way of subtly discriminating against people who do not agree to a population control (or “management” as it is referred to here) program. Population control is very different from making sure people are healthy and even decide the number of children they have (as the whole point of population control is deciding for parents how many children they can have and therefore not giving them that freedom).

    SEC. 17 “Multi-Media Campaign” also may lead to spending taxpayer funding on propaganda for population control. It should focus just (in my opinion) on informing people about reproductive health care-and not be part of a “management” promotion.

    SEC. 18 “Tax-Deductible Donations” is a way of encouraging or subsidizing this program. While I see health as a good thing have doubts about this “management” and thus don’t feel it should be subsidized and that it may not be as positive a thing for society. You can disagree with me on this point, but the reason for making things tax-deductible is because they serve a social good.

    SEC. 19 “Prohibited Acts” under “a” and “2” makes it illegal for a health care provider to refuse perform “voluntary sterilization and ligation” on a pregnant minor-even if the minor’s parents have not been informed. In a case of child abuse this makes some sense if a parent is the abuser, but not in ones where the parent is not.

    I mentioned the specific parts of this bill I take issue with and why. There is one last thing to mention. If you believe that life begins at conception that means that a fertilized egg is a life and that pills that cause this egg to die are an abortion. The usual type of abortion is on a fetus and if the definition of what an “abortion” is ends up being restricted to this then the pill based abortions may slip through the law under a listing of “contraceptives”. Thus it may allow some types of abortion in the eyes of many Catholics including myself. I don’t know if the types of pill I’m referring to are or are not thought of as abortions as they aren’t mentioned in one way or another in the bill-they should be so this issue is made clear.

    In sum, there are alot of things in this bill I think are fine. I would try to change it one the point that I brought up and then pass it. And, if you don’t mind me repeating it one last time, there is a big difference between making sure people understand sexuality and are able to raise children well and engaging in population control or “management”. I would pull the latter out of this bill so the former could pass in a form that would only be helpful to people in my POV. And I tend to be suspicious of others who decide how many children you should or should not have, especially when if I am a good parent or a criminal does not appear to matter (be the main issue) with regard to them on this point. I don’t want children to be stuck with bad parents, but population management doesn’t care (or check) to see if you are a good or bad parent-just the number of children you have.

    And that preference for scholarships is totally unjustified. I can understand giving them to poor people so they can have an education but that is not the focus of this “preference”.

    And I do like the mentioning of women being required to be thought of as equal as that is fair.”

  8. Lady,
    I’ve been trying to figure out if there is a connection between the Bishops opposition on the charter change and the passing of the reproductive health bill. The House of Representatives has the Reproductive Health Bill as a deterrent for the Bishops outright support on the opposition to charter change. Certainly the CBCP will be divided on the issue of charter change to block perhaps on the passage of the RH Bill.

  9. Ipe Espinosa of Bacolod City

    Here are some of the potential consequences of the passage into law of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill (HB O5043) which have dawned upon me; to wit:

    1.0 BIG BUSINESS, BIGGER MONEY. If RH Bill passes into law, condom suppliers may earn from the Philippine government (which will be mandated to distribute free condoms to 4.9 million youth aged 15-27), PhP 2.548 billion every year. (Or 4.9 million youth times 1 sex act per week times 52 weeks per year times condom usage of 1 piece per sex act times supplier’s price of P10 per piece of condom.) The assumption of a youth engaging in sex at the average of once a week, I am afraid, is in order and conservative. It will be unthinkable for a young student to obey the reminder of his RH teacher or older relatives that abstinence is the most effective birth control method when that young student is aware, the government is duty-bound to provide him or her with free condom for his or her sexual cravings anytime, anywhere. Condom supply is therefore a big business if RH Bill passes into law. Nevertheless, what is bigger money is when government canvassers, signatories of purchase orders, receivers of condom deliveries, as well as check payment signatories and releasers may connive with condom suppliers to price the condom at P 100 per piece instead of P 10. The over price of P 90 per piece of condom will be distributed among the involved government officials. Therefore, due to the passage of the RH Bill, there is an opportunity for a PhP 25.48 billion condom scam to happen.

    2.0 BOARS AND GILTS. These 4.9 million youth who are recipients of the government’s free supply of condoms may naturally crave for sex like animals (considering the additional enticement from the immodest mass media and the internet pornography). The young male may act like boar while the young female behaves like gilt that is in heat. This promiscuity or multiple sexual relationships, is probably just a take off point. The Law of Diminishing Extra Satisfaction (as adopted from the psychological and economic law of diminishing marginal utility) that governs pure human and animal endeavors including sexual relations will be fully operational. In other words, if sex will be a preoccupation of the Filipino youth, then the satisfaction that a young male derives having sex with female partner/s, will decrease or wane eventually. He then ventures to partner sexually with his fellow male/s to seek new level of satisfaction. He may push further by engaging in bisexual activities. But most likely he will end up as a pure homosexual. A young female may also follow the same path as she craves for sex and sexual satisfactions. She may graduate as a pure lesbian. But this scenario will not be glaring overnight. It will take a generation – ten years span. This may then translate to the need of a new advocacy – to support the passing into law of the bill on same-sex marriages and divorce in the country.

    3.0 POPULATION REDUCTION. The ultimate aim of RH Bill, I understand, is achieving economic prosperity (particularly for the poor) however through population reduction approach. In case the RH Bill is passed, its success will be measured therefore by, among others, whether its respective population reduction target (PRT) is attained. And the critical factor in attaining PRT is the effective distribution and use of condom of the 4.9 million Filipino youth in particular. Effective means here, making a condom available for free, on demand of the youth, either male or female, anywhere, anytime. As mentioned above, this will cost the Philippine government, PhP 2.548 billion every year. If the government will have limited or doesn’t have that amount of taxpayers’ money (for condom purchase and distribution) then the full attainment of the PRT will be jeopardized. Thus RH Law may prove to be ineffective to reduce population in the country. If this is the case, other population reduction measures or Bills will be therefore sought. So there will be a future need to support for the passage into law of Pro-abortion Bills as well as of Pro-euthanasia Bills.

    So then, to all the RH Bill advocates, if your support for the passage into law of RH Bill (which may lead to additional opportunity for corruptions in the Philippine government, to transformation of the Filipino youth as homosexuals and lesbians, to eventual murder of unborn babies and to future mercy-killing of senior citizens, etc.) makes your Mama proud of you, then go full speed ahead of your RH Bill advocacy. Otherwise, please resign as a RH Bill supporter and lobby harder for our legislators to vote against RH Bill.

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