15 October 2008
APPROVAL OF FAMILY PLANNING
The latest SWS survey on family planning confirms what opinion polls for the past two decades have been telling policymakers – Filipinos approve of family planning and want a law requiring the distribution of contraceptives by the government.
“The message is loud and clear. Filipinos want to plan their families, approve of contraceptive use and they want government to help them be responsible parents.” This was underscored by Rep. Edcel Lagman, principal author of House Bill No. 5043 on “Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development”.
The results of the Third Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey of the SWS reveal that 68% of Filipinos agreed that there should be a law requiring government to distribute contraceptives like condoms, IUDs and pills to people who want to avail of them. Only 15% disagreed with the statement and 16% were undecided.
SWS disaggregated the respondents into “Catholics” and “Non-Catholics”. Respondents were also asked to rate their trust in the Catholic Church.
Lagman said that it was interesting to note that 70% of the respondents who declared that they had “much trust” in the Catholic Church approved of a law that will necessitate the distribution of contraceptives. This is 2% higher than the national average of 68%.
Fifty-four percent of all the respondents did not agree that sexuality education will lead to promiscuity in the youth; 25% agreed with the statement while 19% were undecided. More Catholics (55%) than non-Catholics (50%) disagreed with the statement that teaching the youth about family planning will make them promiscuous.
Fifty percent of the respondents also did not agree that legal contraceptives like condoms, pills and IUDs are abortifacients. Only 33% concurred with the statement and 15% were undecided.
Lagman again pointed out that 53% of Catholics who described themselves as weekly churchgoers did not equate contraceptive use with abortion, which is three percentage points higher than the national average.
“Clearly, doctrines advocated by the Church hierarchy do not reflect the diversity of attitudes and practices among the Catholic faithful themselves,” he said.
Lagman said that the SWS survey “echoes surveys conducted by Pulse Asia in 2001, 2004 and 2007 which consistently show that Filipinos believe in the importance of family planning and would like to have the information and access to do so responsibly.”
He emphasized that the latest survey results strengthens the resolve of the 113 coauthors of House Bill 5043 and improves the chances of the bill’s approval by the Lower House.