- Office of Minority Leader Edcel C. Lagman
- 0916-6406737 / 0918-9120137
- 04 October 2010
The call of bishops for civil disobedience could turn into religious defiance as Catholics may opt to continue and escalate their support for the enactment of a nationwide and comprehensive reproductive health law which is health-oriented, rights-based and development-driven.
This eventuality would further embarrass the Catholic hierarchy following its desistance from excommunicating President Benigno Aquino III for his stand on voluntary contraceptive use.
Two decades of surveys by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia document that the vast majority of Filipinos who are predominantly Catholic, want that the RH bill be passed and government allocate public funds for the procurement and distribution of contraceptives to family planning acceptors.
In its latest national survey, SWS revealed that 71% of Filipinos are in favor of the RH bill and 76% agree that there should be a law requiring government to teach family planning to the youth.
Catholics have also spoken and according to the SWS, 68% of Catholics believe that government should distribute free contraceptives to those who want them. Ironically, more Catholics (71%) favor the passage of the RH bill versus non-Catholics (68%).
Pulse Asia also disclosed that a whopping 93% of Filipinos consider it important to have the ability to plan their families; 82% believe government should teach couples about all methods of family planning; and another 82% of Filipinos say that it is the government’s duty to provide the people with knowledge, services, and materials on all methods of family planning.
It should also be underscored that contraceptives cannot in any way be labeled abortifacients. In a paper submitted to the House of Representatives, the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the WHO categorically stated that “contraceptives are not abortifacients.” Research by the Allan Guttmacher Institute also shows that contraceptive use reduces abortion rates by 85%.
Moreover, contraceptives save the lives of mothers and children. Both the WHO and the UNFPA have asserted that “one in three deaths relating to pregnancy and childbirth could be avoided if women who wanted to use contraception could access it.”
Studies conducted by the WHO have also concluded that helping women plan their families through regular and proper use of modern contraceptives can help prevent one million infant and child deaths annually worldwide.
Solon warns Church of loss of support on RH bill
By Leila B. Salaverria, Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:51:00 10/05/2010