By Steve Jalsevac
October 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Last fall, a Filipino group listed as a partner of the Canadian bishops' Development and Peace organization published an article noting it is "included" in a 50 group coalition urging the government to pass a controversial national Reproductive Health Bill. Meanwhile, the country's Catholic bishops have been intensely opposing the same bill. LifeSiteNews has developed a brief 5 minute video to show its readers how information such as this can easily be discovered by anyone.
A ten minute search on the Internet was all it took for LifeSiteNews to discover that the Development and Peace "partner," The Freedom From Debt Coalition (FDC), has been involved in a major effort to pressure Filipino legislators to pass the very controversial Congressional House Bill 5043. The bill, which has an explicit population control emphasis, proposes a massive promotion of contraception and sterilization throughout the country, mandatory sex education for Filipino children starting at grade 5 and a removal of the right to conscientious objection, with some exceptions for religious reasons, for health care workers who refuse to provide these services.
The September 21, 2008 article on the FDC website states, "a network of more than 50 non-government and people's organizations advocating women's and people's rights today urged other members of the House of Representatives to affirm women's right to reproductive self-determination, and to support the immediate passage of the Reproductive Health Bill."
The FDC article says the coalition, The Welga ng Kababaihan, "includes the Freedom from Debt Coalition Women's Committee" and that the coalition "stressed that it is a woman's right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to her sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence."
Continuing to use strong abortion movement language, in a subsection titled "Right to Choose," the FDC article states, "The RH Bill makes it the responsibility of the state to protect the right to choose, not to make decisions for individuals. Women's right to choose is a basic part of exercising control over their lives."
An Internet search reveals many other websites referring to the FDC article as the only source for this information on the Welga ng Kababaihan coalition. Reviewing this evidence, Stephen Phelan, Communications Manager for Human Life International concluded, "Clearly the FDC is not just a bit player in this anti-Catholic coalition, but rather its announcement of the group's views shows that it is a central player, if not the ringleader."
In an October 2008 coalition press release on the FDC website, again calling for more "reproductive health services and education", it is claimed that "Induced abortions are the fourth leading cause of maternal deaths in the Philippines." Pro-life leaders have often warned that abortion advocating organizations constantly proclaim extremely exaggerated statistics of maternal deaths from illegal abortions in order to generate support for legislative approval of abortion.
A search of the Philippines bishops' news service website reveals numerous articles discussing the bishops' statements and actions against the Reproductive health Bill 5043 that is supported by the Freedom From Debt Coalition.
In August of 2008, reports CBCP, the Church spearheaded, a "massive signature movement in every diocese, parish, Catholic school, church institution, and organization against the bill. In another CBCP article on the bill it is reported that "International aid agencies and economists have supported the RH bill saying it is crucial if the Philippines is to curb its annual population growth rate of 2.04 percent, one of Asia's highest." Notably, the current birth rate is already below the replacement level and therefore the goal of the international agencies would seem to be to substantially de-populate the Catholic nation.
In their Pastoral Statement on the Reproductive Health Bill, the bishops of the Philippines state, "It is our collective discernment that the Bill in its present form poses a serious threat to life of infants in the womb. It is a source of danger for the stability of the family. It places the dignity of womanhood at great risk."
On September 17 of this year, LifeSiteNews reported that the bishops have been intensifying their efforts against the bill and that Fr. Melvin Castro, of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the Bishops' Conference, announced the Church "plans to help create a coalition of groups specifically to oppose attempts to pass an anti-life "reproductive health" bill through the Senate."
See the LifeSiteNews video that walks viewers through an example of what have sometimes been simple steps used by LifeSiteNews to uncover Internet information confirming pro-abortion, pro-contraception and sometimes blatantly anti-Catholic actions of D&P funded groups. To view the text better click on the HD symbol at the bottom right. Viewers can also double click on the video which will bring them to an even larger YouTube version which enlarges again when HD is clicked.
See the LifeSiteNews Feature Page on Development and Peace for much more information.