Co-authored with Stephen Phelan
June 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Many Catholics around the world have become aware of the goings-on in the Philippines, perhaps the most Catholic and pro-life country in the world. Thanks primarily to the strong and united leadership of our faithful bishops, Filipinos have been successful in fighting off a sustained assault from the West in the form of a “Reproductive Health (RH)” bill that threatens the families and future of the Philippines. But the bill’s proponents seem undaunted and incredibly well-funded, so we wanted to help Catholics around the world understand the situation on the ground, and ask for your prayers and support.
The Philippines does not need and does not want the RH bill. It is a foreign imposition, the contents of which are alien to Filipino values and culture.
The vast majority of Filipinos oppose the bill, as proven by the many huge rallies over the country – the biggest of which saw almost 500,000 gather in Manila last March. The same bill has been filed and re-filed since 1998’s 11th Congress (it is now the 15th), but as we have seen, its Western promoters have no intention of taking ‘no’ for an answer this time around.
Why, one might ask, does it keep reappearing, sometimes with different names or slightly revised content, if the people of the Philippines have so clearly rejected it? It reappears because it is fueled by mind-boggling amounts of money from international population control organizations, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who have long expressed their concern that there are too many poor Filipinos for their comfort. Most recently, the European Union added to the pot, promising 35 million euros as a further enticement for the Philippines to embrace the desired “health reforms.” These groups have essentially bottomless bank accounts, and will not stop until they have reduced Filipino fertility to levels that they are comfortable with.
Sadly, almost everything in the bill has already been implemented surreptitiously by both government and non-governmental organizations. The Philippines now has “population officers” to keep tabs on poor women and try to get them to stop having children. Ubiquitous promotion of “safe,” promiscuous sexual activity has given the Filipinos increasing rates of teenage pregnancy, and many people now think that those who created the problems are the ones to provide the solutions. Slowly, the language of the population controllers is taking hold among young people, the government and the media, while voices of opposition, such as those of the bishops, are increasingly portrayed as being in opposition to Filipino progress.
But the bill will have further and even more devastating consequences if it becomes law. It has provisions to force medical professionals and businesses to promote and perform a full range of “reproductive health services,” regardless of conscientious objection. It promises to fine and jail opponents who spread as-yet-undefined “malicious” falsehoods about the bill. It requires couples to undergo government-mandated RH training and certification before they can obtain a marriage license.
Its primary goal, however, is to define the governmental roles, relationships and structures needed to fully implement the draconian population control program that is being pushed so aggressively by Western elites. And although the bill does not specifically legalize abortion, this omission is widely understood to be a temporary, pragmatic concession to the strongly anti-abortion Filipinos. No abortion – for now. Abortion, as it always does, will soon follow once the rest of the program is adopted, and once the true changes in behavior sought by Western elites are effectively mainstreamed.
Around the world, without exception, “reproductive health” always means contraception and abortion, and is always implemented surreptitiously until the society buys into the false solutions to problems they didn’t have before the population controllers showed up.
The disingenuousness of the bill’s promoters is truly stunning. While they claim it is pro-woman, it actually harms women by promoting hormonal contraceptives that are increasingly tied to various cancers and lethal, stroke-causing blood clots. While they say that the bill is an attempt to alleviate poverty, their proposed solution is actually to eliminate the poor rather than to confront the rampant corruption in Filipino government and business. While they preach about responsible parenthood, they promote radically irresponsible sexual behavior and seek to eliminate its natural consequence – pregnancy – with contraceptives, and soon, abortion. And while they say that population growth must be managed by the government because of limited financial resources, they spend hundreds of millions of dollars promoting their false solutions, leaving the real cause of the Philippines’ poverty unaddressed.
It is truly sad that while “Catholic” Philippine President Benigno Aquino ran successfully on an anti-corruption platform, he is pushing a bill which would institutionalize the worst corruption of all – the corruption of human lives and moral values. And while he talks about poverty alleviation, he is promoting the greatest poverty of all – spiritual poverty.
Following his recent public promises to push for the bill even at risk of being excommunicated from the Catholic Church, President Benigno Aquino has placed himself firmly with the Western elites who think there are too many Filipinos, and against the bishops. This is indeed a sad turn of events. His mother, the late, beloved former President Corazon Aquino, who always stood with Filipino families and the Church, must be turning in her grave.
As mentioned earlier, however, Filipinos have been successfully fighting the bill in the legislature for over a decade, and have no intention of giving in now, even as a new congressional session has begun and the population controllers increasingly express confidence that it is only a matter of time before the bill is passed. We have hope and trust in the Lord of Life, and united with you in prayer, we will continue to fight this bill with all we have.
Based in Manila, Dr. Ligaya Acosta is Human Life International’s Regional Coordinator for Asia and Oceania, and is a former health officer of the Philippines. Stephen Phelan is HLI’s Director of Communications and writes from Front Royal, Virginia.