Philippines in Struggle Against Abortionist Population Control Initiative

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MANILA, July 22, 2008 ( - Filipino religious and pro-life organizations are locked in a struggle with pro-abortion groups over a legislative initiative to institute a massive regime of population control that would employ abortifacient contraceptives, sterilization, and sex education.

The legislation, called the "Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2007," would create a new agency called the Commission on Population (POPCOM) which would "encourage" families to have only two children, and promote the use of a variety of abortifacient drugs, including the IUD and the pill.

POPCOM would also require all public and private health care providers to provide surgical sterilization, and would institute "mandatory age-appropriate reproductive health education" starting in fifth grade and running through the fourth year of high school. 

The Filipino Catholic bishops have lead the charge against the bill, scheduling a massive national protest for July 25.  According to the Catholic news website AsiaNews, the protest will be held in every city, bringing together priests, nuns, and laity to protest "in defense of life."

The executive director of the Bishops Conference Commission for Family and Life, Fr. Melvin Castro, stated that the bill, if passed, would promote the "laxity of morality" and the "culture of death" in the Philippines.

After a meeting with a group of bishops, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has reportedly assured them of her continuing opposition to artificial contraception.  Arroyo has refused to spend government funds on birth control, and instead teaches Natural Family Planning, a method approved of by the Church which allows couples to avoid pregnancy for serious reasons by abstaining from sexual intercourse during the woman’s period of highest fertility each month. 

However, the legislation is receiving much sympathetic coverage in the Filipino media. In one piece Aries Rufo of the ABS-CBN network complained, "In Congress, bills on reproductive health and population management are perpetually filed but these never get to be debated on the floor. The Church has an effective monitoring system on bills that could potentially go against its Canon and makes no qualm on marshaling legislators to ‘kill’ these bills."

In addition to the July 25 rally, bishop Jesus Dosado of the diocese of Ozamiz has issued a pastoral letter stating that politicians who support abortion are forbidden to receive Holy Communion within the diocese.  His decision has been endorsed by bishop Angel Lagdameo, president of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

Related LifeSiteNews Coverage:

Pro-Abort Politicians "Must" be Refused Communion: Philippines Archbishop

Philippines Bishop Urges Government to Teach Natural Family Planning

"China-Lite" : Two-Child Policy Bills Proposed in Philippines Include Criminal Sanctions

Philippines Scraps Sex Education in Schools After Catholic Opposition

Philippines Uses UN Population Control Money for Natural Family Planning

Thousands Rally in Philippines to Protest Population Control Bill

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