New legislation to control the population of the Philippines would establish an “ideal” family size, setting the stage for a proposed two-child policy. It would make government the underwriter of contraception services and impose a national sex education curriculum at fifth grade level. The proposed “Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development, and for Other Purposes” is currently before the House of Representatives where 102 members out of 238 have pledged support.
Around 80 per cent of Filipinos are Catholics and the bill faces staunch opposition from the Catholic Church as well as at least 75 lawmakers. But the Church is up against a network of “reproductive health” organisations backed by International Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Population Fund, which collectively represent the proposed law as a necessary curb on population growth and as a way out of poverty for families and the nation.
The Catholic bishops are insisting that contraception is not only immoral in itself but also can be abortifacient. Various bishops have called the bill “anti-life” and one has said he would not give Communion to politicians who vote for it. Another points out that contraceptives are not only immoral but “ruin health”. A Washington-based group, the Filipino Family Fund, is running a petition online to collect a million signatures against the bill.
The legislation foresees stiff penalties for those who do not comply with the reproductive health agenda. Freedom of speech could be at stake since, according to the bill, these penalties could apply to any person “who maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent or provisions of this act”. ~ GMA News, Sep 23; Zenit, Sep 21