Illustration by Matthew Niel J. Hebrona

WHO’S afraid of God?

In a world barnacled by crass materialism, individualism, and hedonism, it cannot be the cabal of Filipino legislators who are again mounting a calculated overthrow of the natural law governing mankind by forcing on the people a contraceptive-prone family planning program ostensibly to control overpopulation.

This in effect, was the message of Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, to some 15, 000 pro-life advocates during a Mass at the UST grandstand. Although the prayer rally was to protest Congress’s efforts to pass a slew of bills that would again legitimize population control, the gathering was also held to mark the 40th anniversary of the late Pope Paul VI’s famous encyclical, Humanae Vitae.

Let there be no mistaking the bills of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, as well as the several local ordinances seeking to implement family planning. Despite their sugarcoated names, they are not pro-women or even mildly “pro-choice.” They are actually population-control measures seeking to control fertility. They are essentially motivated by the greatest hoax of the 20th century: that the world is overpopulated and that high population is anti-growth, anti-progress.

In short, they basically blame the poor for the poverty of the world. The less the poor breed, the better to stem poverty.

Therefore, the bills are not only anti-life since they seek to stop women from pregnancy and giving births through a host of questionable means — birth-control pills, abortifacients like the IUD, and ligation; they are also anti-poor. In short, Lagman’s and Garin’s bills are anti-humanist.

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“Human life is God-given and God-gifted,” Lagdameo said. “Each and every child born is a gift from God given to his parents and to the whole family. The pro-active attitude toward children must not be seen in the light of them being a hinder to economy or a burden to one’s family but in the hope that they are the future’s hope of the nation toward development.”

Paradoxically, the proposed legislations reinforce what the Church and pro-lifers have been saying all along – that the causes of poverty are poor public policy planning and management, the corruption, shortsightedness and incompetence of our leaders. Trying to escape the blame, our leaders crucify the poor for their poverty.

What is also insidious about the bills is their violation of the privacy of couples, their meddling with couples on determining the size of their families.

But Lagman et al say their proposed laws are “pro-choice” in that they leave it to couples to decide whether or not to control their births and by what means. What they don’t say is that their proposed measures are “statist” and even “fascist.” Since their bills seek to make family planning a state program, necessarily state funds would have to be used for fertility control. The poor as always wouldn’t have the choice on how to use funds.

In the history of population control, has there been an instance when the program is liberally interpreted and applied? Look at the experience of the one-child policy in China.

Look at the experience of India where women were ligated without their consent. Look at our own experience during martial law when population control was enshrined in the 1973 Constitution.

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Come to think of it, our martial law experience should belie Lagman et al’s thesis that curbing the population would boost economic growth. We had population control during the long period of military dictatorship but the country’s economy collapsed because of the depredations of the conjugal dictatorship. Ergo, poverty is not caused by “overpopulation” but by corruption and mismanagement.

Now, former health secretary Alfredo Romualdez is calling for “zero” population growth! How did he arrive at such a calculation? His science is as voodoo as the claim of pro-choice and pro-abortion people that there are nearly 500,000 abortions a year in the Philippines so it would be better to legalize abortion.

On both statistical and moral bases, the claim is egregious! But you have to give it to them for sheer gumption. Their claim is as brazen as that of Romualdez, whose clan used to be part of the conjugal dictatorship.

In essence, the letter and spirit of the bills in Congress are but cheap shots to incriminate the poor as glaring specimens of human frailty and recklessness who have failed to restrain their animal lust, thus contributing to population explosion. And the Church allegedly abets such poor behavior by opposing population control!

Considering all the distortion engineered by population extremists and our twisted leaders, it is well to reflect on what Paul VI declares in Humana Vitae:

“No one can, without being grossly unfair, make Divine Providence responsible for what clearly seems to be the result of misguided governmental policies, of an insufficient sense of social justice, of a selfish accumulation of material goods, and finally of a culpable failure to undertake those initiatives and responsibilities which would raise the standard of living of peoples and their children.”

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Responsible parenting, as some legislators mistakenly equate with reproductive health permutations, solely rests on the innate human faculty of self-discipline, the greatest form of human restraint mandated by God and whose faithful observance “confers upon parents a deeper and more effective influence in the education of their children” for inculcating in them the right sense of values toward achieving a “serene and harmonious use of their mental and physical powers.”

Perhaps, the cabal of modern-day Herods, as Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales suggested, should reorient themselves on the moral turpitude and secular pride that sent Lucifer tumbling down the cesspool of perpetual damnation.

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