CEBU ARCHBISHOP Jose Palma is calling on lawmakers to reject the “reproductive health” (RH) bill, warning of dangers behind the measure which is being pushed by foreign-funded lobby groups.

Palma, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said a national policy espousing widespread access to contraception would go against constitutional provisions upholding the sanctity of family life.

“Many of the legislators are aware that both the intention and eventually the consequences of the bill may not necessarily bring the desired common good of the people,” Palma told the Varsitarian in an interview.

The 1987 Constitution states: “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

Palma also said the “contraceptive mentality” espoused by the RH bill would result in an “abortion mentality.”

Critics of the bill point out that countries that had adopted national contraceptive policies eventually legalized access to abortion. Moreover, “reproductive health” is recognized by international bodies as including abortion rights.

Palma noted that the controversial bill is being packaged as a maternal health bill but is actually a population-control measure.

“For the past 17 years, the RH bill has adopted various names, various numbers, but the spirit is the same. It is based on the logic, so they say, that we are a bulging population,” he said.

Existing laws like the Magna Carta of Women already guarantee access to family planning services, he said.

Wikang Filipino sa panahon ng neo-liberalismo

“Many of the provisions of the RH bill are already in some of the policies of the nation so why make this bill into a law?” Palma said. “So much money is being poured in from other countries in terms of support, aid, and assistance. [There is also] corresponding agreement supporting this bill, which of course we know is a project of the United Nations and many other countries in the world.”

“There should be no rush to the RH bill,” he said. “We are aware of the monetary considerations that are actually the very important playing factor in the approval of the bill,” he added. Brylle B. Tabora


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