Protect Life. Uphold the Dignity of Families.

Published by rudy Date posted on February 27, 2009

We are alarmed at how the facts on the Reproductive Health (RH) bill have been twisted by the Roman Catholic hierarchy and its allied groups.

We are saddened that the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines have themselves become guilty of political blackmail, influence peddling, and making a mockery of the highest office of the land—the Presidency. The past weeks and up until now, the public continues to witness the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s propagation of massive disinformation against the RH bill, the threats and intimidation targeting pro-RH legislators, and unduly ‘influencing’ the Presidency to toe its line.

We are extremely troubled that the Roman Catholic hierarchy has become deaf and blind to the pleas of ordinary people, Catholics and otherwise.

We would like the debate on RH to center on the TRUTH: on what the bill actually says, the difficulties faced by most Filipinos every day, and the responsibility of government to address people’s needs.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SAVES LIVES. Ten (10) Filipino women die daily due to pregnancy and childbirth-related causes. Three (3) out of four (4) of these women who die are aged 15-19 years old. The big majority of those who die are poor women.

RH aims to save the lives of women by enabling them to prevent unwanted and mistimed pregnancies by giving couples and individuals options. RH ensures that each pregnancy is safe through the needed pre- and post- natal care for women.

The tragic consequences of not having comprehensive RH services including modern methods of contraception available to women are astounding: 2.4 M additional unintended pregnancies in the first year alone if these women remain unprotected; 800,000 additional clandestine abortions from the unintended pregnancies; and an additional 360,000 maternal morbidities and 3,800 maternal deaths.

RH is a pro-life choice, in the truest sense of preventing deaths and suffering.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ADDRESSES THE NEEDS AND WANTS OF FILIPINO FAMILIES. Studies show that large families tend to be poorer and find it more difficult to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Surveys also show that 9 in 10 Filipinos want to be able to control their fertility or plan their families.

While RH is not the ONLY solution to poverty, it only takes common sense to understand that life is more difficult for large families.

Three (3) babies are born per minute, 206 per hour and 4,947 per day, many of them born to poor families as studies say. How can these families break the cycle of poverty? What kind of life awaits these babies? Is it moral to just depend on faith and fate in relation with these babies’ future?

Because of the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s threats to pro-RH legislators and this government’s continuing deference to the Roman Catholic Church, families are denied the right to be informed and to be able to achieve their desired family size. By this, the Roman Catholic hierarchy and government are effectively contributing to the perpetuation of poverty among families in this country.

Therefore, we call on:

OUR LEGISLATORS not to give up and continue to work for the passage of a rights-based and comprehensive national RH policy;

THE CATHOLIC LAITY to claim their right to informed choice, defend the truth by correcting disinformation agains the RH bill, and support its champions in Congress; and

PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO to uphold the Constitutional separation of Church and State by putting a stop to the undue influence of the Roman Catholic hierarchy on the Presidency.


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