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Railroading a Deadly Agenda May 26, 2008

Posted by Maddog in Politics and Law, Prolife Issues, Religion and Social Issues.
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Imagine a doctor or health worker being sentenced to a prison term simply because he or she refused to prescribe — or refer someone who would prescribe — an abortifacient “contraceptive”. Imagine being fined and jailed for staying true to your pro-life convictions. Could that ever happen in the Philippines?

Well it just might if the latest “reproductive health” bill is passed in the Philippine Congress!

(Image on the right is by Matthew Bowden)

The bill, known as the “Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2007”, has a number of highly objectionable provisions. Here are just a few of them:

  • Section 9 (Hospital-Based Family Planning) (Note: this section of this post has been updated) specifically subsidizes the use of IUDs (insertion of the device is performed in a hospital). The IUD, however, is NOT just a contraceptive. It is also an ABORTIFACIENT. The IUD does not only prevent ovulation. Rather, it also works by affecting the uterine wall so that it prevents a fertilized ovum — which is already a human being — from implanting. The Philippine Constitution specifically protects human life from the moment of conception. The IUD clearly violates that principle.
  • Section 16 (Ideal Family Size) defines the “ideal family size” as having two children. This idea has no scientific basis whatsoever and further perpetuates the myth of “overpopulation”, which has been discredited around the world. Poverty in the Philippines is NOT caused by overpopulation, but by massive government corruption and economic mismanagement. This so-called “ideal” number of children is also below replacement level, which is 2.1. Should this be be widely practiced, the Philippines will soon be faced with the prospect of population stagnation and population ageing. There are no economic structures or even agreed-upon solutions to counteract the grave negative economic effects of such a situation in the Philippines.
  • Section 21 (Prohibited Acts), number 5 mandates that any health care provider who refuses to dispense certain services or information based on religious grounds (for example, a Catholic health worker who will not dispense IUDs or other abortifacients like the birth control pill), is still forced to recommend a “patient” to someone who will perform the objectionable deed! To make such a referral, however, still makes the conscientious objector an accomplice in the objectionable act. Those who refuse to make such a referral are threatened with 1-6 months imprisonment and a fine of P10,000-50,000. This provision is therefore highly coercive and tramples upon religious freedom.

Ramming Through Congress

The bill, with its deadly and coercive agenda, is currently being RAILROADED through the Philippine Congress in a highly irregular manner. This is detailed in a report (shown below this post) from the Bishops-Legislators Caucus on the status of this and other similar bills in the Philippine legislature. Take note that the consolidated reproductive health bill passed the Health Committee of the Lower House in just two minutes, without any debate or discussion! There was no technical working group formed to make the substitute bill, which is in violation of a Constitutional requirement. Something smells rotten in Congress!

This situation has all the elements of a deadly, tragic farce: a bill that is coercive, has no scientific basis, and violates the Constitution is being rammed down our throats without the people in general even knowing aboiut it. Talk about being shafted!

What are we going to do about it?

Link to text of Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2007
(http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgdp8vjs_4t9kmvwgr)


Letter from BLCP:

Dear Everyone in the Lord’s Vineyard,

We need your help and this is absolutely urgent. We just covered the hearings these last two weeks on reproductive health/services and population control bills in Congress. Below is a status report on the bills.

There is every reason to believe that this time, if not blocked through immediate appeals from our Lay Leaders and Workers, Cardinals and Arch/Bishops to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to stop her allies in Congress, Speaker Nograles and the legislators in the Upper and Lower Houses of Congress from your respective Arch/Dioceses to block and withdraw their support for the bills, they will pass sooner than we can ever imagine. We, from the side of the Catholic Church, have nothing to match the vast resources of the proponents of the deadly bills but we strongly believe in the power of prayer and in the moral influence of our Lay Leaders and Pastors to enlighten the minds of our Legislators and our Political Leaders.

The consolidated reproductive health bill, which was approved and passed in the Lower House Health Committee in two minutes after it was presented, without any decent discussion or appearance of meeting requirements of legislative processes, is expected to proceed to plenary and may be passed within the next two weeks or so. The target is next week and thereafter. The same is being done with the bill on the Magna Carta for Women which has incorporated strong reproductive health provisions.

The legislators in the lower house are inclined to do away with lengthy processes to rush the passage of the controversial and unacceptable bills. We need your help! Please appeal to your legislators to stop these bills in Congress. The report below is self explanatory. I have also attached the Committee on Health approved consolidated bill for your study. There is no doubt that these bills if enacted into law will bring irreparable damage to our already morally and spiritually threatened and challenged Catholic nation.

May we also ask your praying communities to offer prayers and sacrifices for our intentions.

Thank you, Everyone, for your kind and immediate attention to this urgent appeal.

With great esteem,

MA. FENNY C. TATAD
Executive Director
Bishops-Legislators Caucus


Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines Report:

GMA GOVERNMENT AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES LEGISLATORS PUSH AGENDA OF ABORTION-DEFINED REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH WITH GREAT SPEED

The various departments of the Arroyo Government unitedly pushed for the approval of the various reproductive health and services bills which are now moving with great speed in the House of Representatives. Spokespersons for the Departments of Health, Labor, Education, Interior and Local Governments, Social Welfare and Development, the National Commission on Filipino Women, the Population Commission, Commission on Higher Education, and other offices under the Executive Department expressed full support for the passage of reproductive health bills presented during the joint hearings of the Committee on Health chaired by Congressman Arthur Pingoy, and the Committee on Population and Family Relations chaired by Congressman Reynaldo Uy on April 29, 2008.

Despite a clarification from Popcom Executive Director Tomas Osias that reproductive health and services language globally includes abortion as defined by the United Nations, and agreed to by the Philippine government in various ECOSOC United Nations conferences without any objection on the definitions, the joint committees proceeded to approve a substitute bill consolidating all reproductive health bills during its supposedly scheduled second hearing on May 21, 2008 without any discussions on a newly crafted bill, which was viewed by many as a highly irregular process. No technical working group was formed to craft the substitute bill which is a Constitutional requirement of the legislative process that must include the participation of affected sectors like families and family associations and non-government institutions like the CBCP.

Provisions of the substitute bill include full funding for ligation and vasectomy and other family planning methods considered as anti-life and anti-family by the Catholic Church. These methods are to be part of PhilHealth benefits and fully subsidized by the same for indigent patients and identified sectors. Hormonal contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and injectables which have been identified as cancer-causing and hazardous to women’s health by the World Health Organization are proposed as essential medicines and must be part of the regular purchase for supplies which will be provided by national and local hospitals. These birth control methods are also proposed to be delivered by Mobile Health Care Service vans in all Congressional Districts which will be paid for largely by Catholic taxpayers.

Private sector will be compelled, as proposed by this bill, to provide free delivery of ethically and morally questionable family planning methods and services. Collective Bargaining Agreements between employers and employees are required to include birth control and other services in their agreements.

Though not “mandatory and obligatory,” the bill proposes a 2-child policy. This and all the above-mentioned proposals are considered gross violations of the pro-family provisions of the Constitution and the universal right to health of citizens. Public funds coming from Catholic taxpayers will fund these programs which is oppressive and in violation of their universal right to religious freedom and the freedom to live their faith in an environment that is free of coercion and harassment. Violations applying to government and private sectors, according to this bill, are subject to imprisonment and fines.

The bill also proposes the increase of government personnel to service the requirements of the proposed legislation. In all these, the Catholic taxpaying faithful will be made to fund programs and projects contrary to their moral and religious convictions and the teachings of their Faith.

House of Representatives reproductive health advocates are determined to push the deliberations in the plenary hall and approval of the bill from beginning next week, May 26 until before the Sessions end mid June, 2008.

Among those from pro-life groups present during the House of Representatives hearings, were Jo Imbong of CBCP, Marita Wasan of Pro-Life, Agoy Descallar of Buhay Partylist, Neng Ranada, Ligaya Acosta of HLI, Mariel Lopez and Fenny Tatad.

MA. FENNY CANTERO TATAD
Executive-Director, BLCP


Resources:

Link to text of Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2007
(http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgdp8vjs_4t9kmvwgr)

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