WITH the introduction of the Reproductive Health Bill 5043, a.k.a. Reproductive Health Bill, in Congress, truth and morality, the value and dignity of life, family and marriage are sadly made to depend on human laws. That is what is implied in the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill presently under discussion in Congress.
It appears that Congress even plans to shorten the discussion in order to have the R.H. Bill passed before the end of October. We hope that the normal process of discussion and interpellation be observed, that the Congressmen who have signified to interpellate on the R.H. Bill be honored and given the opportunity to interpellate. To shorten the period of interpellation would give the impression that the passage of RH Bill is “lutong makaw”, not judiciously and sufficiently discussed.
As Catholics and Christians we are against the passage of the RH Bill 5043 of Congress for reasons we have already enunciated and I now summarize:
1. The Bill dilutes and negates Section III (1) Article XV of the Constitution which provides “The State shall defend the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious conviction and the demands of responsible parenthood.”
2. The Bill seeks to legalize surgical procedures that the Catholic Church has denounced as immoral, except for serious health reasons: tubal ligation, vasectomy and abortion.
3. The Bill requires mandatory reproductive health education from Grade V to Fourth Year High School without consideration of their sensitivity and moral innocence. The moral law and the Constitution recognize the right of parents to be the primary educators of their children.
4. The Bill recommends having two children only per family as the supposedly ideal family size. There is no moral or scientific basis for this recommendation. It puts the State above the family. The natural right of couples to have as many or as few children as possible, pursuant to their understanding of responsible parenthood, is in our view already protected by Section 12, Art. 2 of the Constitution, which recognizes the “sanctity of family life” and protects the life of the mother and of the unborn.
5. The Bill states that those who “maliciously engage in disinformation about the intent of provisions of the bill” shall be punished with imprisonment and/or fine of P10,000 to P50,000. This includes those who will teach contrary to the bill (after it is passed) and speak about its immoral provisions. Such provision is a clear violation of the freedom of speech and of the right to religious conviction. Only totalitarian states have such policies.
We thus reiterate our categorical and unequivocal opposition to any attempt at controlling the exercise of the God-given rights of human persons to enter into married life, procreate and raise families according to the provisions of the Constitution and their religious convictions.
We appreciate and are grateful to the members of the Legislature who seek to understand the will of the Supreme Lawgiver whose laws are beyond our limited human competence to repeal or amend. We recognize and likewise thank the individuals and groups who support our pro-life, pro-women, pro-marriage and pro-family advocacy. We raise in prayer all their efforts for continued guidance and strength from the Lord and Giver of Life.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
+ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
September 16, 2009