Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Bill to Beat

Two bills on population control and reproductive health are making headlines in the news, I just thought I should post the text of the bills (apparently pretty hard to find) for us to review. There are many different opinions being thrown around in cyberspace, I'd welcome yours as well. I will also post the files in the Archived Documents section.

The first is the "Reproductive Health,Responsible Parenthood and Population Development Act of 2007" or HB16 (it appears as HB00016 or HB00017 in different websites), authored by Rep. Edcel Lagman. He delves into it in the Inquirer HERE, with a dissenting opinion HERE.

Click HERE to download the text of the bill.

The second is authored by lady solon Janette Garin entitled "Reproductive Health Care Act" or HB812 (HB00812), which "...establishes the Reproductive Health Care Program that recognizes women's rights and gender equality and ensures universal access to reproductive health information, education and services. Comprehensive health care includes measures that promote safe motherhood, care for persons with HIV/AIDS and other STIs, infertility treatment, and male involvement in reproductive health."

Click HERE to download the text of the bill.

THIS version is more readable (and text searchable), but I'm not sure if it's the updated one, since it was last edited in August 2007, I found it as a .doc HERE.

I'm posting these in case any of you wanted to do any more research into this. Here are examples of different opinions on the matter:

First, the CBCP is already waging an active campaign against the bills, which have already won a spot on the Anti-Family Watch List of the ALFI.


The Warrior Lawyer gives his take, and opines against the church's continued opposition to these bills, saying, "...
there is none so blind as those who refuse to see."

Have a good weekend my friends.


WillyJ said...

That "warrior laywer" obviously has not heard of natural law, which is the most important law in the universe. There is also a saying that there is none so deaf as those who refuse to hear. His article is entitled "Debate on Abortion, Humanae Vitae and the Reproductive Health Care Act Continues", yet he sidesteps the basic debate points on the matter and puts up a smokescreen as he chose to expound at length on matters which should have no
bearing on an intelligent public debate on abortion and the Reproductive Health bill. If you
read his blog post, he deals at length with cheap shots as well as casts aspersions on Humanae Vitae rather than debating its salient points. If that is the way a lawyer is supposed to analyze issues and debate points, I wonder what "merits of the case" mean to this poor guy who calls himself a lawyer. I seriously doubt he even read Humanae Vitae, so that when
he speaks of "the blind that refuse to see", we can be pretty sure he did not see himself
right there up front.

Now there is a very good primer on the salient points written by Fr. Gregory D. Gaston which was forwarded to me by DC of CFC ProLife Min North B. (A hat tip to you bro). Fr. Gaston is a priest in the Archdiocese of Manila and served as an Official of the Pontifical Council for the Family of the Vatican from 2002 to 2007. I must say this is the right way to intelligently debate the salient issues point by point. If the "warrior lawyer" or any one of those bill sponsors are up to task, then let them square-off with these points raised, one by one. Fr. Gaston's well-written primer can be downloaded

Dante said...

Salamat Kapatid na WillyJ at maido-download ng mga nagbabasa nito ang excellent treatise ni Fr. Gaston on the fallacies of population control. Although narinig ko na itong explanation ni Fr. Gaston sa isang forum many yars ago ay nararapat pa uli na mabasa ng lahat ito. Ciguro gawing "must reading" para sa atin sa CFC sa mga household kung totohanin natin ang pagiging Pro-life. Otherwise, kapag hindi natin inintindi at pinalaganap eh parang puro "lip service" at "sloganism" lang tayo.

Thanks WillyJ for sharing this with us.

Anonymous said...

CD, I am still trying to consider whether or not the "Bill to Beat" thread is off topic as far as defending the original CFC against the evil of and in FAP and FFL is concerned. Yet, I will already honour and vocalize praises for Brother Willy for coming up quickly to the ramparts with his solid rejoinder.

There is a saying that runs like: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend..."

I know this is a favorite topic of FAP, in fact, the same one he uses to cling on to his claim to CFC - that is, he acts as some kind of a night in shining armor coming to the loyal defense of the Catholic faith by his polemics against the promoters of bills for reproductive health, of course to the delight of the hierarchy! But then, there is something kind of iiifffy there, really!

Objectively, though, I welcome any discussion along the line of 'humanae viate' by Pope Paul VI, because I see the same as open-ended, or may I say it is so? Is it already an infallible doctrine, Brother Willy? Kindly do the enlightenment here.

I understand the pope's 'opinion' was the minority in a caucus involving all those in high position in the hierarchy. As pope and by his own perception and prayer, His Holiness Paul VI, prevailed upon them to say no to contraceptives. Were his pronouncements on the moral issues about contraceptives made ex-cathedra?

And by the way, being aware that many others in the hierarchy were not opposed to the issues about contraceptives prior to the issuance of 'Humanae Vitae', what difference will it make if a 'warior-lawyer' were to make his own opus about reproductive health? Aw, sorry, wrong question. I think nobody really prevented that lawyer from expressing his opinion. It is what he said that matters...just like saying, yes you are entitled to your own opinion, but then, your opinion is subject to change!

Well, CD, to make this thread really relevant, kindly be clear which side of the reproductive health isssue is Congressman Bro. Manny Villar in, and what have been his manifestations? What have been FP and FFL's positions?

Thank you.

WillyJ said...

Thank you brother Dante.
Anonymous (thanks too) and all,

We have only one enemy in our spiritual battle although this enemy takes on many forms.

On Humanae Vitae and its infallibility.

According to Catholic theology, a teaching of the "ordinary and universal magisterium" is also considered infallible if it is taught by all bishops dispersed throughout the world, as long as they all teach it in a definitive and authoritative manner - "in unity among themselves and with Peter's successor" (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium # 25).

The Church's teaching against contraception provides a case in point. Throughout the whole history of the Church, it has been been clear and constant in its position on contraception. In fact, all Christian churches were united in their opposition to contraception until as recently as the early decades of the 20th century. It was not until 1930 that the Anglican Church went on record as saying that contraception was permissible, for grave reasons, within marriage. It was also at this time that Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Casti Connubii, in which he reiterated what has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church: Contraception is intrinsically wrong.

The first clamoring for change appeared in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the widespread availability of the birth control pill. Some Catholic theologians began to think that the pill might be a legitimate form of birth control for Catholics because, unlike other kinds of birth control, it did not break the integrity of the sexual act. Amidst such controversy, the landmark encyclical Humane Vitae was released by Pope Paul VI in 1968. It clearly defined the intrinsic evil of contraception and even provided prophetic views that has since materialized. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II affirms Humane Vitae with "Evangelium Vitae" and "Theology of the Body". On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Pope Benedict XVI states: "The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does not change. Quite the contrary, in the light of new scientific discoveries, its teaching becomes more relevant and stimulates reflection on the intrinsic values it possesses."

Humane Vitae was not pronounced ex-cathedra, there was no need as the teaching contained in Humane Vitae has been constant and unchanging throughout the history of the Church. Due to this, it is infallible and thus, irreformable. People may have contrary opinions, but they remain just that - opinions. Truth never changes. It may be difficult to follow, but that is really the way with much of our faith --- forgive 70 x 7 times; turn the other cheek; love one another. It is only with God's grace that we do not find our faith difficult to accept and follow, and then it becomes a joyful way of life - and we become at peace.

Here is a good article which discusses the matter better at length. It also places the dissent generated by Humanae Vitae in its proper perspective. It is written by Janet Smith, a Professor of Moral Theology and who has written extensively on church teachings on morality, in particular on the evils of contraception and abortion.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Brother Willy.

About the possibility of coming to a fraternity with the other Church defenders against the promoters of the reproductive health bills, I hope we will have wizened up to the ways of FAP and FFL, and that that this blog will act like the proverbial 'court jester' to regularly remind CFC from being gullible. I may be wrong, but I believe there were some in the hierarchy who were easily kept safely in the 'pockets' of FAP while he bashed and spited CFC for so-called 'veering away', because of their - clerics and CFC - gullibility, too.

Just trying to be cautious this time around. God Bless.

solidyfc said...

Titos and Titas, this may be out of the topic, pero if u mind taking a look

especoally tito cd :)

Anonymous said...

Reading through these pieces I find myself alarmed, challenged and fascinated all at the same time. This is such a multi-faceted issue that it is a challenge in itself just to sort out the many aspects of it.

Taking issue with HB16 and HB812 is definitely part of defending the real CFC. These bills, if they become part of the law of the land, limit spiritual growth while giving the appearance of enhancing personal freedom. It attacks the very core of what CFC is. It attacks the institutions we have committed to defending - the Church and the Family. We should do more than just discuss this. We have to find ways to oppose it.

I believe we should take this stand but not out of blind adherence. We should not do it thinking that because the Church opposes it I therefore should oppose it. I believe each of us must become conversant with the issue, understand what the Church is teaching and become witnesses to its truth. Why? 1 Peter 3:15 says ‘But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

Having said that, I admit that I cannot confirm nor deny the many economic, demographic and medical arguments being published. But what alarms, challenges and fascinates me is if we look at the issue from perspective of christian and social values. Here's my view on this. Please feel free to agree, disagree, refute or add to this. If not anything else, the discussion will serve to increase our understanding one way or the other.

Social and Christian values are based on internalized beliefs and determine the attitudes we will have on any given thing. As Christians in CFC we, for instance, believe in the sanctity of the human life. As a result we place a high value on it which in turn determines our attitude towards human life. We do not want to put it in danger, we cherish it, we respect it. While there are Christians who do not kill because of their fear of violating God's commandment, we in CFC do not kill not because of fear but out of love for what God has bestowed on each person.

These values are not easy and can take a long time to learn. Hemingway once described it by saying "There are certain things that are not learned quickly and time, which is all we have, must be spent heavily for their acquiring. They are the simplest things and because it takes a man's life to know them, the little 'new' that each man gets from life is very costly and is the only heritage he leaves behind."

Yet these values are the foundations upon which nations are built. They are the stuff that dreams are made of. They are the things that sustain us when times get rough and they provide our lives meaning. Through them we experience God's grace and in them we find our own worth.

These are things like courage, faithfullness, loyalty, respect for human life, honesty, kindness, forebearance, steadfastness, helpfulness and generosity. If you remember your boy scout days then you remember memorizing that a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, obedient, cheerful,...brave, clean and reverent. As CFC add worshipful, loving, responsible, joyful and Christ-like.

Now let me ask: What values does a person who uses contraceptives have? How does such a person look at sex? Do you think he/she would associate sex with an attendant responsibility? What attitude would he/she have regarding sex? If the drug being used causes abortion, how does that person value human life?

Wouldn't these house bills place every person in a position where he can easily lose his respect for human life?

Humanae Vitae, in its strictness, urges us to cultivate a high regard for human life. It urges us to develop a high regard for sex. It teaches that God has ordained a purpose to our natural drives and that there is meaning in the sexual act.

Would these house bills enhance these values or degrade them? And if we are to lose these values what have we become? Would our spiritual life grow? Or wouldn't we have, in fact, lost something and therefore somehow diminished or made incomplete?

Isn't the responsibility to make personal moral choices part of our freedom as citizens? Don't these bills take that responsibility away and hence, lessen our freedom?

I think you know where I stand.

In the early 80's Ken Keyes wrote a book called The Hundredth Monkey. The story is told about a group of scientists who studied a group of macaque monkeys in an island off Japan. They would put sweet potatoes on the beach and they observed that a few monkeys washed the potatoes before eating them. Soon the other monkeys in the group also started washing the potatoes. This behaviour started to spread in the group until it reached a critical mass - the hundredth monkey. After that the scientists observed the behaviour being displayed by monkeys on islands hundreds of miles away. No one knew how the behaviour was transferred.

Malcolm Gladwell describes almost a similar story about how Hush Puppies made a comeback. It started when one person started to wear his old Hush Puppies in New York. The behaviour spread and rescued Hush Puppies from certain bankruptcy. Mr. Gladwell called his book The Tipping Point.

The thinking is that, once enough people, a critical mass, think the same thoughts, change starts to manifest all over. And as we think, we are.

We subscribe to the belief of one Sonship. We are all one. If enough of us would cultivate the belief that these bills would not pass, if we reach critical mass, we would reach that tipping point and the change manifests.

But the key is we really have to believe it. It must become a part of us. That means we don't treat it as something external to us that we oppose. In our minds and in our hearts we must have that heartfelt conviction that these bills will not pass and that our Church, our CFC will triumph.

Let us try praying this way - with intense conviction. Let every household do it. Some of us already started last Sunday. Joni did. There's close to a million of us all over the world. Do you think we can reach our hundredth monkey on time?

- TE

WillyJ said...

What values does a person who uses contraceptives have? How does such a person look at sex? Do you think he/she would associate sex with an attendant responsibility? What attitude would he/she have regarding sex? If the drug being used causes abortion, how does that person value human life? - TE

Humanae Vitae is not only a clarifying document, it has also been called a prophetic document. The prophecies contained in Humane Vitae do well in answering these questions.

First Prophecy. The Pope noted that the widespread use of contraception would "lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality." That there has been a widespread decline in morality, especially sexual morality, in the last twenty years is very difficult to deny. The increase in the number of divorces, abortions, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and venereal diseases should quickly serve to convince any skeptic that sexual morality is not the strong suit of our age.

Second Prophecy. Pope Paul VI also feared that the man who grew accustomed to the use of contraceptive practices might ultimately lose "respect for the woman," and "no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium" might come to consider her as an "instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion." ... By treating their bodies as mechanical instruments to be manipulated for their own purposes, they risk treating each other as objects of pleasure. ..Today in the United States, where almost half of all marriages end in divorce, couples who use NFP experience an almost negligible divorce rate. And there is much evidence that couples using NFP communicate better and experience stronger bonds with each other. Contraception, then, rather than being a source of happiness in a marriage, may be assisting in the breakdown of marriages.

Third Prophecy. Pope Paul VI also observed that the widespread acceptance of contraception would place a "dangerous weapon... in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies." The history of family planning programs in Third World nations is a sobering testimony to this reality. In these countries many undergo sterilization unaware of what is being done to them. The forced abortion program of China shows the stark extreme to which governments can take population control programs.And few are willing to face the increasingly commanding evidence and argumentation that people in many parts of the world now face not a problem of overpopulation but a problem of underpopulation.11 Countries such as France and West Germany have tried without much success to adopt legislation that will make child-bearing more attractive to their citizenry."

Fourth Prophecy. The final warning Pope Paul VI gave about contraception is that it would lead men and women to think that they had limitless dominion over their own bodies and functions. Although he did not elaborate, his worry now seems well-grounded. For instance, sterilization is now the most widely used form of contraception in the United States; in the quest for control over their own bodies individuals do not hesitate to alter permanently the very make-up of their bodies. Undoubtedly, we have not begun to realize the long-term physical and psychological ramifications of widespread sterilization. We are tampering unthinkingly with
one of the chief sources of human happiness: the ability to have children.


In Humanae Vitae Pope Paul VI also pointed to the good that would come from abiding by the Church's teaching on contraception. He acknowledged that spouses may have difficulty in acquiring the self-discipline or self-mastery needed to practice methods of family planning requiring periodic abstinence. But he believed this
was possible, especially with the help of sacramental grace. In section 21, he remarked that

this discipline which is proper to the purity of married couples, far from harming conjugal love, rather confers on it a higher human value. It demands continual
effort yet, thanks to its beneficent influence, husband and wife fully develop their
personalities, being enriched with spiritual values. Such discipline bestows upon family life fruits of serenity and peace, and facilitates the solution of other problems; it favors attention for one's partner, helps both parties to drive out
selfishness, the enemy of true love; and deepens their sense of responsibility. By its means, parents acquire the capacity of having a deeper and more efficacious influence in the education of their offspring; little children and youths grow up
with a just appraisal of human values, and in the serene and harmonious development of their spiritual and sensitive faculties.

"Isn't the responsibility to make personal moral choices part of our freedom as citizens? Don't these bills take that responsibility away and hence, lessen our freedom?" - TE

You bet. Both versions of the bill contain penalty clauses, to wit:

Penalties. - Any violation of this Act shall be penalized by imprisonment ranging from one (1) month to six (6) months or a fine of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00) or both such fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the proper court...

Once the bill is passed, and a conscientious individual refuses to cooperate in word and deed, a range of penalties is meted out. So, while the language is "choice", there is blatant coercion. Note likewise that both versions impose mandatory sex education starting Grade 5. As a Catholic parent, it is my foremost right and duty to educate my children on the proper values. Thus I would teach them the
unitive and procreative nature of sex only in the context of a Christ-centered marriage. The bill would take away that right from me, and ram their version of "sex education" down my children's throats, under pain of fine and imprisonment. Now if my children's values go awry and their future suffers because of this misdirected education, would the state shoulder the grave consequences? Who takes responsibility for that?

Note that Pope Benedict XVI drew up three NON-NEGOTIABLES in the public arena in his address to the European People's party:

- protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

- recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

- the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

"These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church's action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have..."

Brothers & sisters, there can never be a compromise on the House Bills. It is non-negotiable, pure and simple. Let us fight this evil that will curse the future of our children's children. Hand in hand, let us reach out to gain that critical mass that TE refers to.

And above all, we pray.

Balut said...

I believe that when it comes to being truly Pro-Life, we are abundantly blessed in God's gift to CFC - that is, Gawad Kalinga.

In a country where the rich have a fertility rate of 2.0 while the poor have a fertility rate of 5.9, our work to uplift the poor undergirds and dignifies our Pro-Life work.

We cannot be a wealthy group that stands back and preaches at the poor - the poor deserve better, and so do we rich. Something seems unbalanced if we attempt to separate our Pro-Life from loving the poor.

I praise God for entrusting us with the gift of Gawad Kalinga.

Anonymous said...

CD, Thank you very much for posting this issue here at the blogsite.

I also thank willyj, TE, Dante, Balut and the rest who give time and effort regarding this issue.

Pro-life was made Pillar, coz its CFC way of life, just like Family Min, SocMin, GK & the others.

I just want to share this latest post from Philstar.

Life and death!
AT 3 A.M. By James B. Reuter
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Our legislature keeps promoting the passage of a Birth Control Bill, advocating abortion for population control. Catholic men and women are up in arms against it because it puts on the chopping block two fundamental rights - the dignity of women and the sanctity of life.

The promoters pretend that they want to keep abortion illegal, but the bill provides for the termination of unwanted pregnancies. This is abortion, which is murder. They take the position that the fetus is not a person, until some time after birth. But life begins — the person begins — when the male sperm unites with the feminine ovulum.

The Bill contradicts our Constitution; it violates the whole nature of the Filipina; and it is disobedience to God, who told us in thunder and lightning on the mountain top: “Thou shalt not kill!”

Minyong Ordoñez, the retired chairman of the Paris-based Publicis Communications Group, wrote a strong article on this. Among other things, he said:

“The title of the Bill is: ‘Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008'. . . . . . How can health result when killing is an integral part of the birth control plan? How can development happen when the scheme provides for the extermination of the child in the womb?

“The educational campaign is directed to ‘the woman with unwanted pregnancy’. The real villains here are heartless rapists, brutish abusers, happy-go-lucky fornicators, jilting boy friends, two-timing husbands, slippery lotharios, predatory DOM’s and other perverts.

“Let congressmen ask their grandmothers, mothers, sisters and daughters if their natural instinct is to commit aborticide because pregnancy is hazardous, money is short and raising their children is difficult. If the answer is yes, there goes the honorable congressman, a rotting fetus cadaver in a garbage pile. If the answer is no, there goes a congressman going great guns and aspiring to be the next Speaker of the House.

“The Bill is a slur on authentic feminism. Consider the Filipina.

Her spiritual, intellectual and physical make-up opposes the rejection of a baby in her womb. Consider her maternal instincts: to breastfeed, to hug, to cradle, to change diapers, to bathe, to sing a lullaby.

“Consider her miraculous milk. A mother’s womb is an organ for nurturing life, not a vehicle for death.

“The Bill attacks our Christian culture. For centuries Catholicism nurtured a culture of respect, admiration, honor and love for the Filipina. This lofty position of women has roots going back to Sacred Scripture, when God chose a humble peasant girl, Virgin Mary of Nazareth, to be the mother of Jesus Christ. Mary is God’s ultimate honor to feminism.

“Our regard for womanhood is holistic - body and soul, mind and heart, mystery and reality, mortality on earth, immortality in the afterlife. She is worth all the blessings and commitments only the sacrament of matrimony can give, on the day when she’s the most beautiful bride in the world.

“Motherhood is her crowning glory. It means love, care, sacrifice, bliss, peace and joy directed to others, especially children. Even the greatest painters of the Renaissance marvel at this unselfish love. Botticelli, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael painted awe inspiring mother and child Madonnas.

“Procreation is a miracle and a mystery in which a mother, in aunitive act with her husband and God, bring life into the world. Filipino parents instinctively call their children gifts from God.

“With confidence and courage, Pope Paul VI in 1968 promulgated the encyclical on the transmission of life, condemning abortion. In spite of contrary opinions inside and outside the Vatican circles, he swam against the current of practical materialism. He chose the biblical and truth-based route.

“In the Birth Control Bill the devil is in the details. In Humanae Vitae God is in the details. Fidelity to the Church is fidelity to Christ Our Lord. For Catholics, the bottom line is obedience - a difficult thing to do for those who disagree with the supreme pontiff and Vicar of Christ on earth. Without humility, obedience is impossible.

“If we want to serve God, we can not be arrogant. We simply can not play God. . . . Only God, the author and creator of life, has the right to call us home, to him.

“The pill entered the scene in the Sixties. It turned out to be a mother of evil, whose multiplier effects were the increase in numbers of divorced mothers, teen suicides, child abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and drug addiction.

“Our late and beloved Pope John Paul II called the Pill’s domino effect a ‘Culture of death!’ “

These are the thoughts of a layman, an international journalist, a husband, a father, a Filipino. He feels that the Birth Control Bill is an insult to the Filipina, and a deliberate foreign attack on our beautiful, ancient, Christian culture. We respect our women, and we love our children!
* * *

Mang Pilo

Anonymous said...

I was reminded of this picture again when I read the post here at the blog.

Bro. Balut, Yes I definitely agree with you, that we cant separate Prolife from loving the poor. Unfortunately fertility rate in the GK sites were also diminishing and sadly they are the most affected since they are the targets of different programs specifically contraception.

We need more warm bodies in GK and that includes prolife work.


Mang Pilo

Anonymous said...

Peace and Guidance to ALL.

Reproductive Health Bill to ruin people’s health, warns Archbishop Cruz
MANILA, September 11, 2008—The controversial Reproductive Health Bill 5043 will ruin the health of the people, said Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz.

“The bill will lead to the implementation of an immoral policy—a proposed synthetic artificial contraceptives eventually designed to ruin health as it slants the idea of responsible parenthood to issues of depopulation, which proponents claim will result to progress among underdeveloped countries like ours,” he said in his blog

The lawmakers are to start the plenary debates next week with Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, the bill’s principal author and sponsor supported by others.

“The multi-national companies manufacturing contraceptive drugs and devices must be looking forward to the passage of the bill. This is apparently because such approval will see for themselves a brisk sale of their products, a joyful raking in of profits,” said Cruz, a professor of Canon Law said.

It is rather hard to ascertain that big corporations really consider the welfare of the poor. “Neither are they really motivated by their desire to promote national development, nor are they fundamentally concerned with the health of people. Instead, it is ‘business as usual’ which at times can be gross and cruel,” he said.

The bill is immoral, he stressed saying, “No human act, no legislative bill, no executive function, no judicial work is over and above morality. Morality is neither irrelevant in politics, not indifferent in a secular society. Irrespective of the race, color and creed of those concerned, the moment individuals fool around with private morals, the moment the government disregard public morals, then the families and country are in big trouble respectively. This is the standing lesson of history.”

The bill promotes use of contraceptives that are contrary to Catholic Church’s teaching. Church authorities across the nation are spearheading advocacy movement against the passage of the bill. According to them, the bill that allows contraceptives will necessarily entails abortion.

“Contraception and abortion are intimate partners to the extent of being twins at times—notwithstanding all convictions, pretensions and arguments to the contrary,” Cruz warned.

“What is the use of mandating a contraception bill when abortion is already prevalent? Can the pro-contraception bill actually eradicate abortion?” he asked.

He said that it is a matter of bemoaned fact abortions in the country come in hideous form. “This is why fetuses are disturbingly found here and there, some of them shamefully thrown at garbage dumps or simply left behind in different unlikely places.”

The bill entitled, “An Act providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development, and for other Purposes,” is intrinsically harmful to life, family and society, Cruz said earlier.

The bill that claims to control population is a myth, the prelate said. “But no matter how ‘safe’ or ‘protective’ artificial contraceptive drugs and devises are advertised, every thing is altogether false nor reasonable,” Cruz stressed.

The Church also plans to gather a million signatures against the reproductive health bill and present them to Congress. (Santosh Digal)

Mang Pilo

Anonymous said...

Peace and Guidance to ALL!!!!

Fight vs reproductive health bill will go on, says CBCP official
MANILA, September 10, 2008─Episcopal Commission on Family and Life Executive Secretary, Fr. Melvin Castro said the ongoing tussle between Church and lawmakers on the issue of reproductive health bill is a “protracted one and may take some time.”

Speaking at the jointly organized forum of CBCPNews/Catholic Media Network Tuesday morning, Castro said the coming events that will unfold in the “battle” against Reproductive Health bill is worth watching.

“We are taking the word of the bill’s principal authors they could muster enough support and that remains to be seen,’ the soft-spoken executive director said.

He said the Catholic Church launched its own signature campaign during the 40th anniversary of Humane Vitae to show the general public’s rejection of the controversial bill but its proponents also launched their own campaign to show a significant number of adherents.

Castro said the bishops have continued to talk to their lawmakers and have explained the Catholic Church’s position to them.

He expressed surprise that the bill’s authors still continue to ask for more funds to curb their perceived population growth rate “when in fact a top government population expert admitted in a congressional hearing that the country’s population growth rate has gone down several years ago.”

Castro said if lawmakers are not convinced by the bishops to reject the reproductive health bill they have only to look at other Catholic countries where abortion became part of the country’s laws.

“This [RH bill] would only show the weakening of the Catholic faith among Catholics in the Philippines because we will no longer be that faithful,” he said.

Castro noted that the on-going discussions on the Reproductive Health bill have resulted into the reawakening of the Catholic faithful in the practice of their faith.

He said developed countries in Europe have turned away from God because living conditions have improved.

‘My dream is for the Philippines to become a rich country yet remain God-fearing because poverty is an economic issue and population is a demographic concern,” he concluded. (Melo Acuna)

Mang Pilo

Anonymous said...

Please include in your prayers our lawmakers specially congressmen/congresswomen in your district who are supporting the RH Bill (HB 5430) that the Spirit of light will enlighten their hearts and mind to withdraw their support on the said bill. As of last week, 70 lawmakers more or less are against the anti-life bill, we need at least 120+ for the bill not to pass as a law.

FYI, today is the start of the plenary debate. Again, the anti-lifers as their strategy are deceiving us, schedule of the debate and hearing are only known on the actual date, GOD is so Good that we have pro-lifers to inform us about this.

Again we need your prayers and initiative specially those have connections on their congressmen/women.

GK, Pro-life is a way of Life.

for CFC is a way of Life.

Mang Pilo

WillyJ said...

Mang Pilo,
Thanks for the heads up. Personally, I think one serious weakness of the bill is in its constitutional infirmity. The free exercise of religion is guaranteed by the constitution, whereas the bill is coercive in its mandatory and penalty clauses. Lets see.

WillyJ said...

The fireworks has started...

Debate on RH bill turns nasty

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Anonymous said...

Peace and Guidance to All!!!

Please sign up for us to BEAT THE BILL.

Thank you very much.

I Hope this will be posted.

Mang Pilo

Anonymous said...

Peace & Guidance to ALL!

For the past few weeks and up to now, RH Bill are in the limelight. But sad to say many of our brethren do not even care, good thing that the CFC center published in Inquirer last week our position regarding the Bill. As expected those anti-lifers gave negative comments. But we have also pro-lifers that will surely give their views and defend our views. Just like this one, please read on. Hope this will be posted......

Opinion (Philstar website)
Harmful and illegal bill
Monday, September 29, 2008

The main purpose of any legislation is to promote order and prevent controversy. Hence clarity and consistency should be its main characteristics. Unfortunately these are not found in the proposed House Bill 5043 or the RH Bill.

Even before its passage, the bill is already mired in highly contentious debates. And this is simply because the statements and declarations of its authors and supporters do not seem to reconcile with its contents and real intent.

Actually the true intent of the bill can be found in the very words of its various provisions. Sometimes however some words are vague and variedly interpreted or do not really reflect what their authors have in mind or what they are telling us. Under these circumstances, the bill’s true intent can be determined by finding out its chief architect and principal designer.

So far, it has not been denied nor refuted that the RH Bill’s chief designer which is aggressively pushing for its passage is the Philippine Legislative Committee for Population and Development (PLCPD) a foreign funded NGO that has its offices right at the very place where our laws are made—in the Batasan. It is likewise undisputed that the main financier of PLCPD are certain Foundations which are recognized as staunch supporters of abortion rights in the U.S. and elsewhere more specifically the International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) that initiated the UN Population Fund (UNPFA), as well as the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

For the information of the members of the Lower House and the public in general especially those who are misinformed about the purpose of this Bill, “reproductive health” is a euphemism for abortion. The Foundations backing PLCPD by their very own words explicitly say that”:

“The long term goal of Domestic Reproductive Rights sub-program is to protect and promote rights of individuals to make informed choices about their reproductive lives. This includes access to reproductive health information and reproductive health care services particularly safe and legal abortion. We fund efforts to defeat onerous restrictions on abortion access and to inform policies upholding comprehensive access, to build an influential and active base of supporters willing to educate policy makers, community leaders and other decision makers about the importance of reproductive health and rights and access to abortion”.

This intent is confirmed by the provisions of the RH Bill itself that, as repeatedly pointed out and so far not denied nor refuted, promote and subsidize the use of: (1) contraceptive pills directly causing or indirectly leading to abortion or have side effects like cancer, premature hypertension, heart disease etc; (2) intra uterine devices (IUDs) that cause abortion or result in intrauterine trauma, pelvic infections and ectopic pregnancy; (3) condoms allegedly for “safe sex” but have high failure rate even against pregnancy and thus do not protect against AIDS and other STDs; and (4) tubal ligation and vasectomy especially targeting the poor leaving them without the chance to have more children in case of improved economic situation or death of their present children, and no support in their olds age.

It is argued that the bill gives women the right to make an informed choice between natural family planning and artificial contraception. Considering however that the natural methods do not entail any cost to couples and individuals but only a lot of self sacrifice and abstinence, it is quite obvious that the main bulk of the P33 billion budget will be used to subsidize the purchase and use of these contraceptives to be given free. Thus the bill in effect supports the use of these artificial contraceptive as against natural family planning. It is clearly detrimental not only to the physical but also the spiritual health of couples and individuals as they are taught the quick fix and easy way rather than the hard and enduring way.

Aside from contraception, the bill also requires value free sex education to school children. Undoubtedly, this weakens parental authority and incites adolescents to early sexual activity. Countries that have such sex education such as UK and USA show that it has only resulted in increased sexual activity among the teenagers that led to increase in STDs and unwanted pregnancies that lead to abortion.

The bill also limits family size and set the stage for a two-child policy that has now been the bane of countries which adopted it where, in a complete reversal, couples are now being encouraged to have more babies because of graying and dying population. At the same time it imposes stiff penalties of 6 months imprisonment on conscientious objectors or those who do not comply with the proposed reproductive health program. This clear transgression of individual freedoms is further aggravated by the application of the stiff penalty to any person who “maliciously engages in disinformation about the intent and provision of this Act”.

All these harmful and unconstitutional provisions are being justified allegedly to alleviate poverty. But it has already been proven time and again that there is really no overpopulation in this country but only over concentration of population in some areas and that this population density cannot really be used as the scapegoat for poverty but rather the defective resource allocation and unequal wealth distribution as well as graft and corruption in the government.

Our Congressmen and women should seriously consider the position paper of a group of students from UP, Ateneo and UST who came up with the conclusion that: (1) the RH Bill is not the solution to poverty; (2) there is no overpopulation in the country; (3) there is no causal link between poverty and population increase but rather between poverty and corruption; (4) contraceptives are not only harmful, they could lead to deaths; and (5) sex education does not reduce teenage pregnancies and prevent spread of STDs.

Instead our lawmakers should heed their recommendations to redirect the P33 billion budget to strengthening the existing Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act (yes, there is already an existing law on poverty alleviation) as well as the institutions and NGOs now actively involved in poverty alleviation, like the Community Education Programs, Groups and initiatives on Microfinance (RA 8425) and the Gawad Kalinga housing projects.

Our legislators should not allow this country to suffer the same fate of countries that adopted this deceiving and enticing reproductive health program but are now regretting it.

Mang Pilo

Anonymous said...

A negative reaction from our CFC stand on the RH Bill.

RH bill critics chastised
FROM THE STANDS By Domini M. Torrevillas
Saturday, September 27, 2008

The heat is on. Opponents and critics of the crucial Reproductive Health bill being debated in Congress are lambasting the bill as pro-abortion and anti-family, stomping and shouting on the plenary halls of Congress in behavior unbecoming of legislators, paying hundreds of thousands of pesos for anti-RH bill ads, condemning parishioners who support the bill, and warning pro RH-bill legislators of their losing in the next elections.

This columnist has received emails reacting to anti-RH bill tactics. Here is one from Ben de Leon, president of The Forum for Family and Development of which former President Fidel V. Ramos is Eminent Person, on the anti-RH bill ad placed in the papers the other day.

“The Ad put by the Couples for Christ is unbecoming, unCatholic and unChristian on their part. It is misleading and deceitful. They are spreading lies and are fooling the people. This is another futile attempt to obtain sympathy. They are wrong. The Reproductive Health Bill is pro-quality life. Its passage prevents abortion. By blocking its approval, they are indirectly abetting abortion or the killing of babies yet unborn who are products of unplanned, unwanted, unprotected and mistimed pregnancies. I am sure that the brains of the Ad are not the Tony Meloto kind. Just to be clear, we advocates of the RH Bill are against abortion.”

* * *
Noting the unbecoming behavior of legislators, House Speaker Prospero C. Nograles has called for sobriety among the contending forces in the debate over such a sensitive and controversial issue as the RH bill. A statement released by the Speaker’s office said the Speaker stressed that the integrity of the House of Representatives must be protected at all times.

“We can agree to disagree but it should be within the bounds of proper parliamentary decorum. We must not allow emotions to reign over reason,” Nograles said, adding that “the war of ideas must not evolve into a war of verbal indignities.”

He was obviously referring to RH bill critic Rep. Mary Ann Suzano of the First District of Quezon City who was acting, in the words of a medical doctor who attended the September 16 session at the House, “like a madwoman.” Word has it that this legislator is gunning for the mayorship of Quezon City, but her unbecoming action has lost her thousands of votes, and won them for Vice-Mayor Herbert Bautista, another alleged contender for the post. 

The House leader stressed the need for open, honest and informed debates but with utmost consideration to proper parliamentary decorum and mutual respect “so that we can maintain the dignity and sanctity of the halls of Congress as the main crucible of public opinion.”

“It is on the strength of reason that issues must be resolved, not the strong voice of anger and hysteria,” Nograles said. “We can resolve things without disrespect to one another’s religious or political beliefs and social inclinations or affiliations.”

“The line has been drawn between the pros and antis. This is not a hopeless situation. In fact, it is a healthy sign for our democracy. But the debates must be tempered with a dignity of language,” he said.

* * *
The interpellations by oppositors have delayed the passage of the bill. But these have not dampened the spirit of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, principal author of HB 5043. He said, “Delay is not victory. It is merely postponing the eventual defeat of those opposed to the reproductive health bill.”

But he discredited the “patently dilatory tactics” of the oppositionists. He pointed to the long, winding interpellations, baseless procedural objections on the committees’ approval of the bill and irrelevant attacks on the funding and motives of NGO advocates.

Deputy Speaker Raul del Mar, another oppositor, consumed two session days of interpellation after an almost 30-minute long preliminary discourse on his objections which many considered as a premature turno en contra speech.

Del Mar also raised alleged “technical defects” in the approval of the bill by the Committee on Health and the Committee on Population and Family Relations which jointly approved the bill without a dissenting vote and no reasonable motion for reconsideration was filed against its approval pursuant to the rules of the House.

The reproductive health bill was approved by four committees, namely the committees on Health; Population and Family Relations; Appropriations, and the committee on Rules.

Del Mar even went to the extent of questioning the legitimate funding support and reproductive health advocacy of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc. (PLCPD), of which, surprisingly, he was a founding member and erstwhile supporter. What made him change his mind, I can only surmise.

“As the interpellations meander, the attendance in the plenary predictably dwindles, giving the oppositors the chance to question the existence of a quorum,” Lagman lamented.

* * *
A Protestant minister, the Very Reverend Barry Cumberland, emailed his reaction to the goings-on re the RH bill. He writes:

“The opponents of the Reproductive Health bill constantly quote bishops and clergy from the Roman Catholic church but are unaware that there are both bishops and priests in the Roman Catholic church who do support the bill. However they are afraid to speak out because of the structure of the church especially here in the Philippines — unlike in other countries — which does not allow dissent. I personally know Catholic priests who are in favor of the bill but who will never speak out. There is supposed to be separation of church and state in this country. There are also many other Christian denominations in the Philippines including my own church, the Anglican/Episcopal church, which support family planning.

“I also find offensive the right-wing Catholic propaganda of bodies such as Couples for Christ and Singles for Christ. They have a right to their opinions but they do not have the right to impose their views on others. The reality is that in spite of the opposing views of those such as your esteemed colleague, Jose Sison, your newspaper, if the Reproductive Health Bill is rejected it will lead to the continuing endless poverty and degradation of millions of Filipino families. It does not matter to the rich and the elite in this society, but it does matter to the poor if anyone really cares for them in this community.”

Mang Pilo

WillyJ said...

A Protestant minister, the Very Reverend Barry Cumberland, says: "...there are both bishops and priests in the Roman Catholic church who do support the bill. However they are afraid to speak out because of the structure of the church especially here in the Philippines — unlike in other countries — which does not allow dissent...I also find offensive the right-wing Catholic propaganda of bodies such as Couples for Christ and Singles for Christ..."

Reverend, we beg you to speak for yourself and not misrepresent our faith. The structure of the Catholic Church is the same here in the Philippines and elsewhere. That is why we call it the ONE Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. That structure abides by the Deposit of Faith handed down from the Apostles throughout the ages. Ah, but the Catholic Church does allow dissent, that is what free will is all about. Our faith teaches that every person must act according to his conscience, although it is no guarantee that such person would not be in error. That is why we are guided by our Magisterium, which is neither propaganda nor opinion - but the objective truth that we strive to follow. Let us all join hands in helping the poor, each in our own way. Along the way, we do not question your motives, and hopefully you do not question ours too.

Anonymous said...

Decision Theory and Pascal's Wager…
The french mathematician, physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal once came up with a host of arguments to prove that reason cannot be trusted when it came to religion. He then proposed that since reason cannot be trusted, we can only wager. And he set up to prove that betting on God is the correct wager to make. Decision theory has since proven his logic. Pascal's wager can be shown as a decision table like this:
                        God      does 
                       exists    not   
wager to            ++        0  
believe in God                
wager not to       --        0   
believe in God                

If you wager to believe in God and God exists, you gain everything (2 plus signs). If God doesn't exist nothing happens whether you believe in God or not (zero entries). If you wager not to believe and God exists, you reap the negatives (2 minus signs).

Pascal's wager advises us that to believe in God is the best bet because it is the only bet where you can win.

Now supposing we grant that God exists and modify the decision table to reflect the Catholic Church. The results would be:

                           The        The
                           Church   Church
                             is        is not
                            God’s   God’s
wager to                 ++          --
follow the Church
wager not to            --         0
follow the Church

If the Church is God's and you follow the Church you reap positive rewards (++). If the Church is not God's and you still follow the Church you reap negatives (--). The same as when the Church is God's and you won't follow the Church. The last option has no effect. The wager advises us Catholics to follow the Church - again it is the only bet with the possibility of winning.

Now let's do the opposite and assume that God doesn't exist, the table looks like this:

                           The        The
                           Church   Church
                             is        is not
                            God’s   God’s
wager to                 0          0
follow the Church
wager not to            0         0
follow the Church

This one says that if God doesn't exist, we don't win or lose anything regardless of what we bet on.

Now supposing you are a congressman or senator about to vote on the RH bill and you know that the Church opposes the bill. You know what the pundits are saying - that the bill will relieve overpopulation, that it will be good for the poor. Some say that if the bill does not pass the incidence of unwanted pregnancies and abortions would increase. So many opinions. The truth is, the bill does not have any power to determine the future. Neither do the pundits, no matter how sure and confident they may sound; there is no one who can foretell the future. In short, nobody can know for sure what the effect of the bill will be. And if there is one thing science is sure of, it is the certainty that there is still a vast number of things we don’t know yet. No scientist, no science lab can truly claim to know everything about life. And this RH bill is about life. Take the ongoing abortion-related argument about when a fetus is considered a living human. Scientists claim that at the moment of conception the fetus is not yet considered a living human being. As if they know for sure when life begins. But does science really know? Has someone truly measured when God’s breath of life is given?

I think science is also playing the percentages, betting on the wager with the higher probability of being right. As the senator or congressman who will vote on this bill you are also betting that your decision is right. You’re betting because you cannot foretell the future either and cannot know for sure what the bill’s effect will be in the years to come.

Opinions are guesses and preferences based on people's beliefs. So in the end, as a senator or congressman you will have to call your shots based on no hard facts, only on how convinced you are of the opinions of other people. In short, you will wager that your opinion will be right. But what if, like Blaise Pascal, you don't use passionate speeches and vested interests to try to decide your bet? What if you use decision table logic to determine your wager? Would you wager on the only possibility of winning? Would you wager to follow the Church or not?

- TE

Anonymous said...

Well, perhaps a number of our congressmen are wagers or gamblers themselves, and will always want the safer side, just like I remember a friend of mine who welcomed most everyone who comes to him for assistance during elections – a few pesos for printing a candidates’ paid ad here, a few more for calendars there, etc. Who knows, if anyone of them won, that friend still had some ‘padrino’ somewhere.

There may be Catholic clergy who passionately defend a position or two in favor of the RH bill while most in the hierarchy including the ‘conservative’ CFC are directly opposing it. In all these things, TE suggests the Pascal’s wager for our Congressmen (?), because it is always safe to follow a ‘God-based’ or godly objective – just in case there were God in the end (ha?)! This is definitely not the CFC posture. It borders perhaps on agnosticism or the position of those who just gave in because of DOUBT. Wala namang mawala, just in case you also believe… (You don’t lose a thing…) But this decision theory and wagering on the ‘possibility’ of truth or God being real merits serious attention especially by our congressmen who, by and large, have been wagering all along…