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Blessing or a Curse:
A look into the
Reproductive Health Bill 5043
by Sis. Marilyn Panuncialman

HNS Bulletin, VOLVIII, ISSUE 3, July - October 2009

Sis. Marilyn Panuncialman is the 1st Vice-President of the Archdiocesan Union of Ozamiz, Misamis Occidental

One of our respected solon says the present population of the country of 88.7 million has galloped from 60.7 million 17 years ago. This makes the Philippines the 12th most populous nation in the world today. The Filipino womenís fertility rate of 3.05% is at the upper bracket of 206 countries. With four babies born every minute, the population is expected to balloon to an alarming 160 million in 2038.Ē

† What is stated above is presumably a problem according to the people pushing for the bill. They make us think that we are already over populated and that something must be done to address it.

They then throw this question, how does one address it?

Letís take a look into the Reproductive Health Bill which is presumably the solution to the problem (which they think exists!).

The billís objective is to promote information on available Family Planning and birth control procedures internationally recognized by human rights standards among women and among Grade 5 to 4th year high school students (dependent on age-appropriateness) and to ensure that these procedures are readily accessible in family based-hospitals. It also specifies that the bill is all about giving women a choice whether they want to apply the suggested procedures specified by the bill in being responsible and well-informed parents as far as birth control is concern. Examples of the procedures the bill has included are as follows: tubal ligation, vasectomy and the useintrauterine devices.

At the end of the day, the bill sees parents being responsible in birth spacing and Family Planning and thereby reducing population growth for our country. We can say the END result seems relatively good. But do means justify the end?

The church (CBCP specifically) does not think so. Thereís a common ground: solution to the problem but CBCP stands with their hard-line position in opposing the bill.

Fr. Mervin Castro, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life executive secretary stressed that the Church has been constant in pushing for the respect for human life and the dignity of the family. ďThis means that any artificial means, to control human body especially in its fertility is contrary to the Gospel. The church has always continued its information drive on the natural way of Family Planning through Family and Life Advocacy.

Is the BILL then a blessing or a curse?

Personally, it is a curse to our Christian nation. If thereís a way to reach the same END RESULT with Godly, humanitarian and natural means then why go the wrong way. What need to be done instead are reinforcement, additional information drive, and proper education on the natural means so that these procedures become more acceptable, effective and efficient.

Letís continue to move onwards and bring this country to success and prosperity without forsaking our Christian values.

God bless the Philippines!