Philippines bill launches attack on freedom of conscience
House Bill 3773 would punish conscientious objection with imprisonment
Philippines, April, 2005
Planning Bill in Philippines Paving Way for Legalized Abortion
Friday Fax, April 29, 2005
Volume 8, Number 19
Copyright 2005 - C-FAM (Catholic Family &
Human Rights Institute).
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.
One of the most populous Catholic countries in the world is set to
significantly liberalize its laws on family planning and "reproductive
health" services, stopping just short of outright legalization of abortion.
The proposed legislation, which is likely to pass within months, sets in
place a "comprehensive national policy" that discriminates against families
with more than two children and
requires the Catholic Church to provide sex education in schools and to pay
for the sterilizations of its employees.
House Bill 3773, entitled, "Responsible Parenthood and Population Management
Act of 2005," says, "The State . . . guarantees universal access to safe,
affordable and quality reproductive health care services." The bill defines
"reproductive health care" as "availability and access to a full range of
methods, techniques and services that contribute to reproductive and sexual
health and well-being . . .[including] family planning information and
Brian Cowles, Director of Research at Human Life International, points out
that "the words 'reproductive health' appear 55 times in the seven-page
bill." UN agencies and pro-abortion groups view such words as including
While the bill states that "abortion shall remain to be penalized,"Meg
Francisco of the Filipine Alliance for the Family Foundation, Inc. says,
"The experience of every country that has promoted contraception shows that
abortion will eventually be included." She says that the "reasons given for
contraception are the same as reasons for abortion," the two policies are
"linked by jurisprudence [such as the] right to privacy," "and at times, are
identical, [since] IUD and the Pill are abortifacients."
The bill also says that "the State shall encourage two (2) children as the
ideal Family size." The bill does not make two children mandatory, but says
that "Children from these families shall have preference in the grant of
scholarships at the tertiary level." According to Francisco, this policy
"will lead to social stigma for large families . . . [who] would be
considered irresponsible, and their children, unplanned and unwanted."
Francisco also believes that this provision "penalizes the poor, who are
precisely those who need financial aid for college."
The bill sets up mandatory sex education from grades 5-12, with topics to
include "reproductive health and sexual rights," "sexual identity," and
"gender roles." The
Catholic Church is not exempt from this obligation. Moreover, the bill
requires all employers, not excluding the Catholic Church, to provide free
of charge, "reproductive health care services and devices to the workers."
The bill considers such services to include voluntary sterilization.
Francisco also points out
that the bill also prohibits persons "to act from conscience" because it
threatens up to six months imprisonment for "any health care service
provider who shall . . . refuse to perform voluntary sterilization and
ligation" and for "any public official . . .who shall prohibit or
intentionally restrict" the provision of services outlined in the bill.