POPULATION ADVOCATES SUPPORT BISHOPS PRO-LIFE STAND AGAINST ABORTION
Finally, a truce between population advocates and the Catholic bishops might soon be at hand as a common advocacy against abortion is emerging.
The legislators-bishops' dialogue resulted to a call that abortion should be addressed immediately and that Congress should be wary of proposed laws that would lead to the legalization of abortion. According to Rep.Edcel Lagman "This is exactly what we are advocating for, that is why we are pushing for the passage of the Reproductive Health bill which prohibits abortion and excludes it as a family planning method.”
The Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Management bill or House Bill 17 was filed by Rep. Edcel Lagman in the House of Representatives. The bill specifically proposes the provision of reproductive health services and information including family planning commodities such as condoms, oral contraceptives and modern natural family planning devices. "This bill promotes life as it aims to prevent abortion by widening the choices of couples. Its enactment will also empower women, couples and even teenagers to make responsible decisions on sexuality and fertility" Lagman added.
Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation (PLCPD) stated that "It is good that it is clear that the advocates of reproductive health and the catholic bishops have the same objective and that is to promote quality of life for the Filipino people. One of the main intentions of this bill is to combat the continuous increase in cases of maternal deaths and abortion in the country."
The latest National and Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) of the National Statistics Office (NSO) revealed that 10 filipino women die due to pregnancy-related complications every 24 hours. Abortion cases also continue to increase to 473,400 in 2000 from 400,000 recorded cases in 1994 according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute and the UP-Population Institute Study. This means that about one third of all pregnancies in the Philippines end up in abortion.
"All maternal deaths are highly-preventable. It is sad that many women still die of childbirth. I enjoin the government and the catholic hierarchy to work with us in ensuring that Filipinos are given the adequate services and accurate information in matters related to their sexuality and to family planning without any bias for or against any method.” Lagman added.
"A national policy is imperative to ensure the continuous government support to family planning and reproductive health programs from the national to the local level " San Pascual emphasized. "We are glad that the issue of reproductive health and prevention of abortion is now being given attention by the policymakers and even by the Catholic bishops."
Ms. VG Benosa
Cellphone Number 09182936786