are the most
recent versions of bills that have been introduced in the Philippines
Congress since 2005.
The ground for the bill has been cleared over a period of forty years
by laws and population management policies and programmes aimed at
reducing fertility in the Philippines. These programs have resulted in the
establishment of a national infrastructure of ministries, offices and
officials responsible for implementing government population and family
Foremost among them is the Population Commission (POPCOM) and related
agencies, including the Department of Health (DOH). Thus, government
involvement in family planning and population control has become part of
the normal social, political and health care landscape.
The Department of Health and the Population Commission have been big
suppliers of contraceptives and sterilization agents and the General
Appropriations Act has been carrying regular appropriations for that
purpose since the 1970s. DOH and Popcom personnel as well as public and
private hospital staff openly ask men and women to get sterilized,
especially during the birth of a new child. Many Local Government Units
have since joined their ranks. It is therefore completely misleading
and deceptive to say that the RH bill in both Houses of Congress is
intended to help women make an "informed choice" on the use of
contraceptives and sterilization agents.
Passage of the bills in their present forms would likely cause
significant problems for Catholic health care facilities and an
undetermined number of Catholic health care workers.
The bills now before the 15th Congress include some provisions that
affect fundamental freedoms of all citizens, and they are indicative of
the broader social, legal and political environment within which the law
will operate if either bill passes.
The law will establish "reproductive health" as "a
universal basic human right," though such a right is not
The law will establish a legal right to artificial reproduction by
single persons, including those who claim a "gender
identity" unrelated to their natural sex.
The state will be expected to guarantee and advance the rights the
law purports to grant, and to eliminate "discrimination." It
may suppress religious or moral expressions, policies or practices
that are deemed "coercive" or that may restrain their
From an early age, all children will be made to undergo mandatory
instruction to inculcate sexual attitudes and habits that comply with
government policy, even against the consent of their parents. No
exceptions for private or denominational schools.
In the case of HB96, the law will formally legitimize government
control of "reproductive health care" as a means to realize
political or ideological goals.
Under HB96, a "certificate of compliance" issued by the
local Family Planning Office will be required to obtain a marriage
If HB96 is enacted, couples will be "encouraged" to have
only two children.
If HB96 is enacted, critics of the law will face prosecution if
they "engage in disinformation" about its intent or
The general claim of rights . . .would, if accepted, leave no
principled basis upon which to exempt any health care institution or
health care worker from a requirement to provide contraception,
contraceptive sterilization, or even potentially embryocidal or
abortifacient drugs and devices.
For if it really were a "human right" to be given
contraceptives or contraceptive sterilization, it would follow that anyone
who refused to provide them would be guilty of a human rights violation.
Both bills will make it an offence to "[r]efuse to extend health
care services and information on account of the personís marital status,
gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, or
nature of work."
This provision lends itself to partisan misuse. . . Neither the quality
of public discourse nor the provision of health care will be markedly
improved by giving "reproductive rights" activists the
opportunity to send those who disagree with them to jail.
There are about 120 first-termers in the House. We are told that a
good number of legislators co-authored the RH bills without much
reflection. Let us include tehm in our prayers. Let us especially pray
that neither of our legislators are included in that number.
The Church does not legislate anything in society. The Church proposes,
she does not impose, that which will make it possible for legislations
always in manís favor.