Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Note to the readers: This is not the collective stand of DPS Class 67 members, but of the blog administrator. Those who have opposing views are welcome to express their position.

The following is a re-print of the full-page ad published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last Saturday, July 26, 2008 by individuals and groups that are supporting the Reproductive Health Bill.


We are alarmed at how the facts on the Reproductive Health bill have been twisted by ultra-conservative members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and its allied groups.

We are disturbed that the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines have themselves become guilty of unduly influencing the politicians and making a mockery of the highest office of the land - the Presidency. The past weeks and up until now, the public continues to witness the Roman Catholic hierarchy's vilification of the RH bill, the menacing warnings targeted at pro-RH legislators, and unduly "influencing" the Presidency to toe its line.

We are extremely troubled that the Roman Catholic hierarchy has become deaf and blind to the pleas of ordinary people, especially the women, Catholics and otherwise.

We would like the debate on RH to center on the FACTS: on what the bill actually says, the difficulties faced by most Filipinos everday, and the responsibility of government to address people's needs.

Reproductive Health saves lives.

Ten (10) Filipino women die daily due to pregnancy and childbirth-related causes. Three (3) out of four (4) of these women who die are aged 20-39 years. The big majority of those who die are poor women in the prime of their life.

RH aims to save the lives of women by enabling them to prevent unwanted and mistimed pregnancies, and by giving couples and individuals options. RH ensures that each pregnancy is safe through the needed pre- and post-natal care for women.

The tragic consequences of not having comprehensive RH services available to women, including accurate information on modern methods of contraception, are appalling: 1.4 million unplanned pregnancies each year if these women remain unprotected; 465,000 induced abortions from the unplanned pregnancies; and 800 maternal deaths due to induced abortion.

RH is a pro-life choice, in the truest sense of preventing deaths and suffering.

Reproductive Health addresses the needs and wants of Filipino families.

Studies show that large families tend to be poorer and find it more difficult to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Surveys also show that 9 in 10 Filipinos want to be able to control their fertility or plan their families. However, very young girls are becoming mothers. By age 19, one in five women already has a child.

Because of the Roman Catholic hierarchy's threats to pro-RH legislators and this administration's continuing subservience to the Roman Catholic Church, families are denied the services they need to be informed and to be able to achieve their desired family size. By this, the Roman Catholic hierarchy and the administration are, in effect, contributing to the perpetuation of poverty among families in this country.

Therefore, we call on:
* Our LEGISLATORS not to give up and to continue to work for the passage of a rights-based and comprehensive national RH policy;

* The CATHOLIC LAI to claim their right to informed choice by correcting disinformation against the RH bill and support its champions in Congress; and

* President GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO and other political leaders to uphold the Constitutional separation of Church and State to prevent the undue infuence of the Roman Catholic hierarchy on the Presidency and on public policymaking.


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