Roundup: Family Planning in the Philippines? Not If The Church Can Help It

Robin Marty

Philippine President Aquino wants to provide birth control to his nation, but the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines says "no way."

The Philippines has decided to make a bigger effort towards family planning in the country, announcing a new program of “responsible parenting” funded by the government. 

Philstar.com reports:

The new administration is boosting the country’s family planning program, with Health Secretary Enrique Ona saying yesterday he would propose the procurement of contraceptives using government funds.

In an interview during the celebration of World Population Day yesterday, Ona stressed that to effectively promote responsible parenthood, couples should be allowed to make informed choices by exposing them to all methods of population management.

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“The couple should be given freedom to decide how many children they would like to have. That’s normal. Every couple does that. And so it is very important that they are given all the necessary information on how they may (decide on) the number of children, the spacing of children,” he said.

Ona said it is the duty of the government to make information and services on artificial and natural or scientific methods of family planning available to couples.

“Teach them (couples) all of these, give them the options and then let them decide… But we all agree on the value of life. So it is very clear that we are against abortion,” he said.

The health chief also said that the DOH would make contraceptives available in all of its clinics.

“We have to give them options. Whatever the community wants or demands, if within our reach, we’ll give it to them,” he said, citing the use of condoms to prevent AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

They may “all agree on the value of life,” but sadly, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines does not agree with the government when it comes to how birth control as a means of preventing unwanted pregnancies.  From Inquirer.net:

In their first collective statement since the Aquino administration assumed office, leaders of the Catholic Church called on the President to drop government programs that promote artificial contraceptives as a means of family planning.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued the statement Monday after it concluded a two-day plenary assembly over the weekend at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila.

“We bishops from all over the country call on President Aquino to listen to the call of the Church that the former program of the government to promote a contraceptive mentality through education and medical practices is immoral and will not bring about a people that is God-fearing, holding on to the sacredness of sexuality, life and the family,” the bishops said through CBCP president, Tandag (Surigao del Sur) Bishop Nereo Odchimar, who issued the statement.

The Bishops’ ban against birth control applies across the board, not just to chemical means but all forms including barrier methods like condoms.  As GMA News explains it:

Some 90 Catholic archbishops and bishops, including two cardinals, appealed to President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to reject the “contraceptive mentality.”

The term “contraceptive mentality,” also called “contraceptive mindset,” refers to the philosophy that contraception can be morally good for those who practice it.

The Catholic Church promotes only natural family planning methods and is against all forms of contraception or the use of devices, chemicals, and other artificial means to prevent a woman from becoming pregnant.

“Poverty cannot be solved by promoting contraceptive education and programs. Education does not merely deal with knowledge and skills; rather it must promote values that are inherent to us as Filipinos. Parents have the primary right to educate their children and sex education is properly to be done in the family,” it added.

Sadly, even when condoms were mentioned as a way of fighting HIV and other STIs, rather than a means to prevent pregnancy, the Bishops still refused to consider them as an option.

Mini Roundup: Alaskans in favor of a new law that would force teens to notify their parents before they get an abortion are now asking churches and pastors to campaign for the bill.  At the same time, Forever 21 appears to be getting ready for the inevitable consequences of the law if it passes by opening a maternity line in their Anchorage store, as well as other states with high rates of teen pregnancy.

July 12, 2010

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sees Bright Future For Roe v. Wade: ‘We Will Never Go Back’ – Huffington Post

US Embassy in Kenya Denies Obama Admin Funding Pro-Abortion Constitution – LifeNews.com

ACLU asks federal agency to investigate Catholic hospitals on abortion – Catholic News Service

Gov’s Election Crucial For Future Woman’s Reproductive Rights – WTAQ

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White House Pregnancy Assistance Fund Could Fund Pro-Abortion Groups – LifeNews.com

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Rick Scott’s Abortion Distortion – AlterNet

Yes, We Kenya! – Daily Caller

‘Bosses’ to Aquino: No contraceptives… – Malaya

DOH to boost family planning – Philippine Star

Norman Ryder, renowned demographer and leader in fertility studies, dies – Princeton University

Judge Agrees with McKenna’s Office, Suspends Emergency Contraception Trial – PubliCola

Bishops urge Aquino to stop artificial birth control – Inquirer.net

The View under fire for blaming spread of HIV on down low men – Examiner.com

Obama to unveil strategy to cut HIV infections – The Associated Press

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July 13, 2010

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La.’s landmark abortion bills – Louisiana Weekly

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Judge to hear arguments on new Neb. abortion law – Action 3 News

Tea party groups choose to stand mute on same-sex marriage ruling – Washington Post

Bishops to Aquino: Shun ‘contraceptive mentality’ – GMA news.tv

Permanent birth control without surgery – Austin News

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Obama HIV/AIDS plan calls for reducing infections – The Associated Press

HIV Infections Fall in Africa as Young People Defer Sex Debut, Use Condoms – Bloomberg

Nigeria: 16 States Get 48 Ambulances to Fight Maternal, Child Mortality – AllAfrica.com

Catholic Hospitals Face New Scrutiny After McBride Excommunication – America Magazine

Students pregnancy bill draws much controversy in Thailand – AsiaOne

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