MANILA (AFP) - In a country where three babies are born each minute and the Catholic Church exerts heavy influence, the long battle for a family planning programme could finally be reaching its climax.
Philippine congressman Edcel Lagman, who has introduced a Reproductive Health Care Act that appears to be gaining widespread support, believes the time has come for the Philippines to take family planning seriously.
“Despite what the church is saying Filipino people, especially the poor, want family planning,” he told AFP in an interview.
“They want to have control over what methods they use and they want the ability to choose without fearing a backlash from the church,” he said.
National surveys by pollsters Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Station have repeatedly shown that more than 80 percent of Filipinos want to have control over their fertility.
The Catholic Church, however, is campaigning against the bill — which must receive the support of the majority of congress and senate members before being presented to the president for her signature.
Some church leaders are threatening to excommunicate legislators who support it, with some saying they might refuse to preside over marriages or administer Holy Communion to anyone associated with the bill.
The Roman Catholic Church is traditionally opposed to any form of birth control, a position reaffirmed by Pope Benedict XVI.
Then there is this nonsense which implies that following the Church’s sanctioned sex that somehow makes one a better citizen and better parent:
“Couples who have the discipline to practice the church-sanctioned natural family planning methods are in possession of true values of life and tend to pass it on to their children. They also tend to be good citizens.
“If there is discipline in the marital bed, then there is discipline in the streets, there is discipline in schools, there is discipline in the government,” he said
An Irish-Catholic family lives behind us. The parents are about my age and they have six children and then their daughter who they must have passed on “Catholic values” to has been pregnant by three different boys, and has three children and all live there in the same house. The father is far from the ideal dad. I have seen him punch his teenage son in the stomach, he is drunk and disorderly much of the time, and he is an all-around jerk who verbally abuses his wife, kids and grandkids. But they have those babies God wants them to have so they are A-Okay in the Church’s eyes.
Then we hear in the news yesterday about Palin’s family problems. While promoting Christian morals and family values, turns out that Palin’s teenage daughter is pregnant. Many conservatives are whining that children of politicians should be off-limits to public scrutiny. However, the actions of the children of evangelical politicians can illustrate that despite their painting themselves as having some sort of superior values than everyone else, they do not.
What irks me about Palin is that she has opposed sex education programs:
Palin herself said she opposes funding sexual-education programs in Alaska.
“The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support,” she wrote in a 2006 questionnaire distributed among gubernatorial candidates.
And what are McCain’s views?
McCain’s position on contraceptives and teen pregnancy issues has been difficult to judge on the campaign trail, as he appears uncomfortable discussing such topics. Reporters asked the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in November 2007 whether he supported grants for sex education in the United States, whether such programs should include directions for using contraceptives and whether he supports President Bush’s policy of promoting abstinence.
“Ahhh, I think I support the president’s policy,” McCain said.