On RH Bill in the Philippines

RH Bill or the famous REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL has become a celebrated issue in the Philippines where the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church is agog in its campaign to reject or scrap the bill. Debates had been done even up to national television network inviting the pros and the cons. Highlighting it more is to have back ups from the socialites group, congresspeople, showbiz people and those who have names in the Philippine Society including the World Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao  who openly reject the passing of the RH Bill in the Congress. The  Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is actively leading the campaign against it.  In a glance, people are made to believe that the whole Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, leadership and constituents are all against it.

I am attaching here a ‘Dear Editor” letter from a Roman Catholic.

_____________________________________________________

Hi all,

The bishops are getting on my nerves, so I sent this letter to the Inquirer. Ambot lang (I am not sure) if they will publish it.

Arnold

From: Arnold Vandenbroeck <arnoldvandenbroeck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 8:54 PM
Subject: Churches/Religions and contraceptives
To: feedback@inquirer.com.ph

Dear Editor,

The Catholic bishops claim that the RH bill is immoral and some bishops even consider it “terroristic”. Can they please stop playing the self-appointed guardians of our morality? All the more since practically all other churches and religions accept artificial family planning as a moral choice.

The United Methodist Church values “family planning programs that improve health care, empower women and protect the global environment and that enable individuals and couples to decide about the number of their children free from violence, coercion and discrimination.” While Catholic bishops in the Philippines tend to be dismissive of the problem of present population growth, the UMC even says that “people have the duty to consider the impact on the total world community of their decision regarding child bearing and should have access to information and appropriate means to limit their fertility, including voluntary sterilization.” Clearly the UMC seems to have a fuller appreciation of what is the greater and common good.

Many Christian churches have standpoints similar to that of the UMC. Moreover, family planning (including contraception) is embraced by religions across the spectrum as a moral good, a responsible choice and a basic human right. Religious support for contraception and family planning is consistent with faith principles that give primacy to well being, including the health of children, families and the community at large. In fact, many religions believe that family planning is a moral duty, a stance echoed by well-known leaders. Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “Planned parenthood is an obligation of those who are Christians. Our church thinks we should use scientific methods that assist in family planning.” The Dalai Lama said, “Family planning is crucial, especially in the developing world.”

The Episcopal Church first approved of contraception for the purpose of family planning in 1930. In a 1994 resolution, it directed its dioceses and agencies to provide information to all men and women on the full range of affordable, acceptable, safe, and non coercive contraceptive and reproductive health care services.

In 1954, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America stated that a married couple should plan and govern their sexual relations so that any child born to their union will be desired both for itself and in relation to the time of its birth. How to do that is up to the couple.

The Presbyterian Church supports full and equal access to contraceptive methods. In a recent resolution endorsing insurance coverage for contraceptives, the church even affirmed that contraceptive services are part of basic health care and cautioned that unintended pregnancies lead to higher rates of infant mortality, low birth weight, and maternal morbidity, and threaten the economic viability of families.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the USA, supports the use of birth control that prevents conception from taking place.

Unitarian Universalists already in 1987 opposed any move to deny or restrict the distribution of government funds as a means of restricting access to contraception in the U.S. or abroad.

Jewish traditions have a long history of support for family planning, dating to the 1929 Reform resolution noting that birth control contributes to social stability. Already in a pioneering 1935 resolution, Women of Reform Judaism expressed support for lifting bans on the dissemination of information about birth control.

For Muslims, the Quran does not make any explicit statements about the morality of contraception. Early Sunni Muslim literature discusses various contraceptive methods, and a recent study concluded that any method that did not produce sterility was acceptable.

Sikhs have no objection to birth control. Whether or not Sikhs use contraception, and the form of contraception used, is a matter for the couple concerned.
The same applies to Hindoes, the same to Buddhists.

The Roman Catholic Church is the only major faith institution to forbid the use of contraception. However, in actual practice most Catholics disagree with the prohibition or don’t pay any attention to it. Not much of a moral problem. For one, they are in the good company of practically all other major religions of the world.

Arnold Vandenbroeck

Third St. cor Trinidad Ave.
Trinidad Greenhills Subd., Ma-a,
Davao City, Philippines
Telefax: +63-82-2440090
Mobile: +63-918-5156245
Mail address: P.O.Box 81937
8000 Davao City, Philippines

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