Mandatory Age-appropriate Reproductive Health Education
While the Bill acknowledges the primary right of parents in rearing and educating their children, it mandatesan age-appropriate reproductive health education that shall be taught in private and public schools, starting fromGrade 5 to 4th Year High School. The curriculum includes among others, the topic on the use and application of all methods of family planning. The Church is concerned with this, because it would compel Catholic educators toteach sections of the curriculum that may be unacceptable for them as Catholics. Besides, it might also usurp theoriginal and irreplaceable role of parents to educate their children on sexual matters according to their beliefs.
Contraceptives as Essential Medicines
Why do the RH Bill proponents call these methods and devices as “essential medicines” if they in factcause sickness or death? How can they reconcile that the use of contraceptives is “safe and effective” at preventingunwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, with the growing cases of the same?
And why are theypushing for its free access and availability to all as “essential medicines” if there is a great lack of vital medicinesfor ordinary illnesses for ordinary citizens? Why call them “essential medicines” in the
rst place when it wouldimply that pregnancy is a disease to be treated?
Moral Distinction between Contraceptives and Abortifacients
The Church morally distinguishes between methods of family planning that are contraceptives (thosewhich prevent pregnancy) and those that are abortifacients (those which terminate pregnancy). But in the Bill,instead, contraceptives are not distinguished from abortifacients. The Bill considers the pill, IUD (intra-uterinedevice), injectables, condom, ligation, and vasectomy as contraceptives. But, the Church considers the pill andIUD not as contraceptives but abortifacients. This distinction is attested to by scienti
Abortion and the Determination of the Beginning of Human Life
The bill states that abortion is prohibited and is a crime, punishable by law. But, it does not determinewhen abortion does take place: at fertilization or implantation? When does one commit the crime of abortion, atthe expulsion of the fertilized ovum or the expulsion of the embryo from the uterus of the mother?
Prohibited Acts and Penalties That Violate Freedom of Conscience and Religious Freedom
The RH Bill prohibits the refusal of “reproductive health care services” and information based on patient’smarital status, gender or sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances and nature of work. It alsorequires that employers should provide “reproductive health care services” to their employees, as well as publicof
cials to their constituents.Can a Catholic reproductive health care service provider knowingly perform a legal yet immoral act ingood conscience? The
Catechism of the Catholic Church
replies: “The citizen is obliged in conscience not tofollow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of moral order, to the fundamentalrights of persons or to the teaching of the Gospel.”
Can a Catholic health care service provider refuse to take partin information dissemination and execution of acts against life, even if permitted by civil legislation? John PaulII answers: “Christians, like all people of good will, are called upon under grave obligation of conscience not tocooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. To refuseto take part . . . is not only a moral duty [but] also a basic human right.”
Why does the Church oppose the RH bill? Because what is at stake is the dignity of the human person,whose defense and promotion have been entrusted to us by the Creator.
Respect for the dignity of persons isinseparable from the respect for the universal right to life, which is fundamental of all rights and from which allother rights are derived, including the women’s reproductive rights. The concern for life is not only a duty of the Church but of all of us Filipinos, Christians and non-Christians alike, for service to, and promotion of, life iseveryone’s task and responsibility.
+Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P., D.D.Archbishop of Caceres