Sunday 6 September 2009

Philippines people resisting daily assaults from the anti-life lobby

Mr Francisco "Kit" Tatad (pictured right) former head of the Philippines senate, this morning told (full speech) this weekend's SPUC national conference that the Filipino people’s faith in the sanctity of life was being daily tested by assaults from the media and pressure groups. Abortion nevertheless remained banned in that country. State-run contraception and sterilisation were the first steps on the road to legalised abortion. Families were getting smaller.

Legislators were promoting a reproductive health bill which contained policies which were against Filipino culture and the Philippines constitution. The bill fell short of legalising abortion but contained much that was unethical. It would empower the state to prevent women from conceiving. Mr Tatad described the proposed measure as Orwellian; politicians should have blocked it from the start yet it was being debated. Scholars at a Jesuit university in the Philippines had said that Catholics could support it; Catholic academics overseas had rebuked them.

Mrs Fenny Tatad (pictured left with her husband Kit) executive director of the Bishops-Legislators Caucus of the Philippines, said that the media had not been neutral on the bill but its opponents had used blogs to spread their message. Parliamentary debate had been tumultuous and the Catholic bishops had also intervened to stop anti-life language from being inserted in a different bill on women. Anti-life activists had also tried to bring language on reproductive health into a bill on agriculture.

While the Philippines had a bloated reproductive health budget, there was insufficient money for basic healthcare and sanitation. Mrs Tatad said that some local councils had adopted reproductive health programmes and formed alliances with overseas organisations and governments.

Mr Tatad added that President Obama’s over-riding of the ban on the use of US money for abortion overseas was a threat to the Philippines. UN bodies were also applying pressure to the nation to legalise abortion. There was a risk of the election of a morally indifferent president in the Philippines.

The UN had to be made to focus once more on its original mandate of promoting peaceful cooperation between nations, instead of intervening in the intimate affairs of families. The UN should promote the sanctity of human life. It needed to have an international convention which would stop states and agencies from promoting birth control and abortion.

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