MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) gave its full support to the “Protection of the Unborn Child” bill being pushed in the Senate Monday, saying it was the “much anticipated and much welcomed fruition of the promise and mandate” of the Constitution.
At a joint hearing of the Senate committees on youth, women and family relations, and constitutional amendments, Atty. Jo Aurea Imbong, executive secretary of the CBCP’s legal office, said the CBCP favored the passage of the proposed measure contained in Senate Bills 2407, 2584 and 2635 because it acknowledged and asserted the fundamental and inalienable right to life.
The bills prohibit the use of “abortifacients, abortive acts and practices that induce abortion.”
“The unborn offspring of conception is human life –whether wanted o unwanted, unplanned or mistimed. Senate Bills 2497, 2584 and 2635 acknowledge and assert this fundamental and alienable right to life. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference favors their passage into law,” Imbong told the committees.
“The measures are the much anticipated and much welcomed fruition of the promise and mandate in Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution,” she added.
Imbong lamented that at present, the “inalienable right” to life of the early human being was “endangered,” pointing out the intensified campaign by RH and women’s rights advocates for the passage of a law, allowing “safe and legal abortion.”
“The argument is heard that the unborn human is not a person, hence may not be the holder or subject of rights. How did this idea come about?” she asked.
The CBCP has strongly opposed the controversial Reproductive Health bill now being debated in the House of Representatives.
The “Protection of the Unborn Child” bill is seen to counter the RH bill by prohibiting the use “abortifacients, abortive acts and practices that induce abortion.”
During the hearing, Senator Ralph Recto, author of Senate Bill 2584, pushed for the inclusion of a provision that would require parental consent to teenagers who would like to have access to contraceptives.
Recto noted that it seemed that teenagers would have access to contraceptives in the RH bill.
“Will there be any problem if we out that in the bill or in the law later on that there must be parental consent na hindi naman pupwedeng pumunta halimbawa sa health center at kukuha ng contraceptives. Parang hindi naman tama yun (It’s not right that teenagers can just visit a health center and get hold of contraceptives),” he said.
At one point in the hearing, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile and Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito “ Sotto III, authors of Senate Bill 2497, lost their cool when the president of the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philipines, Dr. Patricia Minez Gomez, cited a study supposedly showing of the increasing number of maternal deaths in the country.
“Pinanganak ako ng wala pang mga doctor, wala pang mga midwife…kaya huwag mo kaming leleksyunan dito. Marami kaming karansanan (Do not lecture us, we are knowledgeable on the issue. I was born in a time when there were no doctors, not even midwives),” an irked Enrile told Gomez.
A total of 33 resource persons were invited to speak on the proposed measure.
Among those invited were Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Social Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman, Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales, representatives from non-government organizations, academe, private sector and health care providers.
Originally posted at 10:58 am | Monday, May 30, 2011