MANILA, Philippines — Albay Representative Edcel Lagman on Monday told advocates of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill not to fear the backlash of a negative Catholic vote.
In a statement, the main proponent of the RH Bill said that the fears of support on the proposed measure resulting in a negative Catholic vote had “no empirical basis.”
He said that local parishes’ priests “do not articulate with the same ferocity anti-RH tirades of some bishops because they are more aware of the ill-effects of the population problem on their parishioners.”
Citing data from the Social Weather Station’s survey back in October 2008, the legislator said that majority of Catholics at the time were in favor of the RH Bill. The survey pegged Catholics in support of the enactment of the RH Bill at 71 percent, adding that those backing the bill’s approval were “even higher among weekly church-going Catholics at 73 percent.”
“The Catholic vote is for the enactment of the RH Bill,” Lagman maintained, again citing data from SWS in March 2010 which showed that “most will vote for pro-RH Bill candidates with 38 percent of Filipino voters.” The survey stated that only six percent said they would not vote for legislators in support of the RH Bill while 20 percent said the issue would not affect their votes.
He also cited Pulse Asia reports which said 93 percent of Filipinos felt family planning was important while 82 percent believed that the state should inform couples about family planning methods.
“Fear is bankrupt of reason and should not be allowed to deter legislation and policy making,” Lagman said.
“Fear has always been used by the clergy as an instrument of repression and reprisal like fear of eternal damnation, fear of excommunication, fear of offending religious ministers, fear of contraceptives as abortifacients and carcinogenic, and fear of demographic winter,” he added.