MANILA, Philippines -- A lawmaker who supports the passage of the reproductive health (RH) bill admitted on Thursday that the opinion of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC, Church of Christ) sect is ?important? in determining the fate of House Bill 5043.
At a media forum, Representative Janette Garin of the first district of Iloilo said the church's stand could well determine if the bill gets the numbers to pass in the House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, INC spokesman Bienvenido Santiago, expressed support for the RH bill, saying: ?The Iglesia ni Cristo accepts modern family planning methods or the use of what others call ?contraceptives? as long as they are not abortifacient in nature and they do not impose prolonged abstinence from sexual intercourse among married couples.?
On the other hand, Santiago said the INC rejected ?natural? family planning, including the rhythm method, which he called ?really contrary to nature.?
Natural family planning is one of the choices made available by the RH bill and is the preferred method of the Catholic church and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
But Garin said that whether or not they get the numbers, ?at least we fought for it.?
A lawmaker opposed to the RH bill, Ma. Carissa Coscolluela of the Buhay party-list, said passing the measure would ?bring about a culture of promiscuity; at worst, a culture of death.?
?The greatest danger of the RH bill lies not only in its national policy mandating the widespread use and ready availability of life-threatening birth control devices, but more so in the severely misguided attitude towards life and pro-creation that it will implant in our youth,? she said.
Coscolluela added that the bill would reshape the way youths view sex. ?Future generations will be devoid of values, where casual sex is as common as watching a movie, where having children is no longer a blessing but a curse, and where contraception is as easy as buying eye drops at your local drug store,? she said.
But Garin countered this, saying the RH bill was ?pro-life? and they were pushing instead for a ?good quality of life.?
?We are strongly against abortion,? she added.