RH law advocates mount last ditch campaign for measure
MANILA, Philippines—As judgement day on the controversial reproductive health (RH) law draws closer, its advocates and supporters urged Catholic bishops to be open-minded about the measure aimed to help curb poverty and to heed Pope Francis’ appeal for “new balance” in their pastoral ministry.
Hundreds of advocates and supporters of the RH law on Friday trooped to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) headquarters in Intramuros, Manila, to offer white flowers for unity and read an open letter reminding them of Pope Francis’ call to veer away from their “obsession” with contraception.
The group, composed of women from urban poor communities, students and the youth, also passed by the Rizal Park before proceeding to the Supreme Court, which was expected to make a decision after its final deliberations on the controversial law on April 8 during its summer session in Baguio City.
Actress Giselle Toengi also joined Friday’s activity, saying she supported the cause and she hoped that people would realize the urgency of implementing the programs of the RH law.
The RH law mandates the promotion of all forms of birth control, including artificial contraception, in government health programs and the inclusion of sex education classes in all schools.
In its open letter, the group said the bishops must join them in their efforts to eliminate poverty in ways supported by their moral teachings instead of opposing the law.
“In the spirit of the Pope’s call for a ‘new balance,’ we hope that you just join us in trying to feed the hungry, heal the sick and uphold freedom and justice in the Philippines,” said Bicbic Chua, executive director of Catholics for Reproductive Health, reading from a letter addressed to the CBCP.
In an interview with reporters, Chua said it was time for the bishops to be open-minded about the measure and deviate from their old ways of preaching so they can see the the real plight of the poor.
“They should not impose their decision on the matter. Even Pope Francis said they should stop their obsession with contraception, abortion and homosexuality,” said Chua.
In an interview in September last year, the Argentine Pontiff remarked that there was a need to break with the Church’s harsh “obsession” with divorce, gays, contraception and abortion.
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