(A Pastoral Statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines)
Beloved People of God:
Greetings of love and peace in the Lord Jesus to you and your beloved families!
St. Paul exhorted Timothy: “Before God and before Jesus Christ who is to be judge of the living and the dead, I put this duty to you, in the name of his Appearing and of his kingdom: proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience – but to all with patience and with the intention of teaching” (2 Tim 4-1-2).
We must always heed the words of the St. Paul to teach, welcome or unwelcome, and to correct error – but with great urgency today.
House Bill 4110 now under consideration by Health Committee in the House of Representatives proposes a law that contains beliefs contrary to the teachings of the Church.
To d o this House Bill 4110 uses subtle and deceptive language and methods:
1. House Bill 4110 uses the terms “reproductive health care” and “reproductive rights.” These words seem harmless enough.
a. But in truth the term “reproductive health care” as now used internationally, beginning with the United Nation’s Cairo document, explicitly includes abortion – the most abominable crime.
b. “Reproductive health care” and “reproductive rights” also include other ambiguous ideas, such as a “satisfying and safe sex life.” In. the context of House Bill 4110, this would include a “constellation of methods, techniques, and services,” the “full range of supplies, facilities, and equipment” that would safeguard “reproductive health.” It is in this way that the bill unreservedly promotes the whole range of contraceptive devices that could be imagined. Unconscionably, House Bill 4110 would even make such devices available to adolescents, by virtue of “reproductive rights” for the sake of “reproductive health.”
2. The proponents of House Bill 4110 claim that they do not want to change the law on abortions:
a. So the proponents of House Bill 4110 have redefined the meaning of conception. We believe that human conception takes place at fertilization. But they claim that conception takes place at the implantation, of the fertilized ovum in the mother’s womb. Therefore, they say that before a fertilized ovum attaches itself to the womb of the mother, it is not human and has no rights. By this reason, they can interrupt the journey of the fertilized ovum to the mother’s womb and deny that it is abortion.
b. Moreover, House Bill 41 10 does not acknowledge the documented abortifacient effect of pills, injectables, implants, and the IUD, that all render the mother’s womb unable to receive and nurture the embryo up to nine months.
c. And finally following the recommendations of the Cairo document, House Bill 4110 requires a review of all laws that “infringe on sexual and reproductive health and rights of all individuals.” Moreover, it encourages legislative bodies to repeal and amend restrictive laws and “eradicate xxx laws and policies that infringe on a person’s exercise of sexual and reproductive health and rights.” Such a general agenda would certainly affect the law against abortion.
3. Authors of House Bill 4110 often refer to the many cases of deaths due to “unsafe abortion.” Abortion is criminal and tragic. But the vague language of House Bill 4110 referring to “voluntary reproductive health procedures” or “safe reproductive health care services” certainly lead to the idea that “safe abortions” are allowable.
A careful reading of House Bill 4110 will reveal the following errors:
What was and still is a moral issue – the stewardship given by God to the human person over his or her body – has become simply a health issue, Some proponents of House Bill 4110 even distort such moral stewardship by claiming that unimpeded mastery over one’s own body is a “human right.”
House Bill 4110 erroneously assumes that population growth is the cause of poverty. We know that development is the result of a more complex interplay of education, good governance, integrity and transparency, trade, industry,agriculture, etc.
The whole tenor of House Bill 4110 distorts the Christian ideal of human sexuality and of responsible parenthood as a sacred sharing in the creative power of God requiring a sacred fusion of parental love and a sincere gift of self in transmitting and nurturing life.
It fosters an amoral culture of interpersonal relationships in society, a culture that relegates morality and sacredness to the fringes of human life.
We certainly want to defend and promote the health and the rights of all women in our society. We have done so in the past. We will continue to do so. But House Bill 4110 is not the way to do this. It has many serious errors that contravene the teaching of the Church. Therefore, we must reject House Bill 4110.
For this reason we communicate this teaching to you in the same way that St. Paul exhorted Timothy. Hold on to this teaching, proclaim it, welcome and unwelcome, insist on it.
With devout prayer in our hearts to God we are confident that our Catholic legislators will act in accordance with the moral beliefs they have received from God through His Church.
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:
+ORLANDO B. QUEVEDO, OMI, D.D.
Archbishop of Cotabato
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
May 31, Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Back to: CBCP Documents