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Philippine bishops emphasize opposition to sex education, population control bills

Catholic World News - July 27, 2010

On the eve of President Benigno Aquino III’s first state of the nation address, the Philippine bishops issued a pastoral exhortation denouncing legislative proposals on sex education and population control.

Noting that President Aquino campaigned against corruption, the bishops stated that “real corruption is moral and spiritual corruption. The rejection or disregard of morality and religious belief is at the core of corruption … the fight against moral and spiritual corruption in our society is not only the duty of the Church. It is also the duty of the government.”

“The failures rates of contraceptives against sexually transmitted diseases are high,” the bishops added. “Oral contraceptive pills are classified as Group I carcinogenic … With its very liberal sex education programs and its aggressive attitude in pushing contraceptives and condoms for safe sex, the United States still has the highest teen birth rate, 93.0 per 1000, and one of the highest rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) among teens in the industrialized world.”

The bishops also discussed the abortifacient nature of some contraceptives.

Like its predecessor the main purpose of House Bill 96 is to make barren what is by nature fruitful and generative of human life. It promotes contraceptive barriers, techniques, supplies, and services that control fertility as if it were a disease. Science has proven that some contraceptives render the mother’s womb inhospitable, thereby causing abortion. And abortion, as Pope John Paul II has cited in “Evangelium Vitae,” the Gospel of Life, was the instrument of the first systematic population control program by a dominant power on a poor slave population, as narrated in the book of Exodus (cf. Ex. 1: 8-22). Moreover the Constitution protects “the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception” (Art. II, Sec. 12). And conception is the moment of fertilization. At implantation the new life is already a seven-day old human being.

Objecting to the premises of population control, the bishops added:

Many people think that to reduce poverty it is necessary to control population. We would raise serious questions regarding this opinion. Does this opinion not have a certain bias against the poor? In population control are not the real targets the millions of poor families whose numbers must be reduced?

Moreover, it is our belief that the causes of poverty are complex. We believe that poverty is caused by flawed development philosophies, plans and priorities, by corruption, by inequitable wealth distribution and access to economic resources and benefits, by poor delivery of social services, by unjust economic policies, and by imbalances in our political structures that favor the few and powerful over the many poor. It is social injustice that is at the root of poverty. And social injustice is simply another name for moral and spiritual corruption, the jettisoning of moral and spiritual values from private and public life.

If this is so, would not the overwhelming attention to control population be a convenient way to ignore the greater causes that keep our poor people below the poverty line? These are the causes of poverty, the removal of which would comprehensively transform our social order and establish social justice.

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