We have $163,080 to go in our Fall Campaign. Every penny is used to strengthen the Church. See details!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

In the Philippines, another assault on the integrity of marriage

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jul 11, 2013

Under the new “reproductive health” law approved by legislators in the Philippines, couples would need a certificate of compliance from local family-planning officials in order to obtain a marriage license. I’m still waiting for the howls of protest from liberals who want to “keep government out of the bedroom.”

The law in the Philippines—which will take effect unless the country’s top court finds it unconstitutional—puts the government squarely in the middle of discussions about family size. Those family-planning officials are charged with helping couples to “achieve their desired family size within the context of responsible parenthood.” If you’re wondering what that means, the answer comes at the end of the same sentence, with a directive to “encourage them to have two children as the ideal family size.”

Clearly the intention of this bill is not to allow contraception; it’s to enforce contraception. Couples who dare to have 3 or 4 children are not actually classified as outlaws—yet—but they will undoubtedly be subjected to mounting pressure, as the government fields a team of busybodies to inquire about their contraceptive use. Ann Roback Morse of the Population Research Institute argues persuasively that the coercive intent of the new law could make the Philippines “the next China.”

How did the government usurp the right of parents to make their own decisions about family size? Since time immemorial it has been understood in all but the most repressive societies that married couples are free to bear children—that the government has no rightful say in their child-bearing decisions. Now that fundamental right is under open attacks.

In the US (and other Western nations), the attack is coming from a different direction, with the drive to re-define marriage. If the government can change the meaning of marriage by fiat, then the marital bond, traditionally recognized as a license to reproduce, is only as strong as the latest trend in political opinion. You are married if the government says you’re married; you may have children if the government grants permission. Your marriage, your family, your children are not properly yours, but the gifts of the state.

In the Philippines, if the repressive law goes into effect, social workers might try to remove children from the home of a large family, reasoning that the parents had created an unhealthy atmosphere by having many children. The law, stipulating that the 2-child family is ideal, would look with favor on the argument that couples with many children are unfit parents.

Now in the US, what would happen if tomorrow the government proclaimed that your marriage was invalid? (Is that preposterous? We’ve already been told by many American legislatures and courts that marriage doesn’t mean what we always thought it meant.) You might suddenly be forced to fight for custody of your children, and the law would not necessarily be on your side. If the government controls your marriage, the government controls your children as well.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($163,080 to go):
$200,000.00 $36,919.72
82% 18%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: garedawg - Jul. 12, 2013 10:52 AM ET USA

    Of course, the libertarians will use this as an argument for the government getting out of "the marriage business" altogether, including restrictions on same-sex unions and polygamy. They will say: "If the state cannot regulate how many kids you have, then it cannot say who can and who cannot adopt."

Fall Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

A different tone at this Synod? 8 hours ago
Church Fathers: St. Clement of Alexandria, Part I 10 hours ago
Internalizing marriage at this year's synod 12 hours ago
Gay Vatican official who 'came out' may influence Synod in a way he didn't expect--or want October 5
Another serial killer? Blame 'religious rage.' October 5

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope issues new rules to streamline annulment process CWN - September 8
In Cuba, Pope emphasizes service to the vulnerable, praises thaw in US-Cuban relations CWN - September 21
Pope challenges America in speech to US Congress CWN - September 24
As Synod opens, Pope calls on Church to defend ‘unity and indissolubility’ of marriage bond CWN - October 5