Philippines' growing reproductive measure debate
There have been measures by the Philippine government to curb the country's rapid population growth, from the controversial to the insidious. But in this predominantly Catholic nation, the Church has the last say, influencing all corners of society with its stance against artifical birth control.
In a pastoral letter released last week by Ozamiz Archbishop Jesus Dosado, he asks for the denial of holy communion to Catholic legislators who push for the passing of a reproductive health bill.
The political and legal doctrine separating the Church and the State is blurred in this country of almost 90 million, especially when it involves reproduction and population.
The first victim--Quezon City councilor Joseph Juico, who had to look for a new venue for his wedding amidst the controversy which has reached the Cubao diocese where he was to wed.
“I felt bad about it,” the 31-year-old councilor told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent company of INQUIRER.net). “It made me question my faith.”
Juico said he became the subject of scorn from local Catholic Church leaders and pro-life advocates after he introduced a population management ordinance for Quezon City.
The issue has also caused division within the church community.
Senator Rodolfo Biazon, who sponsors a reproductive health care bill pending at the Senate, delineates urgent passage of his policy.
"The 400,000 cases of abortion every year are the result of unwanted pregnancies and unplanned families. A government policy and program on family planning and reproductive health would reduce these cases of underground abortion," Biazon said at a press conference.
The Philippines has one of the highest population growth rates in the region with 2.36 percent. According to studies, an environmentally and socially sustainable growth rate is below two percent.