Bishops, women’s rights advocates clash about morality in RH bill debate

( In GMA News TV’s Grand Debate yesterday, May 22, proponents and detractors of the controversial Reproductive Health Bill (House Bill 4244) expressed varying viewpoints about the reproductive health issue-from missing the moral mark to its potential threats to health, reports GMA News.


According to the report, Roman Catholic Bishop Teodoro Bacani has said that the bill "ignored" the moral dimension of the issue by condoning birth control methods like condoms and pills. Bacani emphasized that giving Filipinos access to these family planning methods is the "fatal flaw" of the bill.


However, Bishop Efraim Tendero of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches rebutted that the bill provides better lives for children. "Ang bill na ito ay ayon sa Bibliya... Ang RH bill ay moral dahil ito ay ayon sa utos ng Diyos na pangalagaan ang sanlibutan at bigyan ang mga anak ng dignidad. (This bill is in accordance with the Bible’s teachings... The RH Bill is moral because it follows God’s law to care for the society and give its children dignity.)


University of the Philippines Center for Women’s Studies professor Sylvia Claudio echoed Tendero’s sentiments, adding that the Church no longer reflects the choices of most Filipinos. Fellow UP professor Aliza Racelis, on the other hand, had other concerns-that contraceptives can affect women’s health. "Maaari po itong magdulot ng cancer or kung minsan pa’y kamatayan (Contraceptives can cause cancer or death)."


For widow Pia Magalona, wife of Francis Magalona, parental responsibility plays an important role in the bill. In the same article, the mother of eight said, "Hindi po sapat na iluwal lang ang bata. May obligasyon tayo na palakihin ang bata... Mas imoral na magkaroon ng maraming anak na hindi mo nabibigyan ng pansin. (It’s not enough to just give birth. We have an obligation to nurture the child... It’s more immoral to have more children that one can actually manage)."



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