By Efren L. Danao, Senior Reporter
The Manila Times
The Catholic Church’s insistence on natural contraception is “outdated and archaic,” Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said on Monday as she expressed support for bills on reproductive health.
“The Catholic religious should get real!” she added.
Senators Rodolfo Biazon and Panfilo Lacson have filed separate bills on reproductive health. These were similar to the ones they had filed in the previous Congress, but which were archived because of strong opposition from the Catholic Church.
The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have been opposing these bills which they considered as pro-abortion. Some had even declared that authors of these bills would be denied the holy sacraments. The Church had often campaigned actively against the election of politicians favoring reproductive health and insisted that family planning is best pursued through natural methods.
Santiago said that the “natural-law mentality” of the Church in the Middle Ages had prevented many advances in medical science. At the same time, she noted that Catholic teachings had since been evolutionary, like those on religious liberty and usury which were banned before but are now accepted.
She cited the final report of the Papal Birth Control Commission, which had adopted the principle of totality, or that sexuality is not meant only for procreation.
“Vatican 2 insisted that the decision to have children must take into account the welfare of the spouses and their children, the material and spiritual conditions of the times, their state in life, the interests of the family group, of society and of the Church,” Santiago said.
Biazon said he had been filing and refiling bills on reproductive health because he believed that the Philippines needs a population-management program that conforms with the will of the majority.
“We are now 90 million. We will hit 100 million by 2013. Two million babies are born every year. And per record and studies, there are more than 400,000 cases of abortion every year because of unwanted pregnancies and unplanned families,” he added.
Biazon claimed that the “unbridled” growth must be tamed to tolerable level through a family-planning policy or it would outstrip food production.