If RH law passes, 'D.E.A.T.H.S. bills' are next, warns Catholic Church official

By Raïssa Robles

Posted at Dec 11 2012 10:21 PM | Updated as of Dec 12 2012 06:22 AM

Four months ago, a Catholic Church official explained to me why the Church was fighting tooth and nail against the passage of a Reproductive Health Law even though it would force no one to use contraceptives and would simply inform and give couples free choice of family planning methods.

Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines secretary general Joselito Asis said: "If the RH bill becomes law, the D.E.A.T.H.S bills will follow next – Divorce, Euthanasia, Abortion, Total Reproductive Health, Homosexuality or gay marriages, and Sex education."

The prelate pointed out that in fact a divorce bill is now pending in the House. But he did not explain what “Total Reproductive Health” meant; or why enactment of the “D.E.A.T.H.S. bills would follow next; or why sex education was bad.

If enacted, the Reproductive Health Law – that is now pending in Congress – aims to provide free information and health care services to Filipinos to enable them to plan their families to the size they want. There is no compulsion for anyone to use artificial birth control; no limits to the number of children a family can have; and no mandated population targets.

The law will, for the first time, enable the state to provide  free health care services and information on how to plan according to the number of children couples want. Unlike in China, the law does not dictate the size of the family and does not set a population target. It also reiterates the ban against abortion.

A senior government official separately told me that no less than the Vatican has hit the panic button on the RH issue. The Philippines is the only predominantly Catholic country today without a divorce law. It is one of the few such countries without any law institutionalizing free distribution of condoms and other contraceptives by the state to those who want them.