NEW YORK - President Benigno Aquino III once again made a pitch for the Reproductive Health (RH) bill here in the United States, citing that he does not mind earning the ire of the Catholic Church if it means educating his countrymen on the responsibility that comes with bringing children into the world.
Aquino made the same pitch during his working visit to the US last year.
He admitted that his government’s policy has gotten him in conflict with certain conservative members of the clergy.
In a discussion at the Asia Society on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning in Manila), Aquino reiterated the need to separate the actions of the state and the church, adding that a bill that encourages responsible parenthood is a way of uplifting the lives of marginalized Filipinos.
He cited anecdotal examples of an impoverished 16-year-old mother of two that he met in Baseco, and a member of his security detail, who cannot afford to pay for the college education of his eldest child because he has 7 other children to feed.
The President, who is a Catholic, challenged the church when he said: "When I’ll be asked by God at some point in time--'What did you do to the least of my brethren?'--I want to be able to say that we stopped the condition where nobody seemed to care enough to educate them and empower them to effect their own decisions."