Majority of Filipinos want a law on contraceptives - SWS

By MAUREEN S. MAQUIDDANG, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak

Posted at Oct 15 2008 05:42 PM | Updated as of Oct 16 2008 01:55 AM

Despite pressure from the Catholic Church, a recent survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that majority of the Filipinos say there should be a law legalizing the distribution of contraceptives.

In its latest SWS survey conducted September 24-27, 68% agree that there must be a law that obliges the government to distribute legal contraceptives like condoms, Intrauterine device (IUD), and pills to people who want to avail themselves of these.

The remaining 15% disagree and 16% were undecided on the issue.

“It is undeniable that the Filipino people are the ones demanding information and services,” Benjamin de Leon, president of The Forum for Family Planning and Development (The Forum), said in press conference.

In the survey, the respondents were asked to agree or disagree with three statements: 1) The use of legal contraceptives like condoms, IUDs and pills can aslo be considered as abortion; 2) There should be a law that requires government to distribute legal contraceptives; 3) If family planning would be included in the curriculum, the youth would be sexually promiscuous.

Out of the 1, 500 respondents, 50% do not agree that the use of contraceptives is a form of abortion, 68% agree that there must be a law that requires the government to distribute legal contraceptives and 54% disagree that including family planning in the school curriculum would lead the youth to be sexually promiscuous.

The respondents were composed of 81% Catholics and 19% Non-Catholics; 50% are males and 50% females; 8% come from classes ABC, 64% from class D and 27% from class E.

“More than 2/3 of Filipinos regardless of gender, regardless of geography, regardless of religious beliefs…strongly support a law that will require government to distribute legal contraceptives to people who want to avail themselves of these. They do not consider it to be abortion. And they do not think it will make them promiscuous,” said Felipe Medalla, former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) head.

De Leon said that the survey results should serve as a reason for Congress to pass House Bill No. 5043 or the Reproductive Health bill.

“We do hope that with this latest survey results, our legislators in the House of Representatives won’t have any qualms passing the Reproductive Health (RH) bill which would benefit millions if not thousands of couples in the whole country,” said De Leon.

The Catholic Church’s position against contraceptives is based on one of the seven encyclicals published by Pope Paul VI in 1968 called Humane Vitae. It states that sex is only permissible within a marriage, and married couples are not allowed to engage in sex outside of procreation.