Those opposed to the Bill assert that the Philippines does not have a population problem and that the focus of public policy should instead be on the corruption problem. They argue that a large population resulting from rapid population growth is, in fact, good for the economy. They add that attempts to slow population growth are ill-advised as they would only hasten the onset of the “demographic winter” or the problem of ageing currently experienced by the advanced countries in Europe. Moreover, the Catholic Church hierarchy and conservative religious groups assert that the RH bill is pro-abortion and is thus anti-life. This is because, in their view, modern contraceptives – which the RH bill proposes to make available along with the traditional methods (including “natural family planning”) – are abortifacient. Those in favor of the Bill cite the conventional argument that slower population growth facilitates economic growth, poverty reduction, and preservation of the environment, as clearly shown by the experience of the other East and Southeast Asian countries. Economic growth is facilitated by higher private and public savings – owing to slower growth of the youth dependents – required for investment in human capital (i.e., spending on education and health per person) and infrastructure. Slower population growth combined with faster economic growth leads to significant poverty reduction, human development, and lower inequality. And slower population growth lessens the stress on the environment. Furthermore, the pro-RH bill advocates invoke household survey data showing that women – poor women in particular – are having more children than they want and can adequately provide for. Poor women are unable to achieve their desired number of children due to lack of access to affordable modern and effective family planning methods. Unintended or mistimed pregnancies result in most of about 560,000 induced and illegal abortions annually, such...
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