A GUIDE TO ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL This matrix has been prepared by a group of Catholics who feel that a systematic comparison of the arguments for and against the reproductive health (RH) bill may still serve some purpose at this juncture. It may help to bring the debate from the emotional temper which has characterized it thus far, to a more rational temper in which both sides attempt to comprehend each other’s perspectives. It is hoped that this presentation will allow each side to view the other’s argumentation as the legitimate offering of reasons in good faith which ought to characterize a democratic process of deliberation. Such a process must be valued equally by all who are committed to living together in a democracy, be they Catholic or non-Catholic, pro- or anti-contraception. Questions in the final column are provided to aid further reflection, with a view to clarifying positions and, perhaps, to building compromises that are morally and politically acceptable to both sides. Eleanor R. Dionisio
I. LEGISLATION OF AN RH-BILL Necessity of RH Bill
1. Overpopulation 1. Overpopulation is not the problem. The problems are government corruption and the unequal distribution of wealth and resources. 1. Managing population growth is not the sole solution to poverty but is part of the solution. Are overpopulation and graft and corruption mutually exclusive issues? Or ought they to be addressed simultaneously?
2. Availability/Provision of RH information, resources and services
2. RH information and services are already available.
Access to RH information and services is difficult for the poor. Local government officials can also prevent access through local legislation.
Is It legitimate for local government units unilaterally to enact laws that limit access to RH information and services in their localities?
3. Healthcare for mothers and children, especially among the poor and
3. Other laws already cover many healthcare issues, such as breastfeeding, domestic
3. Providing poor couples with options for planning families can help further to improve
Is the Church doing enough to educate poor couples about Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
violence, HIV/AIDS discrimination, and drug regulation.
the life chances of mothers and children.
Are existing health care policies and programs adequate to the needs of mothers and children? Is the Church doing enough to support and push for the provision of health care for mothers and children by existing policies and programs? How does one strike a balance between recognizing universal goods that must be protected and respecting the different ways religious traditions interpret the protection of these goods?
Morality of RH Bill
The RH Bill is not just a Catholic issue but concerns universal human rights and values. The Bill threatens intrinsic rights, such as the right to life, health, education of children, and religious freedom.
Because the RH Bill affects all Filipinos, not just Catholics, it allows every Filipino to choose the method of family planning and sexual education that is consistent with one’s religious beliefs and moral convictions. The Bill actually protects human rights by providing freedom of choice. While each religious group is free and encouraged to express its moral convictions, the State cannot favor one religious group over the others. The constitutional guarantee of religious freedom obligates the State to protect religious minorities from the legislative imposition of the beliefs of religious majorities.
Separation of Church and State
The State should adopt the Catholic position because the majority of Filipinos are Catholic.
What is the proper relationship between the Catholic Church and a democratic government of a religiously plural society?
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