pope benedict gives RH Bill strength
by all angles, this is a very strange development – the RH Bill proponents have found a new ally against the CBCP and his name is Pope Benedict.
not that the CBCP has been winning the debate among catholics, but with the pope’s statement, the CBCP has lost any sense of moral standing in arguing against the use of condoms which is allowed in the RH Bill. we are saying the CBCP has lost the argument with its own flock as research shows a high 70% of catholics support the RH Bill.
the pope has effectively made the case for the RH Bill’s passage much easier than before.
Pope’s pronouncement on condoms strengthens RH bill – Lagman
By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 19:38:00 11/21/2010
MANILA, Philippines – A staunch advocate of the reproductive health bill welcomed on Sunday Pope Benedict XVI’s pronouncement that HIV-infected male prostitutes could use condoms to prevent the spread of the disease, adding that this weakened the local Catholic Church opposition to the RH bill.
House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, author of reproductive health measure House Bill 96, observed that this was a “departure from the strictly very conservative approach of the papacy and the Catholic Church” on contraception.
“That is a welcome development because the papacy is opening up to the eventual contraceptive use,” he said in an interview by phone.
“Once you have opened up and made an exception, the liberalization of the Church outlook has started. And we’d expect further liberalization. He has made an exception, then more exception would be forthcoming,” he added.
The Pope said HIV-carrying male prostitutes could use condoms as a first step of taking moral responsibility to avoid infecting partners, but stressed that this was not a “real or moral solution.”
Lagman said that the Pope’s comments “weakened the Church opposition” to the controversial RH measure, which would mandate the government to provide artificial and natural means of birth control in public health centers to ensure the spacing of children.
“That impacts on weakening the Church opposition, because that opens an exception to the Church tenets against contraceptive use,” he said.
Lagman declined, however, to say whether the pronouncement would draw even more votes for the RH bill in Congress. The bill has drawn the support of President Aquino and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
“The RH bill is already strong by itself. Whether the Pope says it or not, it does not diminish our advocacy and the import of the RH measure,” he said.
Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez, author of HB No. 13 seeking to protect the rights of the unborn child, offered a different view, and said that the Pope’s pronouncement was irrelevant to the RH measure.
“The Pope’s comment is more of a health matter because it’s talking about preventing infection. Whereas the RH bill is about population,” he said by phone. “You’re talking of HIV-infected persons. You’re not preventing babies, but preventing infection.”
Golez doubted that RH proponents could use the Pope’s pronouncement to their advantage since the Philippines had among the lowest incidence of HIV cases worldwide.
To prove his point, Golez quoted a Vatican analyst who said that he didn’t see the Pontiff’s comments as signaling a “sea change in the Church’s broader birth control policy, as condoning the use of a condom to prevent the spread of a disease is not the same as saying it’s okay to use one to prevent pregnancy.”
“I don’t think the RH group can use this to their advantage,” he later said in a text message.
The House committee on population and family relations is scheduled to hear Lagman’s HB 96 and other related measures on Wednesday.
Golez said he would raise objections to the bill’s referral to the committee on population, instead of the committee on health, it being “chiefly a health measure.” But Lagman maintained that the bill falls under the population committee.
“If it’s not referred to the committee on health, it will be anomalous,” Golez said.
Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose administration aligned with the Church position against the RH measure, has co-authored Golez’s HB 13 on the protection of the unborn child.
Golez said that she was “just being consistent” and said the fact the economy grew during her nine-year watch without controlling the population refuted the pro-RH argument that unchecked population could hinder economic growth.