Saturday, December 5, 2009

Candidates shy away from family planning bill

by Fel V. Maragay

Original Story:

MOST presidential candidates are not supporting the Reproductive Health Bill, believing that the state should not interfere in couples’ decision over how many children they should have.

In the forum at the University of Santo Tomas, former President Joseph Estrada of Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi, Senator Richard Gordon of Bagumbayan, evangelist Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas, and Olongapo Councilor J.C. de los Reyes of Kapatiran said the government should teach couples responsible parenthood and not tell them which family planning method to use.

The bill seeks to promote the use of artificial contraceptives.

Only Senator Benigno Aquino III of the Liberal Party and Nicanor Perlas of the Partido ng Masa-independent favored strengthening the hand of government in encouraging birth control to limit the size of a family.

The presidential candidates were cautious in explaining their stand on the sensitive issue so as not to offend the influential Catholic Church that is critical of politicians advocating the pill, condom and intra-uterus devices to lower the national birth rate.

“I am very much against government intervention there. Let us give all the families, especially the women, complete freedom to decide how many children they can afford,” Estrada told the forum.

Estrada’s stunted presidency batted for active involvement in birth control, believing rapid population growth stunts economic progress.

“Freedom of choice” should be respected and Congress should dump the RH bill, which has provoked “a lot of conflict,” Teodoro said.

Original Story:

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