SUPPORTERS OF the responsible parenthood bill on Monday rallied behind President Benigno Aquino 3rd to pass the measure.
Former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, former Rep. Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan party-list and Protestant Bishop Rodrigo Tano said day that they will mobilize their ranks to inform the public of gains from the measure if it was passed by Congress.
Meanwhile, a Catholic bishop also on Monday said that President Aquino need not be excommunicated by the Church for supporting the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.
Cabral, who actively promoted the RH bill during her stint as Health secretary, said that as a doctor, it was her duty to tell women about the gains from the proposal.
“Giving every woman a chance to choose which way she wants to use in raising his family and be a responsible parent will help the government to slow down the birth rate,” Cabral told reporters during the weekly Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel forum.
She said that the bill is not favoring abortion and that it helps women schedule their births to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Cabral added that the measure also gives couples the choice of using medicines or minor surgery, such as vasectomy or tubal ligation, to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Lacson promised that he will help push for the early passage of the responsible parenthood bill in the Senate.
When asked by reporters on the chances of passing the responsible parenthood bill, he said that he cannot give a gauge yet since he was away from the country for the more than a year.
But Lacson added that before he left the country in February last year, he knew that many senators were supporting the measure.
Hontiveros, who advocated passage of the RH bill when she was a member of the House of Representatives, said that she was optimistic that the proposal will move faster in the chamber given the support of many lawmakers.
She said that the claim of the Catholic Church that conception starts when couples have sex was not true at all.
Other sectors’ support
Tano, the chairman of the Interfaith Partnership for the Promotion of Responsible Parenthood, said that it was high time that citizens open their mind that the RH bill was not advocating abortion.
He added that the measure will even enhance the economic status of couples because they will have a chance to do birth spacings through the use of contraceptives, and plan their family’s future.
Tano said that the advocacy of President Aquino during the 2010 election campaign that there will be a law on responsible parenthood passed under his term could be a milestone in his administration for he is the only president who was firm in passing such law.
A Catholic bishop said that no excommunication hangs over the head of Mr. Aquino despite his pushing the responsible parenthood hill and supporting the RH measure.
“There is no need for the Church to excommunicate the President,” Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said during an interview over Catholic-run Radyo Veritas.
“His conscience should decide if he has been a good Catholic and he is rightful to receive communion. The Church’s teaching is clear on this issue,” he added.
The Catholic Church opposes the passage of the RH bill,calling it “anti-life and anti-family.”
Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said that it was no longer necessary to continue holding dialogues between the Church and the government if the President has taken a stand on the issue.
Vidal, however, added that the Church will continue its campaign against the passage of the RH bill.
WITH REPORT FROM ROMMEL C. LONTAYAO