Many discussions -- online and otherwise -- exploring House Bill 5043 are ongoing. No matter what side of the fence you're on, or whether or not you're still only scratching the surface of the issues involved, you owe it to yourself to be informed.
"The right to make one's own choices" has been trumpeted a lot lately. Some have even gone so far as to say that opposing HB 5043 is the same as being against freedom and people's right to make their own choices. After careful study of the bill, it becomes clearer why the opposite is true.
Here's an excerpt from an article that will shed more light on the whole issue, providing background information as well:
Access to contraceptives is already unrestricted in the Philippines. The government family planning service, which has been in place since the 1970s, has an infrastructure of workers all the way down to the grassroots. The private sector is equally active; the International Planned Parenthood Federation supports two federations of NGOs providing various types of family planning services: Family Planning Organizations of the Philippines, and PNGOC (Philippine NGO Council), the latter with 97 member groups. Sex education is also an integral part of the high school curriculum.
So what is the purpose of House Bill 5043, which is entitled “An Act Providing for a National Policy on Reproductive Health, Responsible Parenthood and Population Development”? Raul del Mar, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, has described it as pushing an open door. If so, what makes it so objectionable to the church and those legislators and members of the public who are pushing from the other side?
The answer is, coercion. The contraceptive-driven fertility decline program of HB 5043 may be the most coercive ever designed outside China. It obliges the government to provide free contraceptive services and products; it establishes an “ideal” family size, setting the stage for a proposed two-child policy; it imposes a national sex education curriculum at fifth grade level. Couples would be denied a civil marriage license unless they present a “certificate of compliance” from a family planning office certifying that they have been adequately instructed in family planning and “responsible parenthood”.
If before, quota-driven programs have led to gross human rights violations, this time around this bill could easily penalize with fines and jail sentences workers who will be unable to meet their quota. Employers who refuse to provide reproductive health care services to their employees will likewise be subject to penalties. Worse, it curtails freedom of speech, since any person who dares to talk against the program will also be subject to jail sentence and fines.
This program turns the Philippines into a veritable police state with the government using police powers to interfere in the personal affairs of its citizens.
Read The Filipino front in the culture wars at MercatorNet