Responsible Parenthood Sensible Approach in Poverty Alleviation

Saying responsible parenthood is a sensible approach in poverty alleviation, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson on Tuesday threw his support behind President Benigno Aquino III in pushing the passage of the Responsible Parenthood (RP) bill. 

Lacson said Mr. Aquino is on the right track in pushing population management to curb the perennial problem of poverty.

“Finding ways to curb our monstrous population growth rate, which has been a major part of our poverty problem, is one sensible approach in poverty alleviation. Advocating population management is not being anti-life. In fact, it is pro-country and pro-people,” Lacson said.

But he stressed this is no pitch for abortion, which he said is a crime and has no place in the definition of responsible parenthood.

“Any form of abortion should be condemned and punished. That much is clear,” he said.

On Sunday, Mr. Aquino told graduates of the University of the Philippines he is willing to risk excommunication from the Catholic Church to push the RP bill.

The RP bill has encountered opposition from the Catholic Church for allowing artificial contraception as part of population management. The Church favors only natural family planning.

In the 14th Congress, Lacson filed Senate Bill 43, which encourages reproductive health and population management, yet rejects abortion and considers it a grave criminal offense.

He chided some sectors for claiming such legislation – which include a systematic information campaign, support systems and incentives – is anti-life.

Lacson also maintained population management is urgent now as most poor Filipinos do not have enough food or access to basic services.

“There is not enough food on the table, many are homeless, the poor have almost zero opportunity to have access to education, health care and the most basic social services, which they can otherwise enjoy with an efficient but moral population management program,” he said.

Lacson’s Senate Bill 43 seeks to create a reproductive health and population management council to implement an integrated policy on reproductive health.

The bill contains provisions for timely, complete and accurate information and education on reproductive health, and access to safe, adequate and affordable reproductive health care services – all as a preventive measure against abortion.

It promotes a population management program that aims to encourage the limitation of the number of children to an affordable level of two children per family; discourage migration to urban centers and decongesting thickly populated areas; promote effective partnership among the national government, local government units and the private sector on population management; and conduct studies on and provide incentives for the deceleration of population growth.

Yet it continues to ban abortion, which is a crime under the Revised Penal Code.