Editorial: Moving on

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

THE Supreme Court has declared Republic Act 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, as constitutional, except for certain provisions that it deemed as unconstitutional. The long-drawn battle between the pros and the antis has come to an end, or at least has shifted to another arena.

The ruling was made during an interesting period in the Catholic Church, whose leaders in the Philippines engaged the proponents of the reproductive health (RH) law in a bruising war. A pope pushing for a new approach in the practice of the faith is now at the helm.

While Pope Francis has not changed the Catholic Church’s view on abortion and contraception, two sensitive issues tackled by the RH law, he essentially reined in the clergy and its partisans.


In an interview late last year, the Pope talked about finding a “new balance” in the Church’s advocacy. “The Church has sometimes locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules,” he said. “The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials.”

Since Francis’s assumption of the papacy, the Catholic Church has lessened the virulence with which it sometimes pushed its teachings on sensitive issues. That is why we have not been hearing as of late the same vicious attack of the RH law by the Church hierarchy, unlike when Benedict XVI was still pope.

That is why we expect the Philippine clergy to shift to a different and broad-minded strategy in tackling the moral concerns that it raised when the RH measure was proposed. With the implementation of the RH law, the discussion of these moral concerns has become even more necessary.

As for the proponents of the law, they should help ensure that the RH law will really make a difference in the lives of the people, as what they have been claiming. The lowering of the birth rate, teen pregnancy, and maternal death, for example, is among the positive effects of the RH law the proponents spun to get public support for the measure.

Cebuanos have a phrase for this post-RH law phase: “makita na ang katag.” Now we will see if the RH law is really the game-changer that its proponents have been insisting.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 10, 2014.


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