Doctors back bill seeking protection of the unborn

Posted By: Chris On:

MANILA, Dec. 7, 2010—The Catholic Church’s campaign for the protection of the unborn has gained support from the country’s biggest organization of medical practitioners.

A consultative meeting on the Reproductive Health bill was held on Monday between Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and the Philippines Medical Association (PMA) at its main office in Quezon City.

Dr. Arthur Catli, PMA executive director, described the preliminary talks as “very cordial” as both parties found commonalities especially on when life begins.

Catli revealed that in the said meeting, the PMA, through its specialty society the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society represented by its President Dr. Sylvia Carnero, claimed that “life begins at fertilization.”

This stand is also shared by the CBCP, said its secretary general Monsignor Juanito Figura.

“The PMA is against abortion and so is the CBCP. We doctors took an oath to save and protect human life and that definitely includes the unborn child. No doubt the CBCP supports our stand on this,” Catli said.

At the start of the meeting, the PMA also distributed to the CBCP panel led by Figura some copies of “An Act Providing for the Safety and Protection of the Unborn & for Other Purposes” by Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez.

Also known as House Bill 13, PMA media affairs chairman Dr. Mike Aragon said they are supporting the measure because of its “clear provisions” of being “pro-life.”

The PMA did not directly reject the RH bill saying it also has some good points but Aragon said they are one with the church and pro-life groups in pushing for the passage of the HB 13.

“We are for the protection of life especially of the unborn. It’s very clear that the bill seeks to protect the unborn,” said Aragon.

The CBCP earlier clarified it is not totally against the RH bill but only on certain provisions, Figura said, “which when seen from the moral point of view are not in agreement with the Catholic teachings.”

Large-scale public funding for artificial contraceptives such as condoms and pills is assured in the proposed measure.

Almost all versions of the bill classify contraceptives including intrauterine devices and injectables as essential medicines where billions of pesos of public funds will be used for its purchase.

Advocates of the RH bill disagree that artificial birth control is a form of abortion, which the Constitution disallows.

Figura said PMA’s position on the beginning of life could definitely boost the church’s campaign against contraception and abortion.

“What is clear now is that the PMA as an institution have that common agreement with the CBCP that, from their expertise as medical practitioners, human life begins at the stage of fertilization,” he said.

“Contrary to what the RH bill advocates are saying that life begins at implantation, the doctors are saying otherwise,” Figura stressed. “This is a very important thing.”

Both parties, he added, agreed that life should be protected from the moment of fertilization up to its natural death “because the doctors are committed to save lives.”

CBCP President Bishop Nereo Odchimar said they will consult legal and medical experts to help them prepare for a dialogue with Malacañang on controversial issues that surround government efforts to shape a reproductive health policy.

On the other hand, PMA President Dr. Oscar Tinio said that their organization would voluntarily offer its scientific and medical expertise on the reproductive health issue to both the government and the church.

“Medical doctors are major stakeholders and front liners in the reproductive health and wellness of our nation and we should be involved in any discussions concerning the issue,” Tinio said. (CBCPNews)

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