Aquino reiterates stance: 'I am against abortion'
MANILA, Philippines – A day after Malacañang recognized differences in opinion between the church and state on the use of contraceptives, it released a statement showing similarities in their stance on responsible parenthood.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda shared President Benigno Aquino III's perspectives on responsible parenthood on Wednesday, January 21, following Pope Francis’ stance and statements against contraceptives and preserving “the inalienable right to life, beginning with that of the unborn child.”
Aquino's perspectives on responsible parenthood are the following:
- I am against abortion.
- I am in favor of giving couples the right to choose how best to manage their families so that in the end, their welfare and that of their children are best served.
- The State must respect each individual’s right to follow his or her conscience and religious convictions on matters and issues pertaining to the unity of the family and the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death.
- In a situation where couples, especially the poor and disadvantaged ones, are in no position to make an informed judgment, the State has the responsibility to so provide.
- In the range of options and information provided to couples, natural family planning and modern methods shall be presented as equally available.
Malacañang has found itself defending the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) law following the Philippine visit of the Pope.
Francis has said that good Catholics do not have to breed "like rabbits," defending the Church's stance on artificial contraception.
"The key teaching of the Church is responsible parenthood. And how do we get that? By dialogue. There are marriage groups in the Church, experts, and pastors," the Pope added.
His comments came at the end of a trip to the Philippines, the Catholic Church's Asian stronghold, which last year passed a family planning law after a 15-year battle waged by the Church to block state-sanctioned contraception.
The law allows the government to begin distributing free contraceptives to millions of poor Filipinos.
Lacierda insisted, however, that the church and the government have a similar stance on responsible parenthood, saying the only difference between their opinions is “the choice" of how one exercises responsible parenthood.
“The President’s statement has always been this: that parents should be responsible for the the well-being and the care for each child that they bring in to the world,” he told reporters. “So it’s important for the President and for every parent that each child they have should be cared for well. And that’s where responsible parenthood comes in.”
He said it is clear the Pope advocates natural family planning. With the RH law, parents now have a slew of options on how to fulfill this.
“We are also encouraging natural family planning method, if it is in accord with your conscience. For those who would like to prefer other uses there are the options that are provided. We are not imposing one particular method over the other that’s why we have a conscious and mature decision to choose what method you want to use,” Lacierda said.
He added: “Bottom line is: the family is the foundation of a strong society. We need to encourage that; we need to protect that.”
The passage of the RH bill was a rare loss for the Church, one of the Philippines' most powerful institutions and continues to count more than 80% of the nation's 100 million people as members. It continues to split opinon among Filipinos to this day, an issue again brought to the surface after the Pope's visit. – Rappler.com