12/15/2014, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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Reproductive health law does not stop young Filipino Catholics' pro-life commitment

Two years after Congress adopted the law, young Catholics in the capital launch a 'Love + Life Philippines' movement in order to explain to their peers their pro-life position and why the law is not needed. The launch took place on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of unborn children.

Manila (AsiaNews/CBCP) - In order to mark the second anniversary of the adoption of a controversial law on reproductive health (Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012), which has been vigorously opposed by the Filipino Church, a group of young Catholics launched an initiative called 'Love + Life Philippines' (LLP).

The group of young people began the LLP campaign on Saturday, the feast day of Patroness of the Unborn, Our Lady of Guadalupe, at her National Shrine in Makati City. As part of this, they also opened a Facebook account.

"It's an honour for Love + Life Philippines to be launching in a pro-life parish like ours," said the Shrine's parish priest Fr Eric Cruz, who concelebrate a Holy Mass with LLP spiritual director Fr Gerry Battad, SDB, at the same venue.

"We want to tell the truth, that the young people of the Philippines are life-loving people therefore we don't need the RH Law," said LLP president Peter Pardo.

On 8 April 2014, the Filipino Supreme Court ruled in favour of the constitutionality of the 2012 Reproductive Health and Responsible Parenthood Act. However, some of its provisions were struck down, and the principle of conscientious objection was recognised.

After the law was adopted in December 2012, Catholics groups and organisations had filed 14 complaints against it on constitutional grounds.

In March 2013, the Supreme Court suspended the law for four months, then, in July 2013, for an indefinite period until issuing its final decision.

The reproductive health law bans therapeutic abortions but encourages couples to have no more than two children. In addition, it requires public health clinics to offer free condoms and birth control pills.

The law has the support of major international NGOs, the UN and UNICEF, who view a high birth rate as one of the main causes of poverty.

The Filipino Church, with the support of by many national Catholic associations, has instead always backed the Natural Family Programme (NFP), whose goal is to promote a culture of responsibility and love based on natural values.

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