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A Bill to resist Let not the RH Bill pass

A Bill to resist

Let not the RH Bill pass

RECENTLY I spent two weeks in Manila and was happy to see that the faith of the people is still strong in the Philippines. Yet I know from my regular contact with the Knights of Columbus in the Philippines that there are rumblings against the faith on the horizon. In the United States, we have the Health and Human Services’ mandate threatening religious liberty. In the Philippines, the danger comes from the RH (Reproductive Health) Bill.

If I can offer any advice from our experience with the culture of death in the United States, it is this: Don’t let this bill gain a foothold in the Philippines. The international forces that support the drive for the RH Bill are well-financed, powerful and patient, pushing year after year and legislative session after legislative session until they get their way. Opponents of the Bill may think these advocates are discouraged and will rest, after suffering one setback after another, but don’t be deceived. The Bill has moved slightly closer to passage over time, and may be gaining greater popular support among the people. The moment it passes – God forbid – you will see the international groups that support it suddenly jump to life to make sure that this “advance” will never be overturned. In the United States, we have lived with the Roe v. Wade abortion decision for nearly 40 years, while we thought in 1973 that this one Supreme Court decision would not stand long enough to change a whole culture, as it has.

Don’t make the same mistake in the Philippines. It is better to challenge the RH Bill while it is still “outside the gate” than to try to overturn what its proponents will quickly call “settled law.”

The same strategies that have played out over the years in the United States are being implemented in the Philippines, ostensibly to enhance economic growth and social progress. The late Cardinal O’Connor of New York, the great pro-life leader, used to say that before human life and morals can be attacked there must first be an attack on language. You must get people to think in different terms before leading them to act in different ways. In the United States, the Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood, pro-abortion became “pro-choice,” unborn babies became “fetuses” or “products of conception,” and so on.

In the Philippines, a bill designed to limit family size, push contraceptives and abortifacients, and expose preteens to sexual education is cast in terms of women’s “health.” Who can be against health for women, especially young mothers? As is true with every assault against decency and morals, the Catholic Church is cast as the main enemy of “science” and “progress.” It is amazing how the playbook of pro-abortion progressives remains the same wherever they go. Attack the Church as backward and oppressive, hold up anti-life technology as the source of Western prosperity, and infiltrate the media and the schools. The strategy which has brought Europe to the brink of demographic disaster, and threatens the future of a somewhat healthier United States, has had some success in the Philippines. It is “cool” there to be Western and secular, to be single and childless, and almost every national celebrity is for the RH Bill, even though their public statements indicate that they have not read much of the actual text.

The good news is that the RH Bill has been blocked in both the Philippine House and Senate year after year, due to the efforts of some brave legislators who are not afraid to buck the celebrity tide and withstand media ridicule. The Philippine bishops are also very vocal and clear in their opposition, and a large number of faithful Catholics take heed, including young people who are using modern means of communication and social media to spread the word that the mainstream media will not let get out.

I was in the Philippines (where my wife was born and grew up) for the Knights of Columbus National Convention, which was attended by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. He said that defeat of the RH Bill must be a high priority for Filipino Knights because the Philippines is a great country, with a great people and a great culture of life that is worth preserving. Let’s pray that the culture of death embodied in the RH Bill will continue to fail when faced with the faith, hope and charity—and values—of the Filipino people.

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