Ateneo: ‘We don’t support RH bill’

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MANILA, August 21, 2012— The Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) has reiterated its opposition to the to the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill opposed by the Catholic Church.

ADMU president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ said the university has never changed its stand against the artificial contraception measure together with the Catholic hierarchy.

“Together with our leaders in the Catholic Church, the Ateneo de Manila University does not support the passage of House Bill 4244 (The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill),” Villarin said.

“As many of these leaders have pointed out, the present form of the proposed bill contains provisions that could be construed to threaten constitutional rights as well as to weaken commonly shared human and spiritual values,” he said.

The head of one of the country’s leading universities made the statement yesterday after 159 Ateneo professors endorsed the passage of the RH bill.

Though their views differ with the university, Villarin appreciates their “social compassion and intellectual efforts, and urge them to continue in their discernment of the common good.”

In a joint statement with several professors from the University of the Philippines, the Ateneo professors last year said that the RH bill is not a population control measure but a legislation that promotes sexual reproductive rights, the right to health and the right to informed choice.

Their position, however, contradicts the statement of no other than President Benigno Aquino III who wants the passage of the bill, saying that population control is the answer to the backlogs in education and the alleviation of poverty.

Villarin also asked Ateneo professors who are engaged in the Christian formation of their students to ensure that the “Catholic position on this matter continues to be taught in our classes, as we have always done.”

“Should the bill with whatever amendments be passed, we should neither hesitate to bring to the judiciary whatever legal questions we may have nor cease to be vigilant in ensuring that no coercion takes place in implantation,” he added.

The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines earlier called on the Catholic schools to be true to their mission for evangelization.

“They should be consistent and true to the nature of their calling which is to enlighten and teach the Catholic doctrine,” said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president.

“They should realize how important their vocation and their mission is which is of course to impart the Catholic teachings,” he said. [RL/CBCPNews]


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