MANILA, Dec. 7, 2010â€”The Catholic Churchâ€™s campaign for the protection of the unborn has gained support from the countryâ€™s biggest organization of medical practitioners.
A consultative meeting on the Reproductive Health bill was held on Monday between Catholic Bishopsâ€™ 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 â€œvery cordialâ€ 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 â€œlife begins at fertilization.â€
This stand is also shared by the CBCP, said its secretary general Monsignor Juanito Figura.
â€œThe 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,â€ Catli said.
At the start of the meeting, the PMA also distributed to the CBCP panel led by Figura some copies of â€œAn Act Providing for the Safety and Protection of the Unborn & for Other Purposesâ€ by ParaÃ±aque 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 â€œclear provisionsâ€ of being â€œpro-life.â€
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.
â€œWe are for the protection of life especially of the unborn. Itâ€™s very clear that the bill seeks to protect the unborn,â€ said Aragon.
The CBCP earlier clarified it is not totally against the RH bill but only on certain provisions, Figura said, â€œwhich when seen from the moral point of view are not in agreement with the Catholic teachings.â€
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 PMAâ€™s position on the beginning of life could definitely boost the churchâ€™s campaign against contraception and abortion.
â€œWhat 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,â€ he said.
â€œContrary to what the RH bill advocates are saying that life begins at implantation, the doctors are saying otherwise,â€ Figura stressed. â€œThis is a very important thing.â€
Both parties, he added, agreed that life should be protected from the moment of fertilization up to its natural death â€œbecause the doctors are committed to save lives.â€
CBCP President Bishop Nereo Odchimar said they will consult legal and medical experts to help them prepare for a dialogue with MalacaÃ±ang 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.
â€œMedical 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,â€ Tinio said. (CBCPNews)