A midwife holds a newborn baby in a Manila hospital. A Philippine legislator said bills filed in Congress to protect unborn children legislate the views of the Church. CNS file photo
MANILA – A Philippine legislator said three bills filed in Congress to protect unborn children are “unconstitutional” because these will legislate the views of the Catholic Church.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said on May 30 that the constitution upholds the separation of Church and state.
The authors of the bills “are trying to enact legislation that establishes the views of the Catholic Church hierarchy”, the senator said. “Government officials should uphold our constitution, which guarantees the separation of Church and state and non-establishment of religion.”
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, however, said the bills are the “much anticipated and much welcomed fruition of the promise and mandate” of the constitution.
Ms Santiago said if the “unborn child” bills become law, pregnancies will be riskier for women because it prohibits procedures that put the unborn child’s life at risk.
She said that instead of giving mothers, their family, and their doctors options, the bills “will transfer the difficult choices to a distant, cold, and inflexible law”.
The proposals call for stiffer penalties against abortion, which is already prohibited.
Catholics have been pushing for the passing of an “unborn child bill” and Mr Rene Bullecer, country director of Human Life International, said his group is supporting it “with all means and at all costs”. “It strengthens the existing anti-abortion law in our country as stated in the revised penal code and the 1987 constitution,” he said.
The proposed bills recognise the unborn child as a human being with a distinct human personality and the right to life, and to be accorded the maximum protection of the state and its laws.
The bills also focus on protecting the unborn child from substances or devices used to induce abortion, and abortive acts and practices that induce abortion with or without the consent of the mother. - UCANEWS.COM