For the past few days I've received several invitations in different formats to attend one single event, the Forum on Reproductive Health Bill. First is a letter from the Board of Women's Work of the United Methodist Church, second is the Program sent by Ms. Norma Dollaga, and two posters coming from no less than five people. Please check them out, help disseminate the info and if you are able, please do attend. - the Library Staff
Dear Friends and Partners in Christ,
Greetings of Peace & Solidarity!
One of the contentious issues grabbing the headlines nowadays is the Reproductive Health bill. Leading the opposition side, the Catholic Church has actively mobilized its clergy and congregations to stop the passage of the bill, claiming that the proposed legislation would only promote abortion and the use of artificial means of contraceptives, thus, it is anti-life, anti-family and run counter to the teachings of the Church. To further strengthen its opposition to the bill, the Catholic Church has sponsored several anti-bill rallies, launched promotional campaigns against the bill, engaged in a fiery word war with President Benigno Aquino, and even welcomed the support of no less than “Pambansang Kamao” Manny Pacquiao.
On the other side of the issue, the authors and advocates of the bill maintain that such bill would allow couples to choose from several options of family planning methods, both natural and artificial, and give women, especially those in poor communities, greater access to health care and education. In response to the Catholic Church’s assertion that the bill is promoting abortion, Gabriela Women’s Party representative Luz Ilagan said RH bill advocates are pushing for “avoiding unwanted pregnancy through informed choices, not abortion.” (PDI, 10/9/2010)
Amid the noise and debates in the media and within the walls of Congress, a comprehensive campaign to educate the people on the proposed bill remains lacking. Public forum on the issue has been scarce and media coverage of the proposed bill has been limited to the word war between Malacanang officials and the leadership echelon of the Catholic Church, “name-calling” among the church clergy and exchange of diatribes between Pacquiao, Mommy Dionisia and Senator Miriam Santiago.
Given the significance and impact of the proposed bill to the life of every Filipino, especially women and youth, what is at hand right now is the need to provide a comprehensive and objective discourse about the RH bill and to promote a broader public debate for the voices and opinions of other non-Catholic sectors would be heard as well. As United Methodists, our Church vehemently supports the right of men and women worldwide to have the ability to choose when, or if, to have children. Affirming the right of women to access comprehensive health care services, including reproductive health, has always been a cornerstone of the United Methodist Church (GBCS Family Planning and Reproductive Health). Truly, there is an urgent need to collectively respond to this social concern as a community of faith.
It is in this uniting spirit that the Board of Women’s Work, the Board of Church and Society of the Philippines Central Conference and the Board of Church and Society of the Philippines Annual Conference, together with the organizations of United Methodist youth and young adults, would be holding a Forum on the Reproductive Health Bill. This will be held on June 4, 2011, Saturday, (8:30AM – 12:00 NN) at the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation, Inc. (KKFI) Multi-Purpose Hall (937 P. Paredes St., Sampaloc, Manila).
We would like to invite you/your organization to participate in this forum. Please find attached the program and sketch of the venue. A registration fee of Php20.00/person will be requested as donation for our snacks and lunch. For your confirmation and other concerns, please get in touch with Jenny Meneses at mobile#: 0939-323-1410, office#: 524-5183 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you very much and may God bless you!
(sgd) EMMA A. CANTOR ORATE
President, PCC Board of Women’s Work
(sgd) REV. ANICETO VILLALON, JR.
Executive Director, PCC – Board of Church & Society
(sgd) NORMA P. DOLLAGA
Chair, PAC – Board of Church & Society
8:00 - 8:30 Registration
8:30 – 9:00 Opening Worship
9:00 – 10:30 An Exposition on the Comprehensive Reproductive Health
Bill: Going Beyond Population and Contraceptive Issues
Rep. Emmi Amaya de Jesus, GABRIELA Women’s Partylist
10:15-11:15 What does the UMC say about Reproductive Health?
The UMC Social Principles/Scriptural Reflection
on Reproductive Health and Rights of Women
Ms. Darlene Marquez-Caramanzana, Program Secretary
Program Unit on Ecumenical Education and Nurture
National Council of Churches in the Philippines
11:15-11:45 Special Number/Choir
11:45 – 12:00 Synthesis & Closing
12:00 Lunch Fellowship