Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Church is Wrong on This One

"Ang May Akda" by Manny Garibay
The war against family planning (at least insofar as the "non-natural" methods" are concerned) is again being waged by the Catholic Church, this time in Quezon City which is considering a proposed ordinance to institutionalize the city’s current reproductive health program and insulate it from partisan politics.

Rina Jimenez-David wrote an excellent column today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which compared the diverging fortunes of the Manila and Quezon City on this very issue. While the budget for family planning services and commodities was increased to more than P10 million per year in Quezon City by Mayor Sonny Belmonte, Mayor Lito Atienza started his three terms by issuing a notorious executive order that discouraged most of the modern methods of family planning.

The resulting statistics are stark and revealing.

Jimenez-David writes, "While the birth rate declined rather steeply in Quezon City -- from 35 per 100,000 in 1996 to just three or four per 100,000 in 2006, it basically remained the same in Manila -- from 27 per 100,000 in 1996, to 23 per 100,000 in 2006. The figures for maternal mortality -- deaths of women due to causes related to pregnancy or child birth -- tell an even more dramatic tale. Maternal mortality declined in Quezon City, from 10 per 100,000 in 1996, shooting up to 14 per 100,000 in 1997, then tapering off to about three per 100,000 in 2006. In Manila, maternal mortality rates rose steadily: from about seven per 100,000 in 1996, reaching a peak of about 12 per 100,000 in 2005 and tapering to about seven per 100,000 in 2006."

One has to wonder how the Church can ignore these numbers, and would do well to remember that its leadership and members, in the end, are only human.

* "Ang May-Akda (The Authors)," by Manny Garibay. 4'x4' Oil on Canvas (2004).

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