.- The Philippine Congress is set to debate a new law this week that would promote sterilizations and would threaten health workers with jail time for not making contraceptives available.
The new law called “Responsible parenthood and population control” was approved in committee months ago and according to family groups, is almost assured passage by the full Congress because of the support of most lawmakers for the population programs of the UN and various western non-governmental organizations.
According to the measure, families with two or less children would be given priority in the Philippines for government scholarships. The measure would also make sex-ed obligatory in school starting at age 10. Health workers who refuse to perform sterilizations or provide contraceptives would be punished with up to six months in prison.
The project would include a massive propaganda campaign about population control, contraceptive methods and incentives for sterilization. The bill would establish a government “population official” for each region.
Passage of the law would mean an end to the country’s reasonably successful efforts to promote abstinence and marital fidelity. The Philippines has enjoyed a low rate of AIDS infection among adults, with the rate being 0.1% in 2001.
Although the birth rate in the Philippines during the last 30 years has dropped from 6 to 2.8 children per woman and the UN has admitted that such a drop will bring negative consequences for the country in the future, the United Nations Population Fund has carried out extensive campaign in favor of the law, which in addition would earmark $26 million for reproductive health programs.