Cardinal plots birth bill's defeat

Politicians say they have numbers to knock down planned legislation

Cardinal plots birth bill's defeat
Catholics march to show their opposition to the reproductive health measure pending in Congress reporter, Manila, Philippines

March 18, 2011

Former Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 25 anti-abortion legislators met with Archbishop Emeritus Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu this week to plan strategy to block the passage of the Reproductive Health bill in Congress. "We evaluated our strengths and planned how we can proceed in ensuring that the RH bill will not pass," said Representative Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City. Cardinal Vidal's meeting with Arroyo, now a representative of the province of Pampanga, and the 25 lawmakers lasted for three hours, a source said. "We are optimistic that after all is said and done, we have the numbers to uphold life in Congress," said Rodriguez. Cardinal Vidal urged the legislators to remain steadfast in "keeping up the fight" against the proposed measure. Representative Edcel Lagman, one of the main proponents of birth control, however, said "there is need for devil’s advocates so that the reproductive health bill can be canonized into final enactment." He said there is a need for a "high level confrontation through plenary debates" on the issues. The Catholic Church meanwhile is organizing a "Thanksgiving Mass" on Wednesday, March 23, to recognize the efforts of lay people and legislators in “defending the sanctity of life.” The Mass is set at 9 a.m. at the Manila Cathedral and will be presided by Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. Related reports Church official 'is misleading public' Bishops suspend birth control talks PM13679.1645