FRONT ROYAL, Virginia – Human Life International (HLI) President Father Shenan J. Boquet is calling for international prayers of support for the defeat of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill in solidarity with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Church leaders have organized a “Prayer Power Rally” on Saturday, August 4—just three days before an August 7 vote to continue debate on the anti-life bill.
“Now is the time to defeat this bill which threatens rights of conscience, the dignity of human life, and protections for life and family under the Filipino Constitution. Supporters of life and family have worked tirelessly to stop this bill from moving through Congress, but on Saturday I invite all those dedicated to building a culture of life to join in prayer with our Filipino brothers and sisters to ask for the Lord’s help and protection,” said Father Boquet.
Organized by the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) together with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, the prayer rally will take place from 1:00-7:00 pm local time at the EDSA Shrine in Manila.
“This is a moral issue and therefore this event will not be a political rally but a prayer rally focused on praying for the non-passage of the [RH Bill],” said ECFL Chairman Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes.
Among other objectionable provisions, the RH Bill would force medical professionals and businesses to promote and perform a full range of “reproductive health services,” regardless of conscientious objection. The bill promises to fine and jail opponents who spread as-yet-undefined “malicious” falsehoods about the bill, and would pay for contraceptive services with taxpayer funds. It is feared that the RH Bill will move the Philippines one step closer to legalizing abortion, which is currently illegal under any circumstance.
The RH Bill also directly contradicts the protections of life and family guaranteed in the Constitution of the Philippines which states:
The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.
“Versions of this bill have been filed and re-filed in Congress since 1998, but through the efforts of the pro-life community, and because of prayers from around the world, it has failed every time,” Father Boquet said. “Please join the bishops in the Philippines and our family around the world in prayer for the protection of life this Saturday.”