Philippines university’s president disowns faculty’s support for reproductive health bill
by N.J. Viehland on Aug. 22, 2012 NCR Today
QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The president of Ateneo de Manila University, Jesuit Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, declared the school’s opposition to a bill on responsible parenthood and reproductive health on the school’s website Monday, despite support for the bill from almost 200 faculty members.
In his memo to the university community on House Bill 4244, titled “The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Bill,” Villarin said the university does not support the bill in its present form because some provisions threaten constitutional rights and could weaken human and spiritual values. In the memo, he acknowledged the efforts of the faculty members who support the legislation to carefully discern the bill.
He appealed to members of the Ateneo community to study “in-depth” the bill that has divided the community and use the current period of amendment to correct what they judge to be ambiguous or inimical features of the bill.
Congress’ Lower House on Aug. 6 voted to end debates on the version of the bill, introduced in March last year despite vigilant lobbies and protests led by bishops and pro-life groups. The vote pushed the lawmaking process to amendment phase before legislators vote on the revised version of the bill, which provides access to and government funding for all forms of contraceptives, including artificial methods not allowed in church teaching.
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