The Republic of the Philippines have become the third nation in the world to offer full constitutional protection to unborn children, following the example of Ireland and Guatemala.
The new Filipino Constitution greatly supports the rights of the unborn and affirms marriage as the foundation of the family to be protected by the state. According to Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma, the president of the omission responsible for the drafting of the constitution, ‘no other issue received as much support as the pro-life and family issues.”
Article II, Section2, of the Constitution addresses the rights of the unborn. IT reads,
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. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the young for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.
Article XV, on the family, contains four sections:
- The Stat recognizes Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Accordingly, it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote it total development.
- Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the state.
- The State shall defend:
(1) The right of spouses to found a family in according with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood;
(2) The right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development;
(3) The right of the family to a family living wage and income; and
(4) The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them.
- The family has the duty to care for its elderly members but the state may also do so through just programs of social security.
The new Constitution reject population control programmes although an earlier national development plant, calling for zero population grown by 2010 is still being implemented. The Roman Catholic Bishops of the Philippines have asked whether “foreign pressure’ means that she is unable to remove state interference in family planning decisions.
“A billion-and-a-half pesos (13 pesos to the Canadian dollar) have been spent on population programmes without any effect in alleviating mass poverty,” say the Bishop in an open letter to the President. The programmes have been ‘imposed on our people by the World Bank and the International monetary Fund,” they add.
“Family life workers across the country are indignant over the continuing violation of the human right for life and respect for individual conscience, the disappointing results of the Population Programme’s own evaluation clearly tell us that the people are resisting these policies,” the letter says.
The Bishop asks the President to let them know “the negotiability of non-negotiability of the issue due to foreign pressure.” They ask that “the stress of the population programmes be placed on welfare, rather than on control; and that the concepts of family welfare and social development be translated into programmes that look towards value formation and positive attitude change, as this could bring about greater participation of the private sector.”