MDG family planning for young people


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MDG family planning for young people

  1. 1. Confronting the MDGs Using the Language of the Culture of Life1 By Atty. Jo M Imbong2 In Year 2000, taking advantage of the turn of the millennium, then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan proposed a common intergovernmental framework for development priorities. The Millennium Summit, New York, September 2000 produced the MILLENNIUM DECLARATION, adopted by 189 heads of state as measures to end extreme poverty by the year 2015. There are eight (8) Millennium Goals: 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2. Achieve universal primary education 3. Promote gender equality and empower women 4. Reduce child mortality 5. Improve maternal health 6. Combat HIVs/AIDs, malaria and other infectious deceases 7. Ensure environmental sustainability 8. Develop a global partnership for development The Millennium Development Goals were adopted by the Philippine Government soon after their approval in the United Nations. 1 3rd Mindanao Life and Health Congress, Dipolog City Convention Center, Philippines, October 13-14, 2007. 2 Legal Office, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. 1
  2. 2. Reproductive Health is not listed above. Whether the omission is deliberate, that is not the question. Rather, does its silence rule out the reproductive health agenda altogether? Or are the MDGs new semantics for an old and malevolent agenda? Stan Bernstein, Senior Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy Adviser to the Millennium Development Project explained: 1. The UN does not want debate and controversy, where it acknowledged the controversial and politically sensitive nature of reproductive health (which inevitably brings in its wake abortion “again and forever”.3 Gender relations and adolescents’ “needs” for information and services add more controversy. 2. While each of the eight GOALS inter-related components targeting the problem of poverty, Reproductive Health is difficult to position or integrate within those eight components. 3. The concept of “unmet need” is an “attitudinal variable” which is difficult to quantify, hence, it is not acceptable as an indicator of the level of poverty eradication since the MDG monitoring framework is built around specific quantifiable benchmarks. Moreover, attitudes on population and fertility unfold over long periods of time, whereas targets of the MDG are for the short term (2015).4 Bernstein writes that the Millennium Declaration provided an alternate and complementary framework to ICPD, and describes it as “an offspring of ICPD” with many similar elements.5 Notably, Bernstein is of the opinion the omission of population issues in the MDG’s implicitly assumes that population dynamics are merely “an outcome of progress toward other desired ends in the MDG’s.”6 While you might now harbor well-founded conclusions on the language of the MDGs, I invite you to consider what else have been written and said by the international community about the MDGs in its present form. International Planned Parenthood Federation had noted the omission: “Explicit mention of sexual and reproductive health and rights is missing from the MDGs, however. In particular, no mention is made of 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid., p. 130. 5 Stan Bernstein, “The Changing Discourse on Population and Development: Toward a New Political Demography”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING, vol. 36, No. 2, June 2005, p. 129. 6 Ibid. 2
  3. 3. the core goal of ICPD that focuses on meeting the sexual and reproductive health needs and rights of women, men, and young people globally. This is the only goal set forth at all of the United Nations global development conferences of the 1990’s that did not become an MDG.” 7 A very candid and straightforward reaction to the MDGs comes from Professor Alaka Malwade Basu8 who wrote: “Many of the Millennium Development Goals are an integral part of any reproductive health agenda. The problem is x x x how we can keep reproductive health and rights in the center of the policymaking process, both directly--by adding them to the MDG agenda--and also more discreetly, by means of some suggestions I outline below.”9 How “discreet”, the Professor explains thus: “Perhaps the language of reproductive health (even if not the language of reproductive rights) will be allowed to inform [infuse] some of the 18 specific targets elaborating the eight goals of the project. 1. x x x perhaps a number of measures of reproductive health outcomes beyond the few that are already included will be added to the 48 indicators of progress in the MDG project. 2. Various task force Reports of the Millennium Development Project include clearly stated references to reproductive health matters in several places. 10 3. Much can be done outside the formal dictates of United Nations declarations. Much must be done in this way. 4. A number of important nongovernmental organizations private foundations and national governments x x x remain loyal to the reproductive health paradigm and to the idea that women’s 7 Steven W. Sinding, “Keeping Sexual and R eproductive Health at the Forefront of Global Efforts to Reduce Poverty”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING, vol. 36, No. 2, June 2005, p. 141. 8 Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Cornell University 323 Uris Hall, Ithaca NY 14853-7601 <> 9 Alaka Malwade Basu, “The Millennium Development Goals Minus Reproductive Health: An Unfortunate, But Not Disastrous, Omission”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING, vol. 36, No. 2, June 2005 132. 10 See Report of the MDG Task Force on Gender Equality at the later part of this Paper. 3
  4. 4. reproductive rights are central to any sustained poverty-alleviation strategy. What is to keep these various organizations from continuing the fight through their bilateral funding, their advice, their research support, and their grassroots activity? 5. Even if the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation have lost interest in population and reproductive health matters, several ‘new money’ foundations, such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, have the resources and the commitment to replace them in the field.11 6. Co-opting the language of the Millennium Develoopment Project should be easy enough. Numerous examples of such borrowing of currently fashionable language exist x x x . 7. In the light of such questionable linguistic tactics, those in the reproductive health field will be doing women in poor countries a favor by employing the language of the Millennium Development Project to press for what were once clearly defined reproductive- health-related activities. Such an application of MDG language will not be a subterfuge at all, because even if the political language of the reproductive health agenda is temporarily shelved for strategic reasons 12, the MDGs and the reproductive health agendas are each the means and the ends of the other. Each requires, sustains, and promotes the other. 13 On the sensitive question of abortion in the MDGs, Prof. Basu observes: “The only component of reproductive health that will not lend itself easily to being incorporated into the Millennium Development project is the vexing question of access to abortion. But here too, instead of trying to bring the subject directly into the MDG discourse, much can be gained by imitating the CAIRO Programme of Action’s less specific language about the ‘sovereignty’ of countries and their right to implement policies that are ‘consistent with national laws and development policies’. This language can be used without referring to abortion or sexual rights. 11 Alaka Malwade Basu, Ibid., p. 133. 12 “Strategic reasons” obvious to the discerning reader. 13 Ibid., p. 134. 4
  5. 5. In Cairo, it was a way to appease the Vatican and the Islamic states. If it 14 were used in the MDG discourse, it would serve to energize and motivate those groups and nations that already have a legal commitment and/or a commitment in principle to providing women with access to abortion, one more way of ensuring women’s right to reproductive health.”15 Confirming Prof. Basu. The silence of the MDGs about RH, however, is not the end of the matter. Adrienne Germain16 and Ruth Dixon-Mueller are more definitive. They wrote: “Although reproductive health is not specifically named as a goal, it is widely acknowledged that universal access to reproductive health services, including family planning and sexual health, is required for the achievement of the MDGs (Sachs 2001; Singh et al. 2003; United Nations Millennium Project 205; WHO’ 2002 and 2004)” 17 The declarations of Basu, Bernstein, and Germain are further confirmed by subsequent actions in the United Nations. An independent advisory body was thereafter commissioned to advise the UN on strategies for achieving the Goals. Known as the UN Millennium Project, its Final Report speaks of a “demographically-related poverty trap” and “attributes to population a significantly causal role in development.”18 The MILLENNIUM PROJECT REPORT speaks for itself:19 “(1) Rapid population growth continues to be recognized as creating a demographic poverty trap in the poorest countries, reflecting the impact of pov erty on the ability to make investments, as well as the treadmill effect of ever-increasing levels of expenditure required for the provision of basic social services. (2) Sexual and reproductive health and rights are recognized as central pillars of gender equality. 14 The “special language”. 15 Ibid. 16 Adrienne Germain is President, International Women’s Health Coalition, 333 Seventh Avenue, Sixth Floor, New York, 10001, Ruth Dixon- Mueller is a consultant. 17 Adrienne Germain and Ruth Dixon-Mueller, “Reproductive Health and the MDGs: Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING, vol. 36, No. 2, June 2005, p. 137. 18 Ibid. 19 Stan Bernstein, ‘The Changing Discourse on Population and Development: Toward a New Political Demography”, STUDIES IN FAMILY PLANNING, vol. 36, No. 2, June 2005, p. 130. 5
  6. 6. (3) Sexual and reproductive health are recognized as essential to progress against illness and mortality among mothers, infants, and populations at risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS. (4) Population dynamics are recognized as a background driver to climate change.” The MILLENNIUM PROJECT REPORT continues 20: “Sexual and reproductive health is essential for reaching the Goals. It entails healthy voluntary, and safe sexual and reproductive choices x x x Maternal mortality takes some 529,000 lives a year. Of those deaths, around 68,000 are due to unsafe abortion, a sign of the n eed for better access to higher quality family planning services to prevent unwanted pregnancies and (where permitted by law) to safe abortion practices. “But promoting reproductive health requires more than simply delivering services and information to prevent disease and reduce risk. It includes: ■ Family planning, including access to modern contraceptives and informed and voluntary choice of family planning methods. ■ Safe motherhood including antenatal, postnatal and normal delivery services and emergency obstetric care. ■ Postabortion care and access to safe abortion, where permitted by law. ■ A continuum of prevention, treatment, and care for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. ■ Prevention, surveillance, and care for gender-based violence. ■ Action against harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation and early and coerced marriage. ■ Information and services for underserved populations including diverse groups of adolescents, people in emergency situations and men.” The question then should be asked: How will the eight goals be accomplished? According to the MILLENNIUM PROJECT REPORT : “To achieve GOAL 1- Eliminating Extreme Poverty and Hunger: Smaller families and longer birth intervals, a result of contraceptive use, allow families to invest more in each child’s nutrition and health. That can reduce poverty and hunger for all members of a 20 Ibid., p. 146. 6
  7. 7. household. At the national level, voluntary reduction of birth rates may enable faster social and economic development. To achieve GOAL 2 - Universal Primary Education: Families with fewer children, and children spaced further apart, can afford to invest more in each child’s education. This has a special benefit for girls, whose education may have lower priority than that of boys in the family. In addition, girls who have access to contraceptives are less likely than those who do not to become pregnant and drop out of school. To achieve GOAL 3 - Promote gender equality and empower women: Controlling whether and when to have children is a critical aspect of women’s empowerment Women who can plan the timing and number of their births also have greater opportunities for work, education, and social participation outside the home. To achieve GOAL 4 - Reduce child mortality: Prenatal care the ability to avoid high-risk births (such as those to very young women and those spaced closely together) help prevent infant and child deaths. Children in large families are likely to have reduced health care, and unwanted children are more likely to die than wanted ones. To achieve GOAL 5- Improve Maternal health: Preventing unplanned and high-risk pregnancies and providing care I pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period save women’s lives. To achieve GOAL 6- Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Sexual and reproductive health care includes preventing and treating sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. In addition, reproductive health care can bring patients into the health care system encouraging diagnosis and treatment of other diseases and conditions . In relation to HIV, the Report of the Task Force on Gender Equality finds that: “Women’s economic dependency makes them more vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections Research from around the world has shown that when women are economically vulnerable they 7
  8. 8. are less able to negotiate the use of condoms or other forms of safer sex, less likely to be able to leave a relationship that they perceive to be risky, and more likely to increase their risk by exchanging sex with multiple partners for money.21 To achieve GOAL 7 - Ensure environmental sustainability Providing sexual and reproductive health services and avoiding unwanted births can help stabilize population numbers in rural areas , slow urban migration, and balance natural resource use with the needs of the population. To achieve GOAL 8 - Develop a global partnership for development. Affordable prices for drugs to treat HIV/AIDS and a secure supply of contraceptives would greatly advance reproductive health programs in all developing countries. Notably, the REPORT is quite candid in acknowledging that22-- “There are numerous channels (entry points in the MDG) to integrate sexual and reproductive health services in a strengthened health system. For example, maternal and child health services can provide an opportunity for family planning information programs, referrals, and services.” HIV prevention an be better linked with other reproductive health and service interventions. Expanding the scale of family planning service delivery should include a range of contraceptive options to meet the needs of specific populations and accommodate choice and appropriate method- switching.” Adolescents are a major target identified in the Millennium Project Report: “A large cohort of adolescents--1.3 billion, mostly in less developed countries--will require separate facilities addressing a complex of life skill needs--including productive and entrepreneurial skills for employment, literacy and numeracy training, and nutrition and health information SO FAR SO GOOD . . . including that of reproductive health.23 21 Ibid., p. 149 22 Ibid., p. 147. 23 Ibid. 8
  9. 9. Programs for adolescents are small, with limited coverage. They need to be scaled up to provide full services to the entire adolescent population.” 24 The school curriculum for young people is not spared25: Curriculum reform must be undertaken to make age-appropriate materials, acceptable in the local context, available in school systems. According to the Report of the Millennium Task Force on Gender Equality:26 “Girls’ education is important. Schools can provide life skills education, including information on health, nutrition, and family planning. Ideally, such curricula would be introduced in primary schools and continue through the secondary level. Interventions to improve girls’ and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are needed both in the health system and in other sectors, such as education and the legal system. 27 Out-of-school youth will not be spared. Mass media, folk media and other information outreach approaches must be expanded to reach the large number of out-of-school young”.28 PTA’s are also targets. “Working with existing institutions parents, parent groups, cultural leaders can make information and services more effective for young people.” 29 Vanguards in the Military are not exempt: “Service delivery to men in the military and police forces has also been important in scaling up many national reproductive health programs. Additional programs addressed to men and boys are needed x x x “ 30 On the goal of GENDER EQUALITY. 24 Ibid., p. 154. 25 Ibid. 26 Ibid., p. 154. 27 Ibid., p. 152. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. 30 Ibid. 9
  10. 10. On the third GOAL, the UN TASK FORCE ON EDUCATION AND GENDER EQUALITY (a significant part of the Millennium Project Report) is more explicit in its strategies. 31: “Achieving Goal 3 requires guaranteeing women’s and girl’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Adolescent fertility rates remain high, and young women have higher chances of suffering from complications at birth. They also have a higher unmet need for contraception x x x Necessary actions to address these problems are ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services through the primary system, providing women and girls with full access to sexual and reproductive health information and fulfilling all the commitments in the CAIRO Programme of Action x x x. Interventions are needed within and outside the health system.“ Great emphasis on sex education: Outside the health system sexuality education programs are needed to lay the foundation for improved sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Ultimately, these interventions must be supported by enabling policy and a political environment that guarantees women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights. Current threats to those rights must be be opposed if Goal 3 is to be achieved.32 More emphatically-- the Task Force on Education and Gender Equality says: “x x x a large body of evidence shows that sexual and reproductive health and rights are central to women’s ability to build their capabilities, take advantage of economic and political opportunities, and control their destinies. For this reason, the task force has identified guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health and rights as a strategic priority for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women.” Germain and Dixon-Meuller have a last word on abortion-- “Abortion is permitted by law on some grounds in virtually all countries (WHO 2003), so that all primary health-care and family planning facilities should be able to provide, directly or through referral, early menstrual regulation and safe abortion services. 31 Ibid., p. 148. 32 Ibid. 10
  11. 11. For a broader, more beneficial effect, the Task Force on Child Health and Maternal Health [of the Millennium Development Project] might have recommended policies and programs to ensure that all abortions are performed safely in order to eliminate this preventable cause of maternal mortality. The Task Force recommendation that “For abortion as for other areas of sexual and reproductive health, governments and other relevant actors should review and revise laws, regulations, and practices that jeopardize women’s health” is significant, however, and should be widely pursued (United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Child Health and Maternal Health 2005 page 74).33 This MDG report is so overwhelming, I must admit. But this is just the beginning. To continue, I must now proffer a question: If the Philippines subscribed to the MDGs, does the Philippine government also subscribe to the strategy to incorporate sexual and reproductive health and rights in the MDGs ? Before we confirm our answers, allow me a side note. When sexual and reproductive health were omitted in the MDG’s, IPPF Director General, Steven Sinding34 wrote that IPPF had openly urged its member associations-- “To encourage their governments to press the September 2005 Millennium Summit that will review progress in implementing MDGs to x x x modify the language of MDG 5 (“Improve Maternal Health”) explicitly to include reference to reproductive health (“Improve Maternal and Reproductive Health”)” 35 It seems that the Philippines has hearkened to the IPPF invitation. Enter: DILG Order 2004-152. Promulgated in 2004, Admin. Order 152 of the Department of Interior and Logal Government adopts the eight goals and lays down the guidelines for “localizing” the MDGs. Signed by then DILG Secretary Angelo Reyes, Goal 5 “Improve Maternal Health” became ”Improved Women’s Reproductive Health” : 33 Ibid., p. 139. 34 IPPF, Regent’s College, London NW1 4NS, U.K. <> 35 Steven W. Sinding, Ibid., p. 142. 11
  12. 12. With specific Targets: “Reduce maternal mortality rate by 75% by 2015. Increase access to reproductive health services to 60% by 2005, 80% by 2010 & 100% by 2015 Conduct of advocacy and other related services on the following reproductive health (RH) elements: ● Family Planning (FP). All methods including voluntary sterilization service (VSS) be made available to all men and women of reproductive age ● Establishment of functional Community Based Management Information Systems (C BMIS) for family planning and other RH services. ● Provision of family planning education, counseling, services including VSS and contraceptives for both men and women of reproductive age ● Ensure adequate supply of contraceptive commodity for current users and new acceptors ● Resolution on the adoption and implementation of Contraceptive Self Reliance (CSR) on Family Planning Promotion of and education on shared parenting responsibilities Maternal Child Health and Nutrition Provision of comprehensive pre-natal, natal and post-natal care for all pregnant women. Provision of iron tablets and vitamin A capsues for pregnant and lactating mothers Establishment/upgrading primary hospitals, maternal clinics and other health facilities to provide obstetric care Increase access to basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care Promotion of facility based delivery among pregnant women Supplemental feeding for malnourished pregnant women Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) Provision of medical, legal, psychological services to victim-survivors of violence against women and children Ensure the participation of the community in preventing VAWC and protection of VAWC victim-surrvivors Provision of counseling services to perpetrators of VAWC Men’s Reproductive Health Increase male involvement in reproductive health activities 12
  13. 13. Adolescent reproductive health (ARH) Massive education on fertility, responsible sexuality and healthy development including healthy lifestyle through formal education or outreach activity for young people Educate parents on fertility, sexuality and RH and mobilize them for the provision of information in to young people Provision of health services and counseling Education and Counseling on Sexuality and Sexual Education Conduct of fertility awareness campaign and responsible parenthood ● Prevention and treatment of reproductive tract infections (RTIs)/STD/ HIV/AIDS ● Breast and reproductive tract cancers ● Provision of breast and cancer prevention and treatment services (e.g. acetic acid wash, pap smear, screening, referral) in selected RHU facilities ● Prevention and Management of Abortion and its complications ● Counseling services incorporated in family planning ● Development of capabilities of health workers in the areas of maternal care, childbirth, family planning PMAC, VAWC, ARH and other health care services.” As for budgetary allocations- “ LGUs are encouraged to intensify efforts in the implementation of programs, projects and activities (PPAs) toward the achievement of te MDGs. LGUs are expected to increase their budgetary allocations for basic social services responsive to MDGs.” This DILG directive explains the spate of local Ordinances being proposed and enacted in Aurora Province, Tagbilaran City, Olongapo City, Quezon City, and lately, Ifugao. What reasonable-minded government and citizen will oppose: “improved maternal health, eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality”? Are not all these noble intentions? While apparently noble, the ultimate results of these MDGs are forced, manipulative programs to promote sterilization, contraception, and abortion—all of which are being justified under a rationale of achieving peace, economic development, and social justice. Using these honorable aspirations to cloak an otherwise pernicious and discredited “population crisis” agenda brings the utmost injustice to the poorest 13
  14. 14. people in the planet who look to the new millennium for new hope for a better life. On the other hand, in navigating this invidious route, the developed and powerful countries miss out on a millennium opportunity to effectively create an environment conducive to rescuing communities from dire poverty and affirming their new hopes. WHAT SHOULD OUR COMMUNITIES BE DOING? We are called upon to-- 1. Study. At the World Conference on Population in 1974 in Bucharest, Pope Paul VI said: All population policies and strategies . . . must be evaluated in light of the sacredness of human life, the dignity of every human being, the inviolability of all human rights, the value of marriage and the need for economic and social justice. 36 For-- “The human person is the synthesis of the universe and is the reason for everything that exists.”37 2. Fidelity. Citizens are obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. “We must obey God rather than men.” 38 3. Sensitivity. Seek, know, and fill the authentic needs of your community. 4. People development. Make population a solid economic force. In the words of Pope Paul VI-- “You must strive to multiply bread so that it suffices for the tables of mankind, and not favor an artificial control of birth…in order to diminish the number of guests at the banquet of life.” 4. Honesty. Use the language of the Culture of Life to drown out the language of the Culture of Death. 36 Javier Lorenzo Cardinal Barragán, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Healthcare Workers, speaking at the Vatican-sponsored World Day of the Sick on February 10, 2004, 37 Ibid. 38 Acts, 5:29. 14
  15. 15. POST-MODERN MANIPULATIONS OF LANGUAGE Words that are not what they mean39 voluntary interruption of pregnancy abortion voluntary termination of pregnancy abortion menstrual regulation abortion control over the woman’s body abortion embryonic reduction abortion prenatal sex selection abortion regulation of fertility “and other methods of their choice” includes abortion reproductive health services includes abortion sexual and reproductive health rights includes abortion safe motherhood, ligtas buntis contraception, mostly artificial means reproductive health center abortion clinic sexual professional prostitute sex worker prostitute serial monogamy promiscuity inter-generational love child molestation, pedophilia interspecies love bestiality alternative lifestyle sexual perversion unhealthy repression self-discipline, self-control diversity unnatural sexual behavior homosexual behavior other forms of family same-sex partners adult material pornography sexually explicit material pornography death with dignity euthanasia, assisted suicide in cooperation with relevant interested parties usurping parents’ roles with peers, other caregivers, educators and health-care providers excluding parents rights of the child to access to information excluding parents consistent with the evolving capacities of the child excluding parents the child’s right to confidentiality & privacy excluding parents youth should be involved in the design and 39 Can these be the ‘less specific language’ described/suggested by Prof. Basu? Please see footnote no. 8. 15
  16. 16. implementation of youth programs excluding parents On Sustainable Development, a strong caveat is in order: “The incorrect understanding of sustainable development calls for programming the human species—population control—in order to protect all animal and vegetative species, seen as equals, from human beings whose excessive production and consumption threaten the survival of these species.” (AlbanD’Entremont,Ph.D. “The Family and Sustainable Development” Doctor of Geography, University of Navarre) In the context of the United Nations paradigm, by sustainable development is meant a development where the different factors involved (food, health, education, technology, population, environment, etc.) are brought into harmony so as to avoid imbalanced growth and the waste of resources. As the Pontifical Council for the Family points out, however, it is the developed countries of the world that will determine the criteria for “sustainable development” for the other nations. Thus, certain rich countries and major international organizations are willing to help developing nations, but only on the condition that they accept public programs that systematically control birth rates. In the New Paradigm, Cardinal Barragán asserts, “sustainable development” becomes the supreme ecological value. Words which challenge / defy national sovereignty Must Require Every effort Establish Should Create Necessary Entitled Ensure Imperative Monitor Review and revise Adopt Modify THE STRAIGHTFORWARD LANGUAGE of the Culture of Life Words that express protection of human life inherent dignity of all human beings dignity and worth of the human person prenatal care, postnatal care right to life, right of the unborn Words that value and safeguard family The family, the basic unit of society 16
  17. 17. the natural and fundamental group of society a strong force of human cohesion should be strengthened the domestic economy stable, supportive and nurturing family relationships husband and wife promote family friendly policies and services to strengthen the family contributing to the welfare of the family impact on family well-being impact on families grant assistance to families in difficult situations an environment supportive of the family policies to support family security Words that respect parents Parents have a prior right The child’s right to know and be cared for by his parents That responsibility lies in the first place with the parents Respect for the fundamental and natural rights of parents Respecting their cultural values and religious beliefs . . . particularly Parents The role of parents and legal guardians in the upbringing of children Acknowledge and safeguard the central role of parents and families Respect for the liberty of parents With proper regard for parental guidance Recognizing the rights and duties of parents for direction & guidance Including parents with respect to their children’s education Taking into account the rights and duties of parents Should involve the active participation of parents and families Moral well being/moral upbringing of children and youth Words that respect religious values fully respect various religions and ethical values within a framework of ethical values abstinence fidelity ensure the religious and moral education of their children freedom of thought, conscience, and religious belief the right to profess and practice their religion without offense to religious beliefs and rights of conscience moral, ethical, spiritual in harmony with spiritual and cultural values “What is truth?” Pontius Pilate asked this of The Christ. With that challenge, the interrogator became the agent of his own damnation. If he was really searching 17
  18. 18. for truth, he was already face-to-face with The Truth. But his heart did not yearn for truth. And so, he never found it. Right to truthful information The right of the citizen to information on matters of public concern is a constitutional right. Necessarily, the right to information includes the right to truth on matters affecting the public interest--population data and population figures included. Public policy that is rooted on a false premise will be a faulty policy. And a faulty policy harms the common good. And since “public office is a public trust” 40 public authority that falsifies the truth about matters of public concern betrays the public whose best interest it is mandated to serve. My friends, we have seen how power politics has invaded the region of the soul. Altered social conditions have diluted our basic holdings and have gone a long way in upsetting our moral and spiritual values. We have then to be tough in our determination to put the first things first and to meet the world’s philosophies with a toughness at least as obstinate as theirs. We must keep our eyes open all the time, and our hands always on the plow. Ericti muriamur. Happy indeed is the man who so lives that the final hour may find him spiritually, and even physically, on his feet. 41 Thank you, and a good day to you all. 40 Art.XI, Sec. 1, Constitution. 41 With apologies to Dom Hubert van Zeller, OSB, “We Die Standing Up”, Image Books. 18