Human Life International’s Brian Clowes: Defending life in the Philippines

Dear friends,

I would like to share with you a report from Dr. Brian Clowes, HLI’s Director of Research and Training, detailing a recent mission trip to the Philippines. As the largest Catholic nation in Asia, the Philippines has managed to avoid much of the decay of the rest of Asia, but this fact also makes it the bulls-eye for pro-abortion NGOs and politicians from the West. The fight for life in this pro-life, pro-family nation is intense, and we are called to pray for and with our Filipino brothers and sisters.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula
Interim President, Human Life International

Defending Life in the Philippines

Human Life International: A baby on the palm of man's hands

Human Life International: A baby on the palm of man's hands

After effectively fighting for Faith and family for decades against the Culture of Death, the Church and the people of the Philippines find themselves in a truly desperate situation. For the first time, there is a distinct possibility that this most Catholic of nations might embrace abortion.

For more than a decade, the death peddlers have pushed for the so-called “Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill),” which provides for the universal distribution of all methods of birth control, including abortifacient pills, injections, and IUDs. The promoters of the RH Bill allege that it will prevent abortions through the widespread promotion of contraception, but its sponsors are well aware that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that “… reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”

The RH Bill provides for heavy fines and imprisonment for Catholic and other hospital personnel who refuse to distribute contraception or perform sterilizations. Additionally, anyone who distributes “malicious disinformation” about the RH Bill itself can be jailed. Naturally, the bill’s sponsors refuse to define this term, but we can be certain that they consider all opposition to the RH Bill to be “malicious.” The RH Bill also provides for mandatory comprehensive sex education beginning in fifth grade, which its proponents know is the best way to destroy the innocence of the children and get them “hooked” on contraception.

In other words, the RH Bill is a complete package designed to integrate the anti-life mentality into the fabric of the nation. It is plainly a “lethal injection” to the soul of the Philippines, as the European experience has shown us.

Benigno Aquino III (“Noy-Noy”) is the first Filipino President to say that he supports the RH Bill. Like John F. Kennedy, he says that he will keep his “Catholic” faith separate from his public life, and that the Church will play no role in shaping his decisions. Naturally, the population controllers and other anti-lifers are ecstatic over this, and anticipate legalized abortion in the Philippines in less than three years.

The purpose of my tenth mission to the Philippines was to speak at Human Life International’s 17th Asia-Pacific Congress, and to help our Regional Coordinator, Ligaya Acosta, assist the Church hierarchy and large Catholic lay groups in organizing and synchronizing their efforts.

The pre-Congress training sessions kicked off with an opening Mass celebrated by a dozen priests. We had pro-life representatives from Laos, India, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Uzbekistan and, of course, the Philippines. The three-day pre-Congress was designed to train pro-life leaders from each of the countries in the basics of the anti-life assaults, and to awaken and inform them as to the many directions they may come from. We also hosted a meeting of more than 150 high-level pro-life leaders, including bishops, senators, congressmen and judges, as well as large numbers of businessmen, doctors and lawyers.

The worst fear of the population controllers is a vocal Church working hand-in-hand with large and activist lay groups. The head of the Knights of Columbus of the Philippines was at the meeting, and he said that the combined strength of 300,000 fourth-degree Knights will be marshaled against the RH bill. They will be joined by the powerful Couples for Christ group, El Shaddai, and the Focolare, among others. Between them, these groups represent millions of Filipinos.

The 17th Asia-Pacific Congress officially began on November 6. Among the many bishops staying through the entire conference were Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, recently retired from the post of Archbishop of Cebu City; Archbishop Jose S. Palma, his successor; Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop of Manila; Archbishop Tomash Peta, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Kazakhstan; Archbishop Francesco Panfilo, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands; Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, Director of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life; and Bishop Nerio P. Odchimar, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The two and a half days of talks stretched from early Saturday to noon on Monday. We had eleven different talks, and the open forum discussions were extensive. As usual, the most important work happened behind the scenes with meetings and networking.

One of our speakers was Congressman Roilo Golez, the author of House Bill 13, which would protect all human life from fertilization. He presented me with a thick pile of papers proving statistically that the main causes of high maternal mortality in the provinces of the Philippines is not the lack of “safe” abortion, but a lack of attended childbirth. But the population controllers do not care about this; all they want is fewer Filipinos.

Cardinal Rosales encouraged all of us during his homily at the closing Mass of the Congress, emphasizing that prayer and action are both needed in the world today. We also outlined our plans for the next Congress, which will be held in Kazakhstan in September of 2011.

This was definitely the most productive trip we have had to the Philippines. More than 500 people attended the Congress, and there were more high-ranking Church officials there than at any other HLI conference we have ever held. We also helped achieve more strategic goals than at any other conference, the most important being the organization of the pro-life leaders of the entire nation to fight the Reproductive Health Bill.

To lose the Philippines to the culture of death would not only be a devastating blow to the morale of pro-lifers all over the world, it would open the floodgates to funds pouring in to devastate Filipino families. So we are appealing to all of our friends to support our efforts in the Philippines with generous donations. Please also pray fervently for the future of the Philippines. If the RH Bill passes, there will be abortion mills all over the country within three years, and the soul of this most Catholic nation will quickly wither and die. The West will have occupied the Philippines yet again, but this time the occupation would be in the form of anti-life resources and structures that would destroy what is so beautiful and unique about this great country: its faithful and joyful families, and indeed, its future.

Join us – don’t let it happen!


Brian Clowes, PhD

Director of Research and Training
Human Life International

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

3 Responses to Human Life International’s Brian Clowes: Defending life in the Philippines

  1. The Philippines is the most “Catholic” country in the area, but it is not a Catholic state, isn’t that correct? Isn’t it a secular state? There is a contradiction within a secular state that eventually will, when opened fully as it has now in the West, permit abortion and birth control and casual pornography and homosexual ‘rights.’ It will also permit predatory economic practices. And politicians there will quote Vatican II, as they already have during the HR debate (I have her quote on my blog, but I don’t remember her name), and as they will in the fight to come.

    Doesn’t this suggest that, as well as enlisting the expertise of HLI and other enterprises, one should cut off this important form of intellectual or emotional (I cannot bring myself to say spiritual) support? The talks between SSPX and the Vatican are ‘over,’ formally ending. What comes next? Since Rome–so it is said–hasn’t been willing to modify any of the liberal ideas of the Council, maybe what comes next will be more discussion among ordinary Catholics over the issues.

    Those ideas are that secularism is good and we give up the Catholic state for a pluralistic one, that religious freedom means no laws against important behaviors, but the Church is to help ‘form consciences’ all the time (never ‘winning,’ by making the behavior illegal, through–that would be against the dignity of the person), that ecumenism means bending our liturgy and doctrine to heresy, and that the pope will not act (collegiality–and it didn’t even pass at the Council, they are honoring a fantasy law! But they are observing it, as if the liberal version had passed! It’s very interesting human behavior.). Actually, that the pope does not act but does not ever shut up just about captures it.

    I value your good will there in your lovely and still prayerful part of the world, but I cannot help but wonder how different it would be if the Philippines were a real Catholic state in the modern world, that is, with democracy but with certain principles part of the Constitution and the Church the official faith. And tolerance, of course, when justified. And East Timor, as well. Is it completely stupid to ask which is more condusive to struggle and unrest and eventually bloodshed, a church-unity at the top, or a power-vacuum at the top? It seems to me, just based on being a successful schoolteacher, that the more dangerous situation by far is the vacuum.

    In sum, to this good post, I’d like to say HLI, yes. but I believe it will take more to save us, the dear Philippines and my own country, the United States of America, which I find harder to love at the moment.

  2. pinoyleonardo says:

    I am happy to have read Brain Clowes’ letter. It was a little late before I posted my RH stand on my blog. Yes, i also called the RH thing a package- it is where it will lead- the RH culture- as I call it. There is a lot of material just in wordpress about those who oppose the bill. I hope we put all the effort together to increase awareness on the implications of the bill. this blog is a great teacher!

  3. richard n leonardo says:

    Yes you are right we really need to pray n encourage others to participate in our fight for life

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