By way of Al Jazeera, of all places, comes this report, with accompanying video below, about the influence of conservative Catholicism in preventing poor families from access to birth control in the Philippines. This one is sure to set your blood to boiling.
The chief villain in this report is Lito Atienza, the current environmental minister and former mayor of Manila who "issued an order eight years ago that effectively banned city-funded health centres from providing modern contraceptives such as condoms, birth control pills and sterilisation."
"The central government has been more intent on promoting natural methods of family planning then modern contraceptives, for which services are left largely to the whim of local councils."
It baffles me, this Catholic insistence on "natural" methods of family planning, like the "rhythm method." If these whackaloons like Lito Atienza are against artificial methods of birth control, like condoms and pills, then why not extend such consideration to all aspects of their lives? Maybe they should refrain from riding in cars or airplanes. After all, automobiles and airplanes are not a "natural" way of getting around. Try walking instead. And you might want to get rid of those telephones and cell phones too. Those are artificial means of communicating with people. Oh, and don't even get me started on e-mail and text messages! But seriously, why should matters of contraception and sexuality be the only realm where human invention may not be applied?
In defense of the high rate of population growth in the Philippines, Atienza cites the booming economies of China and India. Is this clown seriously suggesting that the Philippines needs a billion people to become an economic success story? And to think he is the country's minister for the environment! Evidently, Atienza has never heard of China's "One Child Policy" or of India's efforts to control its population growth (though I wish to point out that I personally do not condone the coercive aspects of China and India's population control programs.)
Then there is this amusing nugget from Atienza:
"So it's not within the powers of man to prevent the birth of a child simply because of material reasons. Who knows – the life you are preventing could be the saviour of not only the Philippines, but the whole of mankind."
This is stupid on so many levels. By simply abstaining from sex, one is preventing the birth of a child.
Besides, the last so-called savior of mankind was supposedly conceived when the creator of the universe impregnated a virgin Jewish teenage girl in the Galilee a couple of thousand years ago. If some Filipina woman is designated by God to be the happy recipient of the next savior, is Atienza seriously suggesting that a birth control pill can thwart the will of this all-powerful deity?