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Why Philippine laws are anti-family, anti-marriage, anti-children

SANDY MILLAR-UNSPLASH

Jordan Peterson once pointed out that people essentially can’t help but reveal the truth. Listen carefully and long enough, they will tell you exactly who they are. With regard to Planned Parenthood, that is unfortunately all so true.

In 1969, Frederick Jaffe (then vice-president of Planned Parenthood) wrote a memorandum that gave a range of ideas for decimating the population. On paper, the coercive measures mentioned in the memo were not explicitly advocated and Jaffe himself — writing a letter to Senator Alan Cranston in 1973 — stated that “the memorandum makes clear that neither I nor the Planned Parenthood Federation of America advocates any of the specific proposals embodied [therein].” Instead, Jaffe pointed out that “the achievement of a society in which effective contraception is efficiently distributed to all, based on present voluntary norms, would either result in a tolerable rate of growth, or go very far to achieving it. If this hypothesis is basically confirmed, it would negate the need for an explicit US population policy which goes beyond voluntary norms.”

Nevertheless, it is a fact that Jaffe — founder of what eventually became is the Guttmacher Institute — was a strong proponent of birth and population control, and actually headed the “Population Control” division of Planned Parenthood.

The crux of the memo is a chart entitled “Proposed measure to reduce fertility, by universality or selectivity of impact in the US,” with suggestions on controlling the birth rate by “social constraints,” “economic deterrents/incentives,” and “social controls.” Of the first, such for example includes restructuring the family by changing views on it or discouraging marriage. In fine, the Memo expressly stated essentially the following objectives:

• To restructure the family by postponing or avoiding marriage, encouraging women to work, altering the perceived ideal family size, encourage family limitation, put fertility control agents in the water supply;

• Develop housing policies discouraging private home ownership and stop awarding public housing based on family size;

• Modify tax policies by including substantial marriage taxes, child tax, remove parents’ tax exemption, additional taxes on parents with more than one or two children in school, reduce/eliminate child allowances, bonuses for delayed marriage and greater child-spacing;

• Encourage increase of homosexuality,

• Encourage compulsory abortion of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and confine childbearing to a limited number of adults;

• Encourage compulsory sterilization of those with already two children except for a few who would be allowed three;

• Limit children by stock certificate type permits for children, payments to encourage sterilization, payments to encourage abortion, allow abortion and sterilization on demand;

• Encourage women to limit childbirth, give pensions for women with less children, eliminate welfare payments after the first two children, provide fewer child care facilities for working women, limit/eliminate public-financed medical care, remove loans and subsidies to families with more children;

• Encourage contraceptive policies, particularly by improving contraceptive technology and by making contraception available to all.

It is a document straight out of hell, and in 1977 Jaffe was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences for “his contributions to public health.”

In the Philippines, the influence of the Jaffe Memo is palpable: we have a Reproductive Health (RH) Law that allots tax money for the purpose of giving out free contraceptives. Laws also discourage the traditional family set-up: our present tax system provides no specific benefits for families with dependents, while RA 11210 gives single mothers — whether of the private or public sector — an additional 15 days fully paid leave not available for married mothers, making a total of 120 days. RA 8972 (the “Solo Parent Act”), expanded by RA 11861, provides for taxpayer funded housing, education, and health benefits for single mothers. Add the legislative initiatives pushing for same sex marriage and divorce, plus pro-homosexuality legislation such as the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) bills.

All that within the context of a continuously falling Philippine fertility rate: 2019 registered 2.87 births per woman, compared to 3.21 in 2009. In 2020, the fertility rate fell to 2.53, fell again in 2021 by 1.03% to 2.504, then another 1% decline to 2.479 in 2022. This naturally resulted in a gradually ageing population: senior citizens made up 6.8% of the population in 2012, which rose to 8.5% in 2019. Philippine median age is now 25.7, when in 2010 it was 23.1. Quite alarmingly, more than half (54.3%) of births in 2018 were to unwed mothers. In 2020, that rose to 57% or 870,820 newborns to unwed mothers.

This within the further context of a world population, rather than being overpopulated, conceivably shrinking to alarming levels (“Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100,” The Lancet, October 2020, Fertility, mortality, migration, and population scenarios for 195 countries and territories from 2017 to 2100: a forecasting analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study — The Lancet).

It is urgent time indeed for government to stop dabbling in anti-marriage and anti-family legislations and measures, and instead reverse course by promoting the traditional family, marriage of one man and one woman, the having of children, and of proper character formation.

Jemy Gatdula is a senior fellow of the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations and a Philippine Judicial Academy law lecturer for constitutional philosophy and jurisprudence

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