UA&P affirms pro-life stand

UA&P affirms pro-life stand

by Daryl Zamora, CCO on August 22, 2011 - 4:08 pm

The University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) management and student council have released separate statements opposing bills that “trample on the right to conscientious objection” and “promote the use of abortifacients” and the “anti-life lifestyle.”

From left: IPE student Ramon Cabrera, Board of Trustees member Dr. Antonio Torralba, UA&P President Dr. Jose Maria Mariano, University Counsel Atty. Jo Aurea Imbong and CRC Executive Director Dr. Bernardo Villegas.

In a press briefing last July 29, UA&P President Jose Maria Mariano read the University’s statement, “prompted by the current debate on the reproductive health [RH] bills.” The statement was written in light of the University Credo and was signed by UA&P’s highest officials.

“We…strongly reject any attempt at legislation that promotes the use of abortifacients, including those disguised as [contraceptives] that in fact kill the newly conceived human person by preventing its being implanted in the womb,” Mariano read.

A non-sectarian university that upholds Catholic social teachings, UA&P asserted that “the right to life must be respected and protected from conception to natural death.” It adheres to the “scientific conclusion” that life begins at fertilization, “the union of male and female reproductive cells.”

Students ‘stand up for life’

Supporting management were more than a thousand UA&P students (about 63 percent of the total student population) who signed a different statement written by the University’s College of Arts and Sciences Student Executive Board.

Posters around campus promoting UA&P students' pro-life project.

Entitled “Stand Up for Life”, the statement “[upholds] that conception is fertilization,” and that “the fertilized ovum is a whole, separate, unique, living, human being.”

The students’ statement, read by political economy student Ramon Cabrera, also touches on the bill’s provision for sex education among children.

“We believe that a child’s education in human sexuality is primarily the right and duty of the parents who are by nature the first educators of their children,” Cabrera read. “We believe that relegating sex education to and mandating it in the classroom threaten the family by undermining this natural right of parents.”

During the open forum, Cabrera questioned the assumption that the State is the best agent of correct sex education, when it is not even “competent” in teaching basic subjects such as math and English in public schools.

UA&P professor Antonio Torralba added that what UA&P advocates is a “character-based sexuality education,” which promotes a chaste lifestyle among the youth.

Another look at sexuality

UA&P president Dr. Mariano reading the statement.

The UA&P statement also asserts that conjugal love is shown through “the honorable use of [the couple’s] sexual faculties in an exclusive and lasting relationship that is open to life.”

According to the statement, “responsible parenthood” should not mean “negating parenthood by fostering contraceptive practices, or negating responsibility by fostering sexual activity without self-mastery and discipline.”

On the other hand, the students’ statement says: “We…believe that a utilitarian and impersonal education in human sexuality…which merely considers the biological aspects of sex and is unmindful of the whole person, creates a mindset that trivializes the dignity of sex and the human being.”

Freedom of consciences

The UA&P statement also says that “the State should protect the freedom of consciences and may not make legal pressure bear on practices contrary to the explicit religious or moral convictions of any of its citizens.”

As an academic institution, UA&P affirmed its “freedom to adhere to [its] corporate credo, and [its]moral and religious values, as long as they do not prejudice the authentic common good.”

UA&P referred to House Bill 4244’s provision that penalizes business firms which refuse to provide artificial contraceptives to their employees. HB 4244 is the RH bill pending in the Lower House of Congress, and artificial contraception is against Catholic doctrine.

Population and poverty

Among the press briefing’s panelists was Harvard-trained economist and UA&P co-founder Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas.

He insisted that “population growth does not lead to poverty” as some pundits would say. Author of Positive Dimensions of Population Growth, Dr. Villegas said he had studied population and economics in the past 50 years, and his conclusions on the subject remain consistent.

Asked for comment regarding studies that say a growing population hinders progress, he said such research works are the “minority…with samples that are too few” and with a research period that is “so short.”

Meanwhile, the UA&P statement says that “it is by sound economic policy, especially investments in rural infrastructure and quality education for all, coupled with good governance, including morality and honesty in the private lives of government officials, that Government contributes to poverty alleviation.”

Abortion and contraception

Also part of the panel, UA&P legal counsel and pro-life advocate Atty. Jo Aurea Imbong stressed that “as people go to contraception, there will be a rise — not a fall — in abortion.”

Dr. Villegas supported Atty. Imbong’s claim saying, “In the US, there are contraceptives available in vending machines, and yet 2 million babies are being aborted every year.”

Text by Mr. Daryl Zamora, Corporate Communications Office

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