Legalization of Abortion in the Philippines Pushed

Manilla (1999) -- Proposed legislation to legalize abortion in this largely Catholic nation would have a rough sailing in Congress, Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora said yesterday.

"It's a long way before that measure becomes a law," a Palace statement quoted him as saying.

"There are so many steps before we can come up with a system of legalized abortion for any reason," he added, noting that under present laws abortion is considered a criminal act.

The proposed legislation in the Philippines Congress seeks to legalize abortion for "specific instances" such as to supposedly protect the health of the mother.

Rep. Casimiro Padilla, of Camarines Norte, filed the bill last week. President Estrada has not expressed a position on the bill but the influential Catholic Church has vowed to block its passage.

Msgr. Pedro Quitorio, spokesperson of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, has expressed dismay, saying Padilla has already "convicted the unborn babies as criminals and monsters."

Quitorio strongly reacted to Padilla's justification that unborn and unwanted babies should be aborted because "the unwanted children who were not nurtured with love in their childhood bring to the fore their violent attitude."

"Padilla's logic is distorted," Quitorio said. "There is no such thing as an unwanted baby in a civilized world, but for some legislators, it is always kill, kill, kill. Now, it's kill the babies."

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