MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Catholic church led tens of thousands of Filipinos yesterday in one of the biggest rallies yet against a proposed family planning law, saying it will promote artificial contraception and lead to more abortions.
Police said about 40,000 people gathered at Manila’s Rizal Park for the prayer rally led by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales.
The proposed law would require the government to provide information on family planning methods, make contraceptives available, and hold reproductive health and sexuality classes from fifth grade through high school. It would also raise AIDS awareness and help couples determine the right number of children and birth spacing.
Church officials have blocked passage of family planning laws in the past, saying they would erode moral values and encourage promiscuity and early pregnancies.
“Being married is holy, and intimacy is holy because this will create new life that is a gift from God,’’ Rosales said. “Sex is not a game that should be taught to children along with the use of condoms supposedly to avoid disease.’’
He said Filipinos should strengthen the values of sacrifice and discipline.
“If a person is disciplined, he will have discipline in bed, and if he has discipline in bed, he will have discipline in the streets, and if he has discipline in the streets, he will have discipline with his wallet,’’ he said.
The bill for “responsible parenthood, reproductive health and population and development’’ is in the final stages before a House of Representatives vote. A separate bill is being debated in the Senate.