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Sunday, February 22, 2009

SWS SURVEY SAYS Church a hindrance to family planning

MANILA, Philippines—Six out of 10 Manila residents think the Catholic Church is interfering with government policies on reproductive health and family planning, a recent survey by the private polling firm Social Weather Stations (SWS) said.

The Forum for Family Planning and Development Inc. (FORUM), a non-government organization working for population management, health and family welfare, which commissioned the survey, said this shows the Church as a hindrance to government’s family planning programs, which are supported by about 90 percent of city residents.

According to the survey, which was conducted from Dec. 27 to 29 and sampled 600 Manila residents across all economic brackets, 62 percent agreed that the Catholic Church “interferes in the affairs of the government especially in the issue of reproductive health and family planning” while 23 percent disagreed.

“The Church is a hindrance and an impediment. Their objections to reproductive health is not based on any scientific data but on what they think is morally evil,” FORUM president Benjamin de Leon said. De Leon’s group held a press conference in Quezon City on Wednesday to unveil the survey results.

He added that social scientists had long raised the correlation of high population growth rates to low rates of economic development in a country.

The SWS survey also revealed that 74 percent agreed that population growth increases the poverty incidence and 69 percent agreed that overpopulation is a problem in the country.

The survey also showed that 94 percent believed limiting the number of children is good for the health of the mother and the children, and 90 percent believe the government should provide free medical services to the poor who wish to use any family planning method.

All this, De Leon said, shows that Manila residents, no matter the social class, are well informed about population, family planning and reproductive health.

“Manila is the capital city and what goes on there reflects the mood of the whole country,” said De Leon. Alcuin Papa