Understanding Catholic Fundamentalism in the Philippines: How conservative religious teachings on women, family and contraception are wielded to impede the Reproductive Health Law and other reproductive health policies


Philippines remains a Catholic state in practice despite being a secular state by proclamation; the Catholic Church has great power over Philippine politics and society in the past until the present, as manifested in the country’s moral values, way of life and behaviour in social and public activities. Catholic Fundamentalism in particular have opposed Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) policies, especially the Reproductive Health (RH) Law; at the same time, there exists Catholic Progressives, whose views on SRH are more liberal. This report scrutinizes the Catholic Church’s official teachings related to RH and rights and its personages/blocs and their impact on RH policies. The teachings of Fundamentalist Catholic – which limits women’s rights outside of the “family”, among other things – are contrasted against that of the Progressive Catholics which challenges the fundamentalist’s beliefs by citing equally authoritative teachings as references. The current study also recommends specific actions to policymakers to ensure that SRHR are “respected, protected and fulfilled”, and to RH advocates to push for SRH policies and programs in different areas and levels of governance.

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Junice L.D. Melgar (MD) and Jocelyn Carrera-Pacete