Statement on Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning
31 May-5 June 1974
For countless centuries, man lived a precarious existence upon the earth. He was threatened with extinction by wild animals, by famine, by pestilence, by disease, and by war. It is only within the last two centuries that overpopulation or the population explosion has become a threat to human beings. At least, the command God gave to Adam and Eve have been fulfilled: Be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth.
While the birth rate in the Philippines has not increased, phenomenal advances in medical services and other factors have resulted in very rapid growth in population. From seven and one-half million in 1903, the population has increased to more than thirty million today. With the present rate of birth and with decreases in the rate of deaths, the population is expected to double every 24 years.
While over-population is a great danger to the nation as a whole, too many babies may be catastrophic for an individual family. It may frustrate the possibility of further education for the father; it may ruin the mother’s health or sanity, and it may make it impossible for the children to receive the care and education that will enable them to develop their God-given capacities and be assets to society.
Therefore, we call upon our churches and their members to study, pray and work.
1. For study and implementation of the Reports of the East Asia Christian Conference Consultation on The Churches in Asia and Responsible Parenthood; especially, for serious consideration of the position set forth in the Introductory Statement of that Report which reads:
In its physical purpose, marriage offers a means to martial companionship for the expression of love and the nourishment of the one-flesh marriage union, and also a means for the majority of couples to express their love and fulfill their union in procreation (Gen. 1:28). Through the gifts of medical science, these ends are more clearly seen to be separable in God’s intent. Both contribute to the completeness of the marital union, but neither is subordinated to the other. Whether marital sex relations shall serve the need for companionship or also the claims of parenthood depends on the concrete circumstances of the marriage at a given time. The new knowledge of revolution and contraception underscores the responsibility of the couple to make parenthood or its postponement matters of ethical and care decisions.
2. For responsible parenthood and for bringing into the world only as many children as can be properly raised and prepared for full participation in life;
3. For the offering by church vocation-training institution of suitable courses and seminars under competent leadership on marriage counseling including preparation for marriage and family responsibilities. Such a program will enable church workers to help provide for church member pre-marriage and marriage counseling, as well as education in responsible parenthood; and
4. For positive efforts by competent persons in giving sound family planning information and materials to underprivileged families who come to church-related hospitals, clinics, community centers, and other social agencies. This counsel would be given as a matter of routine, as other needs are met.
Ref: General Assembly May 31-June 5, 1974, pp. 22-23.