You know you’re too rigid when even the usually conservative Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) calls you out for your rules.
An article published by CBCP News yesterday shared what a couple of their officials think about a Baguio City school’s controversial policy that requires students to undergo pregnancy tests.
Fr. Jerome Secillano, Executive Secretary of the bishops’ Committee on Public Affairs questioned what pregnancy had to do with a student’s education.
“What has it to do with education? Is it meant to monitor a student’s performance? At the very least, it is not a sound policy and it may even infringe on the student’s rights,” Secillano said.
The priest’s concern echoes that of feminists and human rights groups who were outraged by Pines City College’s (PCC) mandatory pregnancy test.
The policy was made public on Tuesday when feminist Elizabeth Angsioco shared photos of a memo that reportedly came from PCC on Twitter.
“Pines City Colleges in Baguio conducts mandatory pregnancy tests on students. This is a clear violation of the Magna Carta of Women which prohibits all forms of discrimination against women (in this case, vs. pregnant students). This is also a violation of the right to privacy,” she wrote.
Pines City Colleges in Baguio conducts mandatory pregnancy tests on students. This is a clear violation of the Magna Carta of Women which prohibits all forms of discrimination against women (in this case, vs. pregnant students). This is also a violation of the right to privacy. pic.twitter.com/XvkJhFkNZ0
— elizabeth angsioco (@bethangsioco) November 6, 2018
The memo states that female students in the departments of dentistry, nursing, and pharmacy are required to take a pregnancy test. Those who are pregnant are not allowed to enroll in some subjects that will “endanger both mother and child.”
But even with the backlash, PCC said in a statement that it stands by its policy.
“Pines City Colleges abides by its policy of pregnancy tests for female students who are enrolling in any subject that would endanger both mother and child.
“It is a policy agreed to by our students upon their enrollment in this institution. We believe it is a policy protective of our students while they are in our care and are deployed to internship programs in hospitals and to clinical practice,” the statement reads.
For another CBCP official, this is an overstep on the part of the school.
For Bishop Roberto Mallari of the CBCP Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education, a student’s pregnancy is the responsibility of the parents, not the school.
“I see this matter about pregnancy as a concern of parents,” Mallari said. “I think that they should ask also the opinion of parents regarding the imposition of this policy.”
Or, you know, what about the opinion of the students they’re forcing?