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Prolife Position Paper on Divorce

 

Pro-Life Philippines argues that:

  1. Strengthening marriage strengthens the Philippines.
  2. Divorce will add to our country’s problems rather than solve them.
  3. Effective solutions to marriage problems exist or can be developed.
  1. Strengthening marriage strengthens the Philippines.

The wisdom of our Philippine Constitution mandates our legislators to “strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution,” and to protect the “inviolable social institution” of marriage as “the foundation of the family.”

This wisdom has been confirmed by robust social science research that shows that the institution of marriage benefits society in a number of ways:[1]

  • High quality relationships. With its commitment to serving the spouse and children, marriage fosters high quality relationships between adults, as well as between parents and children.
  • Greater happiness. Married couples and their children are happier than divorced couples and their children.
  • Better health. Marriage is associated with better health and less illnesses for the family. Marriage seems to be associated with better health among minorities and the poor. Parental marriage is associated with a sharply lower risk of infant mortality.
  • More mental health. Married couples and their children are least likely to have mental disorders.
  • Greater wealth. Married couples and their children are wealthier than divorced couples and their children.
  • Improved parenting ability. Marriage enhances an adult’s ability to parent.
  1. Divorce will add to our country’s problems rather than solve them.

Our country should learn from the experience of other countries who have introduced divorce. The researches cited above show the effects of divorce in society:

  • More crimes. Boys raised in single-parent families are more likely to engage in delinquent and criminal behavior.
  • More suicides. People who are divorced/ separated have an 83 percent higher risk of suicide than those who are married. The risk of suicide increases among children whose parents divorce.
  • More child abuse. Divorce is correlated with a greater risk of abuse and neglect of children. A child who is not living with his or her own two married parents is at greater risk for child abuse.
  • More premature deaths among children. The child of divorced parents has a higher risk of premature death.
  • More health problems. Those who experience parental divorce or separation are more likely to have health problems.
  • More depression. Divorce is related to increased depression and anxiety for both boys and girls of all ages.
  • More poverty. Divorce and unmarried childbearing increase poverty for both children and mothers. Divorced mothers are 2.83 times more likely to be in poverty than those who remain married.
  • More problems in family relationships. Divorce creates distance between parents and children, even compared to children living in married but unhappy families.
  • More divorce and unwed parents. Growing up outside an intact marriage increases the likelihood that children will themselves divorce or become unwed parents.

All the above entails additional cost for the government. US research has shown that if the American government pledged to reduce family breakdown by just one percent, taxpayers would save around $1.1 billion dollars each year.[2]

  1. Effective solutions to marriage problems exist or can be developed.

A common reason given by divorce advocates is to give a second chance to happiness for people in an unhappy marriage. However, empirical research shows these:

  • Divorcees are not happier. Unhappily married adults who divorced or separated were no happier, on average, than unhappily married adults who stayed married.[3]
  • Divorcees tend to have greater failure in next marriages. Second and third marriages have a higher failure rate than the first. While 50% percent of first marriages end in divorce in the US, the rate is 67% for the second marriage, and 73% for the third marriage.[4]

Given all the above, it important to look for solutions to marriage problems which do not entail destroying the very institution that makes the family and the whole country strong and happy:

  • Declaration of nullity and improvement of laws in this regard. Declare null marriages that were never really marriages. The government has to improve and facilitate the process for this declaration of nullity.[5]
  • Therapeutic separation. Couples in gravely intolerable situations can go through therapeutic separation.[6]
  • Effective marriage preparation. At the root of many failures in marriages is the deficient preparation of those who want to get married. The government has to improve the marriage preparation method and content.
  • Effective marriage therapy. Studies have shown the effectiveness of programs that help troubled marriages.[7] There has be more government support for these programs.
  • Legislation to support the responsibilities of marriage. Lawmakers can develop new legislation that provides:[8]
    • Tax deduction for each new child
    • Improved leave benefits for father and mother with new born children.
    • Humane housing standards to accommodate larger families.
    • Flexible minimum wage to adjust to additional children.
    • Financial support for the education of children – many countries support not just public schools but private schools so as to lessen the tuition burden of parents.[9]
    • GSIS and SSS benefits to support additional children.

The time of our government will be better spent if legislators implement our constitution by strengthening marriage and the family, and protecting them from harm, so as to make our country stronger: more committed, happier, healthier, wealthier and more productive.

[1] Why Marriage Matters, Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences (2005): http://americanvalues.org/catalog/pdfs/why_marriage_matters2.pdf; Patrick F. Fagan and Aaron Churchill, The Effects of Divorce on Children (2012): http://marri.us/wp-content/uploads/The-Effects-of-Divorce-on-Children.pdf

[2] https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/upholding-the-right-to-life-is-the-foundation-of-our-society-sam-brownback ; https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF11E70.pdf?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=bed4248339-LifeSiteNews_com_Intl_Full_Text_05_30_2011&utm_medium=email

[3] Linda J. Waite, Don Browning, William J. Doherty, Maggie Gallagher, Ye Luo, and Scott M. Stanley, Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages (2002): http://americanvalues.org/catalog/pdfs/does_divorce_make_people_happy.pdf

[4] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201202/the-high-failure-rate-second-and-third-marriages?fbclid=IwAR0pwuJMEfQBaiA1kpMxDxG0QPGS4v6CSmWXKhHyRqvDim9_gOSl4Xjt5-8

[5] Please see the article of Atty. Cristina Montes and Fr. Jaime Achacoso: https://opinion.inquirer.net/112023/trusting-church-wisdom-void-marriages

[6] https://www.gottman.com/blog/do-trial-separations-work/

[7] https://www.apa.org/research/action/marital; https://www.jstor.org/stable/584995?seq=1

[8] With inputs from Professor Linda Valenzona of the University of Asia and the Pacific.

[9] https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1081563

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