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U.N. Urges Philippines To Pass Reproductive Health Bill Amid Protests From Catholic Church

“The United Nations has urged the Philippines to pass a bill that will allow the government to provide free contraceptives,” BBC News reports (8/5). “UNFPA country coordinator Ugochi Florence Daniels said the [reproductive health (RH)] bill is important for the Philippines to achieve its health-related targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” including maternal health, HIV/AIDS and infant mortality, the Philippine Star writes (Crisostomo, 8/4). “The House of Representatives plans to decide Tuesday whether to end debate on the bill and put it to a vote,” the Associated Press/Seattle Times notes (Gomez, 8/5).

“[T]he bill has met strong opposition from the Catholic Church, with priests leading the protest against it,” BBC writes, adding, “They say introducing the law would corrupt moral values in the country” (8/5). “Philippine nuns and priests led thousands of Catholics in a protest in Manila Saturday against” the bill, according to Agence France-Presse, which notes, “The protesters, mainly dressed in red, gathered at a Catholic shrine to voice opposition to the planned legislation, which would also encourage families to have only two children in an effort to reduce poverty” (8/4). “Catholic bishops led thousands in similar prayer rallies” across the country, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Bloomberg Businessweek adds (Guinto/Batino, 8/5).