UPI in English  |   UPI Arabic  |   UPI en Español  |   UPIU

Philippines passes contraception reforms

Published By United Press International
MANILA, Philippines, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The Philippines Congress approved its Reproductive Health Bill, offering government-provided contraception and sex education classes, after heated debate.

The bill, known as the RH Bill, passed the Senate 13-8 and the House of Representatives 133-79 Sunday night. A reconciliation committee will work out differences in the House and Senate versions before the legislation goes to President Benigno Aquino, who is expected to sign it before Christmas, The Philippine Star reported Monday.

The sweeping reforms ended months of debate and acrimony pitting politicians and social organizations against the Catholic Church in the heavily Catholic country, the newspaper noted.

"The people now have the government on their side as they raise their families in a manner that is just and empowered," the president's spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, said in a statement.

Although the bill was heavily criticized by the nation's Catholic Church hierarchy, principal author and co-sponsor Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago downplayed the church's opposition.

"There is no force more powerful than an idea whose time has come and that idea today is the RH Bill," Defensor-Santiago said.
© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

Photo Gallery
1 of 1
Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa