Philippine court upholds the legality of contraception bill. Catholic Church makes sad faces.

There’s a sad issue in the Philippines:

One in five women of reproductive age in the Philippines has an unmet family planning need, the UN Population Fund says, leading to unintended pregnancies. The population is growing by 1.7 percent a year, compared with 1.1 percent for the world as a whole, according to a 2013 UN Population Fundreport.

So the government set itself to fixing this problem and came up with a solution: the succinctly named Reproductive Health Act which, among other things, will provide condoms to the nation’s poor.  Sounds grand, but the Catholic Church filed a lawsuit.  I’m happy to announce the Church lost:

“The Reproductive Health Law is not unconstitutional based on the grounds raised,” court spokesman Theodore Te said today at a televised briefing in Manila. The tribunal handed down its ruling “after scrutiny of various arguments and contentions.”

The law would guarantee universal access to contraception methods, fertility control, sex education and maternal care. The United Nations has said it will help reduce poverty among the fifth of the nation’s 107 million people who live in slum conditions.

Condoms for the poor?  Awesome.

Fertility control for those who want it and *gasp* education?  Who on earth could be opposed to that.  Oh, right.  It doesn’t matter how sensible a policy it is, it doesn’t matter how many people it helps, if it conflicts with the religious dogma of a bunch of old dudes in dresses, it must go.

Are there any other reasons the Catholic Church might not be happy?

“It’s a big win not only for Aquino’s push to curb population growth but also for women who have long defied the church by seeking to control their own bodies,” Benito Lim, a political science professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, said by phone. “It also shows the Catholic Church doesn’t wield as much political influence as before.”

Music to my ears.


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