Philippines government goes ahead to provide birth control to the poor despite church ban

The Philippines government is pushing ahead with its birth control measures to provide free contraceptives to poor couples despite heavy criticism and protest from the dominant Roman Catholic Church.

Speaking in a satellite television interview from the United States where he is on a seven-day visit, Aquino stressed that the number of children a couple had was a matter of personal choice.

"The government is obligated to inform everybody of their responsibilities and their choices. At the end of the day, government might provide assistance to those who are without means if they want to employ a particular method," he said.

"I believe the couple will be in the best position to determine what is best for the family, how to space (the births), what methods they can rely on and so forth," said Aquino at a "town hall" style meeting with expatriate Filipinos.

"They face the responsibility for the children that they bring in and government is willing to assist them."

The replies came in response to questions on how he planned on curbing the Philippines excessive growing population even in the face of opposition from the Church.

The church influences over 80% of the population in the Philippines and has previously attacked officials that championed birth control. The church and its allies have been successfully up until now blocked the passage of a proposed law first introduced in 2008 that would require the state to provide citizens with “natural and modern family planning means”.

What has changed though is the people a recent survey is showing as much as 68% of the population is in favour of the government providing legal means of family planning. What caused the change? Poverty has gotten worse yet wider education due to things like the internet  has no doubt influenced peoples understanding of the poverty trap. People are realising that although they are devout Catholics they are also aware of the damage having a large family does and that the Philippines population boom is only getting worse currently.

 

In February, then-health secretary Esperanza Cabral incurred the wrath of the Catholic Church when the department handed out free condoms in Manila on Valentine’s Day. Three bishops demanded that she be fired but she remained in her post until a change of administration.

The Philippines estimates its 2010 population at 94.01 million, up from 76.5 million in the 2000 census and making it the 12th most populous nation in the world.