Yesterday the Philippine House of Representatives passed the Reproductive Health Bill (RH Bill), which will provide government-funded sex education and birth control across the country. After sitting in the Philippine Congress for almost 15 years, the RH Bill will be sent to President Benigno Aquino on Wednesday after a reconciliation committee condenses differences between the House and Senate versions.
The RH Bill has been heatedly debated in the country due to the prominence of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines spoke about contraceptives covered under the bill in a statement, "These artificial means are fatal to human life, either preventing it from fruition or actually destroying it." While more than 80% of people in the Philippines identify as Catholic, the RH Bill had widespread public support.
President Aquino will sign the bill into law as early as Wednesday. His administration is credited by many with helping the RH Bill move forward after being buried for so long. A spokesperson for the president told reporters, "The people now have the government on their side as they raise their families in a manner that is just and empowered."
Media Resources: BBC News 12/17/12; CNN 12/17/12; New York Times 12/17/12; Time 12/17/12; Feminist Newswire 12/13/12