- Tide of suffering in an unholy war
Jan De Volder
As the Islamist group Boko Haram is said to be surrounding the city of Maiduguri in the latest stage of its campaign of violence against Christians and Muslims alike, an expert on the country considers why the authorities are powerless to halt its progress
- Home News
- World News
- Parish Practice
- Letters Extra
- The living Spirit
- Bishop says church hierarchy had no idea of his affair with woman six years ago
- Westminster auxiliary John Arnold appointed new Bishop of Salford
- Pope Francis likens neglect of older people in care homes to ‘hidden euthanasia’
- Iraqi Patriarch condemns US-led air strikes ‘that will prompt mass exodus’
The Supreme Court in the Philippines has approved a law long fought by the country’s Catholic bishops that will make contraception freely available, make sex education compulsory in schools and provide medical care for women who have had illegal abortions.
The Reproductive Health bill requires government health centres to distribute free condoms and contraceptive pills.
But a spokesman for the Philippines’ bishops' conference said the ruling was not a “lost cause” because the court declared unconstitutional the inclusion of abortifacients as contraceptives, a requirement that church-run health facilities provide contraception, and a ban on health-care providers who refuse to offer contraception.
The court had deferred implementating the law when it was passed in December 2012 after the Catholic Church and other religious groups questioned its constitutionality.
The Philippines is about 80 per cent Catholic, and with a population approaching 100 million, has one of the highest birth rates in Asia.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Philippines’ bishops’ conference, said that although the court had upheld the Reproductive Health (RH) law, “it has truly watered down the RH law and consequently upheld the importance of adhering to an informed religious conscience even among government workers.”