A family planning bill currently moving through the Philippine legislature that would promote sex education and contraceptive use is expected to be defeated. This outcome is expected largely because of the Philippine Congress’s strong support of the Roman Catholic Church. According to Agence France Presse, only 99 members out of the 238 member House of Representatives have openly expressed support of the bill (see PDF). An alternative maternal health bill is currently being drafted by local Roman Catholic bishops.
According to Reuters, Reverend Father Melvin Castro of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life calls the bill unconstitutional and alleges that it infringes on citizen’s religious rights. Supporters of the bill contend that since the Philippines has one of Asia’s highest population rates, the legislation is essential to curbing population growth, according to Agence France Presse.