Episcopal Church of the Philippines applauds govt birth control bill

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has struck down portions of the country’s new contraception law, reaffirming the ban on abortion, and introducing safeguards to protect the rights of parents and of health workers. The Reproductive Health and Population Development Act of 2008 was passed by Congress in 2012 over the vociferous opposition of the Roman Catholic Church, which objected to government sponsored birth control programs and sex education programs. However, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines (ECP) gave its support to the law. On 1 April 2011 the Prime Bishop of the ECP, the Most Rev. Edward Malecdan stated the 1958 Lambeth Conference affirmed the morality of contraception and stated that family planning was among the prudential choices given by God to man. The bill was pro-life, pro-women, pro-child, he argued, stating the state should “uphold and promote responsible parenthood. In its 25 April 2014 decision the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the law that defined the beginning of human life as the moment an embryo implants in the uterus—rather than the moment the ovum is fertilized. The Court also annulled rules requiring Catholic hospitals and health workers to endorse contraceptives with their patients and gave minors access to sexual and reproductive health services without parental consent.

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