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Aquino to risk Vatican wrath

'Duty to the people' over birth control trumps excommunication fear

The president addresses graduates from the University of the Philippines, yesterday (Photo: Malacañang Photo Bureau) The president addresses graduates from the University of the Philippines, yesterday (Photo: Malacañang Photo Bureau)
  • Julian Labores, Manila
  • Philippines
  • April 18, 2011
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President Benigno Aquino said yesterday he is willing to risk excommunication from the Catholic Church rather than scrap the Responsible Parenthood (RP) Bill.

"I remain committed to pushing for the introduction of a law for responsible parenthood....  At risk of excommunication, it is my obligation as a leader," Aquino told graduates from the University of the Philippines.

"In the end I must listen to my conscience and do what is right," the president said. He said he cannot stand by and watch the cycle of poverty continue as unplanned births spiral.

The measure being proposed by Aquino faces strong opposition from the Catholic Church because of provisions that allow the use of contraception.

Catholic Church officials earlier called for the scrapping of the Responsible Parenthood Bill and the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill now pending in the Philippine Congress.

Aquino spokesperson, Abigail Valte, said the RP bill will not favor the Church's stand or the position of those supporting the RH bill.

"There is a need to revise, refocus and educate Filipino couples and provide them with all available information regarding natural and artificial methods of family planning, and for them to consult with the individual religious entities they belong to," Aquino earlier said.

He said his RP bill has a "lot in common " with the RH bill, adding it is a "revision" of this proposed legislation.

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