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Birth control dialogue ‘must be wider’

Women's group tells Aquino he should not just listen to Catholic opinions

Birth control dialogue ‘must be wider’
Elizabeth Angsioco reporters, Manila

April 1, 2011

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Dialogue over the upcoming reproductive health bill between the government and the Catholic Church needs to include other elements in society, a women’s group is demanding. “The president must be reminded that the country is not 100 per cent Catholic. It is only right that he listens to other religious leaders,” said Elizabeth Angsioco of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines . She said president Benigno Aquino should also be made aware of the experiences of ordinary women who have lacked reproductive health services and who would like to see the bill passed. “Again, men discuss our ovaries in our absence,” Angsioco said. She said her group fears that consultations with the Catholic bishops may derail the bill’s passage. “The Palace statement that they are going to submit a new bill is quite disturbing…. In fact, the bill had already been amended to accommodate some of the concerns of the bishops,” she said. On Wednesday, Church leaders led by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal and Bishop Nereo Odchimar, president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, met with Aquino to discuss the birth control issue. Aquino says his proposed “responsible parenthood” measure takes the middle path between the reproductive health bill and the position of the Church. PM13829.1647

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