Philippines moves closer to birth control law
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines moved closer to a controversial birth control law Thursday as lawmakers passed a version of the bill after a long debate over an issue that has deeply polarised the largely Catholic nation.
The bill paving the way for sex education in schools and the provision of free contraceptives in a country with one of Asia's fastest-growing populations was passed by the lower house of parliament after a five-hour vote.
"Let us have children by choice, not by chance," Mr Edcel Lagman, a lawmaker who initiated the legislation, said after voting on the bill that passed with a narrow majority just before dawn.
His comment reflects the view of President Benigno Aquino who is pushing for the law that he hopes would help bring down poverty in a nation of nearly 100 million people as well as the high maternal mortality rate.