Touching the Third Rail

Politicians in the Philippines are often combative, even outrageous. But when it comes to the issue of contraception, they keep awfully quiet. They know the Catholic Church considers artificial birth control immoral, unholy and akin to abortion, and they know the church plays hardball. Senator Rodolfo Biazon dared to propose a family-planning bill last fall that is still looking for a co-sponsor. For his trouble, the ex-Armed Forces Chief of Staff was branded "antichurch" by the president of the hugely influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and "Satan" and "anti-Christ" by the faithful. That the impoverished nation's birthrate (2.36%) is...

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