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Clinton: Family planning a 'positive' choice for society

November 12, 2009 5:16pm
In her first visit to the Philippines as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that her government respects the anti-contraceptive stance of various influential sectors in the Philippines, even though it contradicts the US’ foreign policy on reproductive rights.

The US’ government's pro-choice stance runs counter to the views of various influential sectors in the Philippines. The Catholic Church, in particular, has led the staunch opposition to the passage of House Bill 5043 or the Reproductive Health Bill, which remains pending in Congress.

In a news conference, Clinton responded to a question on reproductive rights as a key foreign policy of President Obama's administration by saying the US government is keeping its hands off on the Philippines’ view on the issue.

“We certainly do not have any intention or plan to preempt or otherwise go beyond or around what the attitudes of society are," she told reporters in Malacañang.

But at the same time, Clinton highlighted the positive impact of family planning globally.

“I believe strongly that family planning is an important aspect of development and I’ve seen this around the world," she said.

Clinton also emphasized the importance of giving women the freedom to choose their options with respect to their reproductive rights.

“I think empowering women to be able to make choices that are in the best interest of the children they already have, and the family size that they desire – it increases education outcome, it increases income generation, it provides a much stronger basis for human development," she said.

“Trying to empower and educate women so that they are able to make these decisions and they have access to family planning is not only positive to the woman and her family but for the larger society," Clinton added.

Clinton announced in a conference early this year that the US government is ready to fund efforts abroad on family planning. - ANDREO CALONZO, GMANews.TV
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