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Filipino bishops break off talks with government on birth-control bill

Catholic World News - February 21, 2011

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have broken off talks with the government about legislation to promote family planning, explaining that the proposed bill is moving ahead too fast to allow for productive negotiations.

The bishops have vowed to oppose legislation that would promote family-planning in schools and offer no “conscience clause” protection for health-care workers. Earlier this month, the bishops’ conference urged public opposition to the measure, and indicated that they would support a campaign of civil disobedience if the objectionable bill became law.

Nevertheless, the bishops’ conference had continued a series of talks with the government, hoping to secure amendments. Those talks are now being discontinued. “Considering the speed in the ongoing legislative processes both in the Lower House and in the Senate, I deem it prudent to suspend, in the meantime, further talks with the executive department,” said Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, the president of the bishops’ conference.

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