> An executive order from Rodrigo Duterte, and a bitter pill to swallow for the Catholic Church. The Philippines president telling his government to hand out free contraceptives for around 6 million women. A move designed to cut unwanted pregnancies in poor neighborhoods It's a tough sell in the heavily Roman Catholic country, where many believe birth control is a sin.
But as much as people look up to the church, many see social issues, like poverty, as a top priority. As Reuters's Karen Lima reports.>> While we have yet to hear from the Catholic church and other opposition groups. It is likely that they're not gonna approve of the President's decision.
But it seems that the church has little influence on the issue of family planning and the use of contraception. As evidenced by the results of the surveys that we have seen in the past. Showing 70% of the public actually supporting the government's reproductive health programs.>> Still, Christian anti-abortion groups did claim a victory over contraception in 2015.
When the Supreme Court suspended birth control implants, crushing years of work by the previous president. But Duterte isn't one for laying down to the opposition.>> President Duterte's government has promised to make growth more inclusive. And it believes that giving people access to the means to manage the size of their families.
Is one of the keys to achieving that.>> Duterte says he wants to cut the poverty rate by half before he leaves office. And official data suggests birth control could play a role in achieving that aim. According to the UN, the Philippines is the only Asian country. Where the teenage pregnancy rate has risen in the past two decades.