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Philippines defies church to push family planning

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Residents living in a squatters area wait for a free meal consisting of rice, chicken and vegetables given on a daily basis by a South Korean missionary in Tondo, Manila, Sept. 21, 2012.

Reuters — Philippine President Benigno Aquino is squaring off against his country's powerful Catholic church in a bid to give people free access to the means to limit the size of their families.

The predominately Catholic country has one of Asia's fastest-growing populations together with significant levels of chronic poverty. While neighbors have accelerated towards prosperity, the Philippines has lagged. Full story…

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Mothers stay with their babies in tandem beds at a ward often occupied by around 300 mothers at one time, in Jose Fabella maternity hospital in Manila, Sept. 12.

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Health workers show the proper use of a condom during a family planning session held in the Likhaan center, an NGO clinic in Tondo, Manila, Aug. 6. The women, who brought along their children, reacted enthusiastically to the session. Attendees are offered free contraception, such as pills or condoms.

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Women hold their babies while waiting for a free pediatric check-up at a local government health center in Manila, Aug. 6. About 50 people come through each day to have their babies checked for common illnesses like diarrhea and colds.

Erik De Castro / Reuters

Some of the 14 Cabiya-an siblings sleep side by side in a cramped one bedroom shanty in Manila, Sept. 12. The household's daily income is $6 U.S.

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