As Japan’s population shrinks and China grays fast, a battle is shaping up in the Philippines, pitching its demographic and economic future against Catholic orthodoxy. The issue: Fewer babies or more? A global demographic dichotomy is coming into focus in the Philippines where the Congress, which reconvened tis week, is to vote soon on legislation known as the Reproductive Health Bill, which would enable government clinics to provide contraceptive advice and devices. President Benigno S. Aquino III supports the bill, and for this he’s been denounced by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, representing the celibate hierarchy of a politically powerful church in this majority Catholic country. The issue of government support for contraception has been raised many times over the past four decades, and this bill has been in the works for two years already. Opinion surveys suggest that the majority of Filipinos favor the bill, and Aquino’s current high popularity should help its passage. But opposition remains formidable. The legislature’s primary mission for this session is to pass an annual budget, and the reproductive health bill may have been shifted to the back burner.