As expected, the Catholic Church is not giving up its effort to block the implementation of the Philippine government's historic new reproductive health law, which was signed into law without fanfare by President Benigno S. Aquino III on Dec. 21. Both houses of the Philippine legislature approved the bill on Dec. 17 after 14 years of efforts to obtain government funding for birth control in the face of implacable opposition by the Conference of Bishops of the Philippines, the church's governing body. While the passage demonstrates Aquino's growing approval by major sectors of the electorate, he must now demonstrate his clout even more by dragooning local officials into implementing it despite their fear of the church's wrath.

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