Hillary Clinton, on her first visit to the Philippines as U.S. secretary of state, said she wants to “empower” women to make choices that will be good for themselves, their families and society.

Apparently, the Church to which most Filipinos belong doesn’t know anything about what’s good for her own children.

The Church has been leading the opposition to a reproductive-health bill in Congress which would would mandate the government to fund reproductive-health programs and services, including artificial contraceptives, and require schools to teach sex education beginning in elementary school.

Clinton told reporters on the island nation Nov. 12 that the Obama administration has no “intention or plan to pre-empt or otherwise go beyond or around what the attitudes of society are.”

Roughly 81% of the 86 million Filipinos are Catholic.

But the former first lady did not let the opportunity pass to educate Filipinos on what’s good for them. 

“I believe strongly that family planning is an important aspect of development, and I’ve seen this around the world,” she told reporters. Clinton emphasized the importance of giving women the “freedom to choose,” the Filipino website GMAnews.TV reported.

“Trying to empower and educate women so that they are able to make these decisions and they have access to family planning is not only positive to the woman and her family but for the larger society,” Clinton said.

The U.S. government has also recently been newly “empowered,” in a sense. Soon after Obama took office, he reversed the Mexico City Policy, which had banned U.S. funding of abortion-providing groups abroad. He also restored U.S. funding to the United Nations Population Fund, the organization that has worked in concert with China’s extremely restrictive population-control regime.

Earlier this year, Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon in the Philippines said he hoped people would send a message to legislators that the reproductive-health bill was unacceptable.

Speaking over Church-run Radio Veritas May 13, Bishop Bastes said, “We hope that they (politicians) will learn a lesson because, by voting for it, they are endangering the Filipino family,” the bishop said.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines “will not back down because the provisions of that bill are anti-family, anti-life,” he said.

—John Burger