At Malacañang presscon, Hillary Clinton says family planning empowers women, society, human development
At the press conference for US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in Malacañang Palace on November 12, GMA TV's Howie Severino was able to ask her about her views on reproductive rights. (Later that evening, Sec. Clinton was conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Datu by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is known to oppose the Reproductive Health Bill). Here's the transcript of Sec. Clinton's answer to Severino's question:
SEVERINO: Ma'am, you were quoted at the Planned Parenthood national conference several months ago that, quote, "Reproductive rights will be a key to the foreign policy of the Obama Administration." How will this principle be applied in the Philippines, especially considering the widely known opposition to artificial contraceptives here?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, as with any policy, we work with our partners and our allies, and it is up to the people and the Government of the Philippines to accept any assistance that we might be willing to offer. So I know that this is a matter of concern in society here in the Philippines, and I respect that, and we certainly do not have any intention or plan to preempt or otherwise go beyond or around what the attitudes of society are.
On a personal note, I would only add that I believe strongly that family planning is an important aspect of development. And I've seen this around the world, and I think empowering women to be able to make choices that are in the best interests of the children they already have and the family size that they desire increases educational outcomes, it increases income generations, it provides a much stronger basis for human development.
And so the reason I said what I said, which you quoted from, is we have a lot of experience now that 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 a positive for the woman and her family, but for the larger society. And I think that is the other point that I would make, but again, I would reiterate all of these decisions are certainly up to the people and the Government of the Philippines.