The president of the Philippines, President Benigno Aquino has signed a bill allowing free access to contraception.

Supporters say the new law, which the Roman Catholic Church tried to block for 14 years, will help reduce poverty and deaths among mothers. The Philippines has the highest birth rate in Asia.

Presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said: "The passage into law of the Responsible Parenthood Act closes a highly divisive chapter of our history – a chapter borne of the convictions of those who argued for, or against this act."

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