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updated: 8/6/2012 8:32 AM

Philippine House ends debate on contraception bill

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Associated Press

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine House of Representatives has ended debate on a bill promoting contraception use in the country with one of Asia's fastest-growing populations.

Monday's vote is an initial victory for proponents and President Benigno Aquino III who want to fast-track passage of the proposed law.

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The issue has divided Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation for years. Church leaders led a rally Saturday denouncing the bill.

Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman, an author of the bill, said Aquino rallied congressmen to end repetitive debates on the measure.

Lagman said the bill will be up for amendments and may be passed by the House before the end of the month.

The Senate still has to pass its own version, and a bicameral version then needs to be approved before Aquino can sign it into law.

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