Manny Pacquiao is a championship boxer from the Philippines. “Pac Man,” as he is affectionately known, is arguably the most popular Filipino around the world. Boxing fans love the prize fighter for his agility and the ease with which he has taken down some tough, established opponents.  At home, he has harnessed his fame in a political career as a member of parliament.

He’ a very exciting boxer.  He also, apparently, has extremist views on contraception.

God said, ‘Go out and multiply.’ He did not say, just have two or three kids,” Pacquiao said.

“It’s sinful to use condoms and commit abortion,” he said and when questioned about overpopulation said “my parents were poor… they had four children, it was very difficult but we persevered.”

He uttered those words in the midst of a big national debate over whether or not the Philippines parliament (of which Pacquiao is a member) should adopt a national reproductive health bill. That bill, which is being championed by Prime Minister Benigno Aquino, would provide for sexual education in schools and would increase public access to contraception and other reproductive health services.

A reproductive health bill is something that the Philippines could use. The Philippines has an adolescent fertility ratio of 45 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19.  For every 100,000 live births in the Philippines, 94 Filipino women die in child birth.  The country ranks 47th out of 79 countries on Save The Children’s 2011 State of the World’s Mother’s Index. This makes the Philippines one of the more dangerous places in the world to be a mother.

It is a wonder that so influential a figure as Manny Pacquiao would have such anachronistic views on reproductive health?  He may think it’s sinful to use condoms, but why deny others who might not feel the same way?  It just goes to show that being a world champion boxer doesn’t prevent you from being a world class something else.

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