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The president of the Philippine bishops’ conference said the church was open to dialogue with President Benigno Aquino III [pictured] about his proposal to distribute contraceptives, and the prelate denied media reports that he threatened to excommunicate the president. Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, conference president, said in a statement on Sept. 30: “The initial approach of this issue is to be in the spirit of dialogue and not of confrontation. Threat of excommunication at this point of time can hardly be considered to be in line with dialogue. I maintained that the traditional position of the church is that human life starts at conception and not at implantation. Some contraceptive pills and devices are abortifacient. Any completed act to expel or kill the fertilized ovum is considered to be an act of abortion.”

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