Philippine Supreme Court halts implementation of contraceptives law amid church opposition

The Philippine Supreme Court has temporarily halted the implementation of a law opposed by the dominant Roman Catholic Church that provides state funding for contraceptives.

The law was passed by lawmakers late year despite the church's opposition but petitioners questioned its legality on several grounds, saying it offends religious beliefs and fosters abortion, which remains illegal in the country.

Voting 15-5 in favor of 10 separate petitions, the justices Tuesday stopped the implementation of the law until June 18, when both sides will argue their cases before the court.

Catholic leaders consider the law an attack on the church's core values. The government says it helps the poor manage the number of children they have.

The Philippines has a population of 94 million and one of Asia's highest birth rates.