Halliwell's sex talk infuriates Catholics

GERI HALLIWELL, the former Spice Girl, ran into problems on her first assignment as a United Nations goodwill ambassador yesterday.

Ms Halliwell, better known as Ginger Spice, came into conflict with the powerful Catholic Church in the Philippines when she spoke about contraception. "I believe that if you can't control your fertility, you can't control your life, and if you're having sex, you've got to be protected against unwanted pregnancy and infection," she told a crowd outside a clinic run by Marie Stopes International in Manila. "It's everybody's fundamental right."

She said that she thought everyone should practise safe sex by using condoms. Furious Catholic leaders responded swiftly.

"This is a free country, we don't interfere in the right of anybody to go anywhere or say what they believe [but] we do not need population control, and any effort at safe sex is totally, utterly immoral from top to bottom," said the Rev James Reuter, the director of the National Office of Mass Media of the Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines.

Ms Halliwell, 27, chose the Philippines as her first assignment because of its high rate of population growth and a large population of unmarried mothers. With 74 million people, the Philippines has a population growth rate of 2.32 per cent, one of the highest in the world. After visiting the clinic she went to a health centre funded by the United Nations in one of Manila's slums.

Satish Mehra, the UN Population Fund's representative in the Philippines, said Ms Halliwell's fame would help the UN's awareness campaign for reproductive health. "I'm sure she will make an impact. She has a large following around the world and in the Philippines and I'm sure young people will listen to her." he said.

"She's a natural in making contacts with everyone she meets," said Patricia Hindmarsh, the director of Marie Stopes International, a world-wide private charity that promotes contraceptive use and reproductive health and advises the UN Population Fund on reproductive health care.

"We hope that the experience Geri gains during her visit will help her influence governments and donors of the need for quality reproductive health services in the Philippines and everywhere," Ms Hindmarsh added.

At the beginning of her trip, Ms Halliwell admitted that she was not a reproductive health expert. "I know I've got a lot to learn but what better way than to go and see for myself what the United Nations Population Fund and Marie Stopes International are doing at a grassroots level.

"What's important about this trip is that it gives me the chance to meet the people who really matter - women who want to control their fertility and young people who are on the brink of making important decisions about their sexual health," she said.

Ms Halliwell is pursuing a solo career after leaving the group in June last year because of differences with her fellow members.

She recently launched a single called "Look at Me", which reached number two in the British charts, and has had disappointing sales with her album Schizophonic.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen