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.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin