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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The beat is on: Alfred Doda, Gjevat Kelmendi and Orli Shuka in ‘Hyena’
filmReview: Hyena takes corruption and sleaziness to a truly epic level
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

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable