Editor's note: Miriam Defensor Santiago is in her third term as a member of the Philippines Senate and a co-sponsor of the Reproductive Health Bill. She is also the founder of People's Reform Party. Last year she was selected to be a judge in the International Criminal Court, though she has still to take office.
By Miriam Defensor Santiago, Special for CNN
Manila, Philippines (CNN) - We were like David against Goliath. We fought long and hard, and in the end we prevailed.
After 14 long years in the dustbins of Congress, mainly due to strong opposition from the Catholic Church, the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill was approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives on Monday, 17 December 2012.
Indeed, there is no force more powerful than an idea whose time has come. And the time for a Philippine reproductive health law is now.
The Philippines remains one of the poorest countries in the world because, among other things, for a long time, it refused to acknowledge what could easily be seen when one glances out the window: the country desperately needs a reproductive health law.
Not having a reproductive health law is cruelty to the poor. The poor are miserable because, among other reasons, they have so many children. Providing reproductive knowledge and information through government intervention is the humane thing to do. It can help the poor escape the vicious cycle of poverty by giving them options on how to manage their sexual lives, plan their families and control their procreative activities. The phrase "reproductive rights" includes the idea of being able to make reproductive decisions free from discrimination, coercion or violence.FULL STORY
Watch Gary "Sushi" Marion in Key West, Florida, along with many other New Year's Eve celebrations on CNN with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, starting at 10 p.m. ET Monday.
By Kim Segal, CNN
Key West, Florida (CNN) - It started in 1996 as a crazy idea to ring in the new year, but police nearly shut it down.
"They said, 'We have an idea: Let's do a shoe drop. ... We made this shoe for you,'" recalled Gary "Sushi" Marion, the star of a weekly drag queen review in Key West. "'You've got to sit in it for New Year's Eve,' and I said 'OK,' and that is how it started."
So, on New Year's Eve, Marion took center stage inside a massive high-heeled red shoe made out of chicken wire, paper mache and plywood, dangling off the roof of the Bourbon Street Pub along Key West's main street.
Just like the spectacular ball in New York's Times Square, the shoe would be lowered with each final minute of the year until the clock struck midnight.
Crowds started to gather, attracting the attention of police, who tried to shut down the event because the pub owner didn't have a permit.
"(The police) came upstairs to the balcony and told me to get out of the shoe," Marion said. "The owner called the mayor and the mayor was like, 'Leave Sushi alone, close down the street'."
Today, Key West's annual "shoe drop" still stars Marion as Sushi - in a better-constructed shoe - and now attracts attention from around the world.