Lawyer asks: How helpful is RH Law to mothers?
MANILA– With a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) still stifling the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (RH Law), a lawyer questions whether the controversial legislation is actually beneficial to mothers and children.
“There is no mention about other provisions [in the law] such as providing obstetric and newborn care services, upgraded medical facilities and equipment and skilled health workers which would be highly beneficial to the poor, the mothers and children and which should address infant and maternal mortality,” said Atty. Maria Concepcion Noche, president of the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines (ALFI), in an interview with CBCPNews.
Attempts to overturn TRO
According to the lawyer, population control lobby groups backing Republic Act No. 10354 “have focused on contraception and access to modern family planning methods which are just one aspect of the RH Law.”
“The Filipino people need to know the truth – billions of tax-payers’ money is squandered on contraceptives that ruin life and health!” stressed Noche, noting several lobby groups’ repeated attempts to overturn the SC’s TRO.
In November 2016, the Department of Health (DOH), the Commission on Population (POPCOM), and the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) launched a signature campaign aimed to gather 1 million signatures to push the RH Law.
On March 9, a petition urging the SC to lift the TRO – claimed to be signed by 143,000 individuals – was presented in an RH Law forum organized by the lobby groups.
Why a TRO?
For the guidance of citizens the lawyer highlighted the following salient points of the SC’s TRO:
- The Government is mandated to protect human life at fertilization at all times from any harm, injury or death until implantation in the mother’s womb. (SC’s interpretation of Article II, section 12 of the Constitution).
- The SC has uncovered the attempt to open the floodgates to abortions thru the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the RH Law crafted by DOH that allow abortifacient drugs. The Supreme Court stopped that attempt by nullifying that IRR by a vote of 14-1 in its First Decision (April 8, 2014 Decision).
- The 47 contraceptive drugs and devices that have been re-certified by FDA -despite Opposition filed by ALFI with FDA- have abortifacient character. ALFI presented voluminous supporting documents which FDA totally ignored. FDA re-certified those drugs in secrecy without informing ALFI about the proceedings and basis of re-certification. As a consequence, these contraceptives continued to be sold to the public.
- All the 77 contraceptive drugs and devices in the FDA website exhibit a mechanism of action that causes abortion, as proven by pharmacological and scientific evidence which ALFI submitted to the SC.
“The SC could not close its eyes to the foregoing; hence, the TRO was issued on June 17, 2015. In the second SC Decision on August 24, 2016 (on ALFI’s 2nd Petition), the TRO was affirmed and maintained,” Noche pointed out.
“The SC has said the RH Law is a population control measure, not a reproductive health measure,” stressed the lawyer. CBCPNews