Palace ready to implement RH law

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 08 2014 03:39 PM | Updated as of Apr 08 2014 11:40 PM

MANILA - Malacanang is ready to implement the responsible parenthood or reproductive health (RH) law now that it's been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte also maintained confidence that the position of the court against 2 provisions of the law will not be a problem.

“we have been ready from the day that it was signed by the President. So that would be the Department of Health and I understand that, yes, they have been putting it off, or at least, because of its compliance to the TRO that was issued," she said.

The court struck down section 7 on the access to family planning and section 23 on the penal provisions.

Valte maintained there are other sections guaranteeing access to family planning. “Access in Section 7 is not the only provision for access. I also understand that there is a Section 10 for the process in the distribution. But again, do not hold me to that because I would need to read the entire decision, as well as the votes, the concurring opinions, as well as the dissenting opinions, if any.”

SEC. 7 reads: “ Access to Family Planning. – All accredited public health facilities shall provide a full range of modern family planning methods, which shall also include medical consultations, supplies and necessary and reasonable procedures for poor and marginalized couples having infertility issues who desire to have children: Provided, That family planning services shall likewise be extended by private health facilities to paying patients with the option to grant free care and services to indigents, except in the case of non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals owned and operated by a religious group, but they have the option to provide such full range of modern family planning methods: Provided, further, That these hospitals shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health facility which is conveniently accessible: Provided, finally, That the person is not in an emergency condition or serious case as defined in Republic Act No. 8344 No person shall be denied information and access to family planning services, whether natural or artificial: Provided, That minors will not be allowed access to modern methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or guardian/s except when the minor is already a parent or has had a miscarriage.

SECTION 23, meantime, prescribes prohibited acts.

Valte, however, clarified that she has not read the decision and will make a more detailed comment after she’s read the ruling of the court in its entirety.

“My initial reaction would be we would have to wait to read the entire decision, especially given the fact that the report states that some parts were declared unconstitutional. Given that the Responsible Parenthood Law has several important aspects, we would like to be given the time to read the main decision," she said.

Meantime, Valte sidestepped the commentary of RH law critic, former Senator Francisco Tatad, who reportedly warned that the approval of this law might spark a “Catholic revolt."

“You know, that’s expected of him because he is against Responsible Parenthood. But, so far, we’ve not seen any indications of that. At this point, we cannot say. We really cannot say. But whether there will be a Catholic revolt, should it be true that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Responsible Parenthood Law, is something that remains to be seen. However, there are no indications of that at this point."