RH law advocate to appeal dropped provisions

by Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Apr 08 2014 04:54 PM | Updated as of Apr 09 2014 03:44 PM

MANILA – An advocate of the controversial Reproductive Health Law said she will appeal the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) declaring some provisions of the measure as unconstitutional.

Elizabeth Angsioco, national chairperson of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines, said she and fellow advocates are happy that the key provisions of the law were retained.

Angsioco said the RH Law "can very well stand without these provisions."

However, she said she and fellow advocates will still ask the SC to reconsider its decision declaring the provisions unconstitutional.

"It's not yet over, the pro-RH [side] plans to ask the SC to reconsider the other provisions. But at the same time we are also hearing that the anti-RH is also going to ask the SC to reverse its ruling. Definitely this is not over yet. But for now, the biggest success for us, is that the SQAO (status quo ante order) is lifted," Angsioco told ANC.

The high court partially granted the petition of pro-life advocates by declaring several provisions of RH Law unconstitutional, including several provisions in section 7.

Section 7 provides that: "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…"

The SC, however, said Sec. 7 is only unconstitutional insofar as the law "requires private health facilities and non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals owned and operated by a religious group to refer patients, not in an emergency or life-threatening case…to another health facility which is conveniently accessible."

Section 7's provision on "allowing minor parents or minors who have suffered a miscarriage access to modern methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or guardians" was also struck down.

Section 23.a.1 was also struck down insofar as “it punishes any health care provider who fails or refuses to disseminate information regarding programs and services on RH regardless of his or her religious beliefs.”

Section 23.a.2.1 was also declared unconstitutional only insofar as it allows “married individual, not in an emergency or life-threatening case…to undergo RH procedures without the consent of the spouse.”

Section 23.a.3 was also struck down insofar as “they punish any health care provider who fails/refuses to refer a patient not in an emergency or life-threatening case…to another health care service provider…”

Section 23.b was also dropped insofar as it punishes public officials “who refuse to support RH programs…or hinder the full implementation” of the law.

Section 23.a.2.ii was also adjudged unconstitutional insofar as “it penalizes a health service provider who will require parental consent from the minor in not emergency or serious situations.”

Another section struck down is section 17 only insofar as the rendering of pro-bono RH services will “affect the conscientious objector in securing PhilHealth accreditation.”

Section 3.01.a and j of the IRR was also struck down since it uses the qualifier “primarily”. By using the qualifier, the law contravenes section 12, article II of the Constitution.