Advocates urge SC to uphold RH Law

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 07 2013 09:59 AM | Updated as of May 07 2013 05:59 PM

MANILA - The Purple Ribbon for Reproductive Health (RH) Movement, composed of women 'reproductive health advocates,' staged a picket in front of the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday morning to call on the high court magistrates to uphold the constitutionality of Republic Act (RA) No. 10354, also known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, and commonly known as the Reproductive Health Law.

The law is being assailed by several petitions before the high tribunal, which issued a status quo ante order to temporarily halt the implementation of the law while the petitions are being heard.

The group came up with an open "mothers' letter" addressed to the high court magistrates to stress that the petitioners "twisted" their arguments to support the claim that the law's provisions on contraceptives and reproductive health education are violative of the 1987 Constitution.

The group insists that the law aims to ensure that women have the freedom of choice and are able to take care of their physical well-being, and that of their unborn child.

"Kami po ay nababagabag sa pagbaluktot sa nilalaman ng [Reproductive Health Law] -- ang batas na kumikilala sa karapatan ng mga inang magpasya sa sariling katawan at nagtitiyak sa aming kaligtasan mula sa nakamamatay na kumplikasyon ng pagbubuntis at panganganak.

"Malaking pakinabang sa amin ang mga gamot at serbisyong nagsesegurong malagay sa tamang panahon ang bawat pagbubuntis at panganganak, para sa kaligtasan naming mag-ina," the letter read.

They pointed out that 54% of pregnancies and 36% of child births in the Philippines are either unplanned or unwanted.

"Malaking biyaya ang mga kontraseptibo sa mga inang nais limitahan ang panganganak doon sa responsableng maalagaan... Napakalupit isipin na ang mga gamot at teknolohiya na napatunayang ligtas, epektibo at hindi nagdudulot ng aborsyon ay pilit na sinasagkaan ng mga petitioner batay sa kanilang relihiyosong paniniwala," the letter read.

In a statement, former health secretary Esperanza Cabral, lead convenor of the Purple Ribbon for RH Movement, said that "the allegations about contraceptives' actions causing abortion are extreme and unscientific" and that "delays in family planning services are already causing thousands of mothers their lives."