MANILA - Sen. Pia Cayetano is unfazed by the statement of former Sen. Kit Tatad that the Reproductive Health Law is equal to genocide, saying she is no longer surprised by some of the arguments being used against the measure.
Cayetano, principal sponsor of Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, said she stands by her belief that the law is constitutional since it does not coerce couples to choose only one form of family planning.
The law requires government health centers to hand out free condoms and birth control pills, benefiting tens of millions of the country's poor who would not otherwise have access to them.
“First of all, the right to choose is always there. It is written throughout the law that no one is being coerced to do anything, and it is also written throughout the law that only family planning methods that are considered safe, legal and non-abortifacient will be made available,” she told reporters.
The senator, one of the intervenors in the case questioning the constitutionality of the law, said she is satisfied that there was a lot of clarification during the Supreme Court debates that the intention of the law is to provide products that are non-abortifacient.
Cayetano also refused to directly address Tatad’s description that RA 10354 is genocide because it kills children before they are born by preventing their births. The former senator earlier told the Supreme Court that the RH Law denies the basic right of married couple to procreate on their own free will.
“I've heard [the argument by anti-RH advocates] that for a man to masturbate is 'murder,' and so to say that that it is 'genocide,' then it tells us what kind of discussion we have,” Cayetano said.
She added: “I'm just saying let people draw their own conclusions. If these are the kinds of statements that the petitioners make, I leave it up to them to draw their own conclusions.”
The Supreme Court suspended the RH law in March so that the judges could hear the 15 formal petitions from a range of Church-backed groups arguing that it was unconstitutional.
Cayetano said she expects the SC to provide a resolution on whether or not it will extend the status quo ante order against the measure, which will lapse on July 17. She also noted that she does not expect the oral arguments to be finished by July 23.