RH law all about contraception, petitioner tells SC

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2013 06:06 PM | Updated as of Jul 24 2013 03:35 AM

MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) resumed hearing oral arguments on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Law on Tuesday, with the anti-RH law petitioners' arguments presented by Atty. Luisito Liban.

Liban told the high court that the main objective of the law, covering 80% of it, "is about contraception."

"This is what the RH Law is all about. The purported reduction of maternal deaths, given the limited size of this problem, is only an incidental consequence of population control," he said.

Liban further pointed out that these contraceptives are "health hazards" since the "product labels of these drugs and devices expressly warn of increased risks for various types of serious ailments like breast cancer, venous thromboembolism, pulmonary embolism, heart attacks, and strokes, among others.'

"The UN International Agency for Research on Cancer, through a Working Group composed of 21 scientists from 8 countries, has classified combined estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives as 'Group I' carcinogen, the highest level of cancer risk," Liban argued.

He assailed Section 9 of the RH Law which "requires the National Drug Formulary to include hormonal contraceptives, IUDs, injectables, and other family planning products and devices in its inventory" and that "such products and supplies will be part of the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national hospitals."

"Is it the business of government to be the prime mover, financier, promoter and distributor of potentially harmful drugs and devices? Is it the business of government to place our mothers, wives, daughters, and the unborn in harm's way, all for the sake of family planning?" Liban said.

Liban also argued that Sec 23 (a) (3) of the law which "compels a conscientious objector to refer a person seeking reproductive health services to another health care provider" violates the Catholic belief that the use of artificial contraceptives is "evil and immoral."

"By referring the person to another health care provider, the Catholic objector immediately commits a grave offense under the teachings of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that 'a Catholic who deliberately leads another to commit a serious sin, himself commits a grave offense,'" he said.

Liban also argued that even free speech is violated "for the aim of forcibly promoting and flooding the country with potentially harmful drugs and devices."

As for the mandatory sex education provided for in the law for public schools, Liban said this curtails the right of parents to found a family based on their own religious convictions.