MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte again pitched for the implementation of the reproductive health law but said he will never back abortion.
Duterte supported artificial family planning methods even when he was mayor of Davao City. As mayor, he funded birth control programs such as ligation for women and vasectomy for men.
Now a president, Duterte said the ballooning population of the country must be addressed in order to ease poverty.
“Ang problema nga dito sa Pilipinas, we have breached also the  million [population], 105 [million] na tayo ngayon. And if we just keep on [growing] just with these programs of government, we have to reduce the population. Family planning. I'm not talking about abortion. I'm talking about family planning. Eh ayaw ng simbahan eh, so we are in a bind,” Duterte said in a speech on Tuesday.
Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, heavily lobbied for the passage of the Reproductive Health Law. Despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church and conservative groups, the Supreme Court in 2014 upheld the law.
The high court, however, last year issued a temporary restraining order that barred the government from granting all pending applications for registration and/or re-certification for reproductive products and supplies, including contraceptive drugs and devices; and procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, advertising and promoting the hormonal contraceptive “Implanon” and “Implanon NXT,” which have been certified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to have abortifacient character.”
Anti-RH Law groups argue that the law does not allow the distribution of abortifacients.