SC set to rule on RH Law

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - April 7, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The debate over the controversial Republic Act No. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act is scheduled to be settled tomorrow.

The Supreme Court (SC) included in its agenda in its summer session in Baguio City the deliberation on 15 petitions questioning the legality of the divisive law, according to an insider.

But the source said the resolution of the case would depend on the readiness of the justices with their opinions and also on the length of discussions.

The much-anticipated ruling of the high court on this case would resolve the constitutional issues contested by pro-life groups and supporters of the RH Law during the five-part oral arguments held in July and August last year.

The high tribunal issued on March 19, 2013 a 120-day status quo ante order (SQA) halting the implementation of the law signed by President Aquino in December 2012.

When the SQA expired in July, the SC voted 8-7 to extend it for an indefinite period.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines yesterday went all out in praying for the success of their campaign to block the implementation of the law.

“I wrote to all the bishops to ask the faithful to pray that the SC will declare the RH Law unconstitutional, and that they make it a part of the Prayer of the Faithful in every mass until the end of the deliberation and decision on the RH Law,” CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (ECFL)

chair Bishop Gabriel Reyes said in an interview.

Last week, CBCP-ECFL executive secretary Fr. Melvin Castro said anti-RH groups have decided to post a copy of the “Oratio Imperata” (mandatory prayer) for the protection of the family and all human life on social networking site Facebook.

The CBCP has been the staunchest opponent of the RH Law, citing it as an anti-life measure since it promotes the use of contraceptives for the artificial family planning method.

Silent crisis

Meanwhile, the National Youth Commission (NYC) urged yesterday the SC to uphold the constitutionality of the RH Law.

NYC commissioner Perci Cendaña said the delay in implementation of the RH Law due to the SQA of the SC has grave effects on the Filipino youth.

“The absence of a national policy on reproductive health greatly impacts on the youth because the lack of information and services makes them vulnerable,” Cendaña said in a statement.

“Education and services mandated by the RH Law are urgently needed to address teen pregnancy which is fast becoming the most defining and one of the biggest concerns of this generation,” he said.

Citing government data, Cendaña said around 600 adolescent girls get pregnant every day in the Philippines.

“Hundreds of young girls get pregnant not just every month but every day. To say the situation is alarming is an understatement. This is a silent crisis,” Cendaña said.

“We made use of birth records from 2010 because that is what is available at the moment. This just means that the actual incidence now could be much higher given that the RH Law is not yet implemented,” he said.


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