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Advocates ask SC justices to uphold legality of RH law


A group supporting the controversial Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law picketed outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday to ask the magistrates to uphold the legality of the measure.
 
In a "mother's letter," the "Purple Ribbon for RH Movement" asked the court's 15 justices not to be swayed by the arguments put forward by a number of petitioners seeking to nullify Republic Act 10354, which was enacted by President Benigno Aquino III in December 2012.
 
"Kami po ay nababagabag sa pagbaluktot ng mga petitioner sa nilalaman ng RPRH 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," the group said.
 
"Malaking pakinabang sa amin ang mga gamot at serbisyong nagsesegurong malagay sa tamanag panahon ang bawat pagbubuntis at panganganak, para sa kaligtasan naming mag-ina," it added.
 
The group held a protest rally outside the SC along Padre Faura in Manila, that included some of their members dressing up in robes just like the magistrates. One of them also acted as the "lady justice," holding a weighing scale. Several pregnant women also joined the demonstration.
 
In its letter, the group cited a study in the Philippines showing 54 percent of pregnancy and 36 percent of labor are unplanned. "Malaking biyaya ang mga kontraseptibo sa mga inang nais limitahan ang panganganak doon sa responsableng maaalagaan." 
 
"Sa aming karansana, alam naming lahat ito - pildoras, injectable at IUD - ay hindi nakakalaglag anong dami anong dalas man gamitin," the group said.
 
The group said contraceptives only fail when they are used incorrectly. "Sa aming alam, ang kababaihang nagpapalaglag ay hindi kontraseptibo ang hinahanap, kundi ibang mga gamot at paraan,"
 
"Napakalupit isipin na ang mga gamot at teknolohiya na napatunayang ligtas, epektibo at hindi nagdudulot ng aborsyon ay pilit na sinasagasaan ng mga petitioner batay sa kanilang relihiyosong paniniwala," it said.
 
The group expressed fears that five million Filipinos using artificial contraceptives would be "put at risk" if the RH Law is repealed.
 
In March, the Supreme Court, through a status quo ante (Latin for "the way things were before") order, stopped for 120 days the implementation of the controversial Rreproductive Health law.
 
The status quo ante order directs the parties to observe the status or situation before the implementation of the RH law.
 
Those who dissented were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen.
 
Sereno, Perlas-Bernabe, and Leonen are Aquino appointees to the high court.
 
The magistrates sitting en banc also set the oral arguments on the consolidated petitions against the law on June 18.
 
The Catholic Church, which only espouses natural family planning methods, is against the passage of the RH law as it promotes both natural and artificial family planning methods.
 
Among those contesting the law are former Sen. Francisco Tatad and wife Maria Fenny Tatad, and lawyer Alan Paguia; James Imbong, son of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines legal counsel Jo Aurea Imbong, and his wife Lovely-Ann; Serve Life Cagayan de Oro City; Task Force for Family and Life Visayas Inc and Valeriano Avila; the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc.; Expedito Bugarin; and Eduardo Olaguer and the Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines. — Mark Merueñas/RSJ, GMA News
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