SC upholds constitutionality of RH Law

By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, July 1 (PNA) — The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 10354, or the “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law” (RH Law), except some of its provisions.

This after the SC on Tuesday denied the six motions for reconsideration (MRs) filed by some of the petitioners and intervenors in the case.

In a press conference, SC Public Information Office (PIO) Chief and Spokesman Atty. Theodore O. Te, said that the Court denied all the MRs filed by The Filipino Catholic Voices for Reproductive Health Inc., Pro-life Philippines, Joan De Venecia, Philippine Alliance of XSeminarians, former Senator Francisco Tatad and his wife Maria Fenny, and Task Force for Family and Life Visayas.

Te said that the Court maintained its April 8, 2014 decision declaring as unconstitutional the following provisions of RA No. 10354:

— Section 7 (Access to Family Planning) which states that the hospitals being run by religious groups are not required to provide a modern family planning method, but the said hospitals should refer their patient to another health facility;

— Section 7 (b) which states that minors who have suffered miscarriage are allowed to have access on modern family planning methods without written consent from their parents or guardians;

— Section 17 (Pro Bono Services for Indigent Women) which urges private and non-government reproductive healthcare service providers such as gynecologists and obstetricians to render 48 hours each year of free reproductive health service (from the giving of information or education up to medical services) to poor patients, especially to pregnant teenagers;

The 48-hour yearly pro-bono service will be included as a pre-requisite for accreditation with the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Likewise, some parts of Section 23 pertaining to Prohibited Acts under the RH Law including Section 23-A-1 which prohibits any health care service provider to withhold information or limit the dissemination of information about reproductive health or deliberate giving of incorrect information about the RH program and services;

Also, Section 23-A-2-i which prohibits the refusal by the health care service provider to conduct legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedure to any individual who is of legal age due to lack of consent of his wife;

However, in instances where a married couple do not agree with each other, the decision to undergo medical procedure shall prevail.

— Section 23-a-3 (part of the prohibited acts) which prohibits the refusal to provide health care services or information because of marital status, gender, age, religion or work of an individual:

However, the RH Law respects the health care service provider who will refuse to give RH service based on his ethical or religious beliefs.

Nevertheless, the said health care service provider should refer the individual to another health worker in the same health facility or to a health worker who can easily be reached. (PNA)