Im­ple­ment RH Law – SC

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By REY G. PANALI­GAN

The Supreme Court (SC) said yes­ter­day the govern­ment can im­ple­ment the Re­spon­si­ble Par­ent­hood and Re­pro­duc­tive Health Act of 2012 since there is no re­strain­ing or­der against it.

Spokesman Theodore O. Te said the Au­gust, 2016 de­ci­sion of the SC sus­tained the TRO it ear­lier is­sued on the pur­chase and dis­tri­bu­tion of con­tra­cep­tive im­plants like Im­planon and Im­planon NXT by the Depart­ment of Health (DOH) and not against the RH law it­self.

“I’ve al­ready clar­i­fied many

times that there is no TRO against the RH law,” he stressed in a text mes­sage to jour­nal­ists.

The re­ports on the TRO against the RH law came when Pres­i­dent Duterte signed Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der No. 12 that en­joins an ag­gres­sive govern­ment ac­tion in pro­vid­ing uni­ver­sal ac­cess to RH pro­grams.

The Aug. 24, 2016 de­ci­sion of the SC struck down “as vi­ola­tive of the con­sti­tu­tional right to due process” the cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and re-cer­ti­fi­ca­tions is­sued by the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) for 77 con­tra­cep­tive drugs and im­plants.

The de­ci­sion di­rected the FDA to con­duct public hear­ing on the con­tra­cep­tive drugs and im­plants, in­clud­ing Im­planon and Im­planon NXT, to de­ter­mine whether they are abor­ti­fa­cients or non-abor­ti­fa­cients.

It de­nied the govern­ment’s plea to lift its re­strain­ing or­der against “procur­ing, sell­ing, dis­tribut­ing, dis­pens­ing and ad­min­is­ter­ing, ad­ver­tis­ing and pro­mot­ing” con­tra­cep­tive im­plants.

It granted the plea filed by the Al­liance for the Fam­ily Foun­da­tion Philip­pines, Inc. (AFFPI) and Maria Con­cep­tion Noche against the con­tra­cep­tive im­plants.

The TRO against the im­plants was is­sued by the SC’s sec­ond divi­sion chaired by Se­nior Jus­tice An­to­nio T. Car­pio.

The SC said “the TRO did not mean that the FDA should stop ful­fill­ing its man­date to test, an­a­lyze, and scru­ti­nize and in­spect drugs and de­vices as what is be­ing stopped is the grant of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion or re-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of con­tra­cep­tive drugs with­out af­ford­ing pe­ti­tion­ers due process, and the dis­tri­bu­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion of the ques­tioned con­tra­cep­tive drugs and de­vices, in­clud­ing Im­planon and Im­planon NXT un­til they are de­ter­mined to be safe and non-abor­ti­fa­cient.”

It was on April 8, 2014 when the SC de­clared the RH Law not un­con­sti­tu­tional.

But the SC re­jected eight pro­vi­sions in the law’s im­ple­ment­ing rules and reg­u­la­tions. These were:

1. Sec­tion 7, which (a) re­quires pri­vate health fa­cil­i­ties and non­ma­ter­nity spe­cialty hos­pi­tal, and hos­pi­tals owned and op­er­ated by a re­li­gious group to re­fer pa­tients, not in an emer­gency or life-threat­en­ing case, as de­fined un­der RA 8344, to an­other health fa­cil­ity which is con­ve­niently ac­ces­si­ble; and (b) al­lows mi­nor-par­ents or mi­nors who have suf­fered a mis­car­riage ac­cess to mod­ern meth­ods of fam­ily plan­ning with­out writ­ten con­sent from their par­ents or guardian;

2. Sec­tion 23 (a) (1) as it pun­ishes any health­care provider who fails, or re­fuses, to dis­sem­i­nate in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing pro­grams and ser­vices on re­pro­duc­tive health re­gard­less of his or her re­li­gious be­liefs;

3. Sec­tion 23 (a)(2) (i) as it al­lows a mar­ried in­di­vid­ual, not in an emer­gency or life-threat­en­ing case, as de­fined un­der RA 8344, to un­dergo RH pro­ce­dures with­out the con­sent of the spouse;

4. Sec­tion 23 (a) (3) as it pun­ishes any health­care provider who fails and/or re­fuses to re­fer a pa­tient not in an emer­gency or life-threat­en­ing case, as de­fined un­der RA 8344, to an­other health­care ser­vice provider within the same fa­cil­ity or one which is con­ve­niently ac­ces­si­ble re­gard­less of his or her re­li­gious be­liefs;

5. Sec­tion 23 (b) as it pun­ishes any public of­fi­cer who re­fuses to sup­port RH pro­grams or (does) any act that hin­ders the full im­ple­men­ta­tion of an RH pro­gram, re­gard­less of his or her re­li­gious be­liefs;

6. Sec­tion 17, which ren­ders pro bono RH ser­vices, in­so­far as they af­fect the con­sci­en­tious ob­jec­tor in se­cur­ing PhilHealth ac­cred­i­ta­tion;

7. Sec­tion 3.01 (a) and (j) as it uses the qual­i­fier “pri­mar­ily” for con­tra­ven­ing Sec­tion 4 (a) of the RH law and vi­o­lat­ing Sec­tion 12, Ar­ti­cle II of the Con­sti­tu­tion; and

8. Sec­tion 23 (a) (2) (ii) as it pe­nal­izes a health ser­vice provider who will re­quire parental con­sent from the mi­nor in non-emer­gency sit­u­a­tions.

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