Implement RH Law – SC
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.