High court to hear RH arguments

Posted on July 23, 2013

ORAL ARGUMENTS on the controversial reproductive health (RH) and responsible parenthood law will resume today as petitioners continue contesting the constitutionality of the measure.

Two lawyers are expected to argue against the controversial measure this afternoon before the Supreme Court.

Luisito V. Liban will challenge the birth control law’s alleged violation of freedom of religion, freedom of speech and academic freedom.

He will also claim that the law “proscribes involuntary servitude” since it penalizes health providers should they refuse access to reproductive health services.

The RH law also requires marrying couples to undergo a reproductive health seminar and for students to receive “age and development-appropriate reproductive health education.”

For his part, Luis Ma. Gil L. Gana will argue whether or not the law violates the Organic Act of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as it encourages local government units to improve their reproductive health services.

Oral arguments on Republic Act No. 10354, or an Act providing for a National Policy on Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health, started on July 9 with former Sen. Francisco S. Tatad delivering the opening statement and lawyer Maria Concepcion S. Noche arguing that the Constitution protects the right to life of the mother and the unborn from conception.

Questions of the magistrates centered on when life begins and whether the SC is the proper forum to resolve the debate.

The Supreme Court extended indefinitely the stay order on the RH law on July 16.

The high court earlier issued a 120-day status quo ante order on the law on March 19.

President Benigno S. C. Aquino III enacted the measure in December 2012. -- Mikhail Franz E. Flores