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MANILA 18 Jun 2013 Philippines court hears oral arguments on family planning law

The Philippine Supreme Court (SC) suspended the implementation of a controversial family planning law on Mar 20, and w

June 18, 2013 - NULL

MANILA 18 Jun 2013 Philippines court hears oral arguments on family planning law

The Philippine Supreme Court (SC) suspended the implementation of a controversial family planning law on Mar 20, and will hear oral arguments challenging the law on Jun 18. Government lawyers will argue the legality of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, passed by the legislature and signed by President Benigno Aquino in Dec 2012 despite threats of excommunication by members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The bishops support the petitions. The court decision also came less than a week after

MANILA 18 Jun 2013 Philippines court hears oral arguments on family planning law

The Philippine Supreme Court (SC) suspended the implementation of a controversial family planning law on Mar 20, and will hear oral arguments challenging the law on Jun 18. Government lawyers will argue the legality of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, passed by the legislature and signed by President Benigno Aquino in Dec 2012 despite threats of excommunication by members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). The bishops support the petitions. The court decision also came less than a week after the Department of Health announced its approval of the rules and regulations for the full implementation of the law on 31 Mar, Easter Sunday. The Philippines describes itself as the biggest Catholic nation in Asia.

The law guarantees universal and free access to nearly all modern contraceptives for all citizens - most importantly the nation's poorest people - through government health centers. Britain's Guardian newspaper notes that previous governments have prioritized "natural family planning" while restricting funding for modern contraceptives. The act also mandates reproductive health education in state schools and recognizes a woman's right to post-abortion care as part of the right to reproductive healthcare. The government's hostile view on modern contraception has - until now - contributed to 800,000 unintended births annually, according to the Guardian's Poverty Matters blog. It also notes that not all women continue their pregnancies, and some 475,000 illegal abortions occur annually, with some 1000 women dying from unsafe abortions in 2008.

On New Year's Eve 1930, the Roman Catholic Church officially banned any "artificial" means of birth control, and the Philippines' Catholic hierarchy and their allies have already launched an attack on the law. The bill had been introduced in various forms in legislative sessions for more than a decade but had never reached the floor for a vote until last year. (WRITTEN MAR 2013)

TAGS: Philippines family planning law, Philippine Supreme Court, oral hearings, Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, controversy, family planning, Catholic Church, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, CBCP, President Benigno Aquino, implementation delay, suspension, Catholic news, family planning news, contraception

RELATED READING:

SC halts implementation of family planning law (Gulf Today 20 Mar 2013)
http://gulftoday.ae/portal/3616259f-e819-4e94-a89a-c08b35c81f4c.aspx

Philippines needs resolute political support on reproductive health (Guardian Health Matters 19 Mar 2013)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/mar/19/philippines-political-support-reproductive-health

'Reproductive Health' Law Delayed in Philippines (National Catholic Register 24 Mar 2013)
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/reproductive-health-law-delayed-in-philippines/#ixzz2OJ1qefpw

Date written/update: 2013-06-18