MANILA, Philippines—Even after the Reproductive Health Law is implemented when the Supreme Court decides to lift the status quo ante, women will still have the final say whether to use contraceptives or not.
“No one is being compelled to use IUDs (intrauterine devices), condom . . . [it is the option] of a woman , or couple whether to use or not contraceptives,” former Representative Edcel Lagman said before the 15 justices of the Supreme Court as oral arguments on RH Law resumed on its fourth day.
Lagman issued the statement after Associate Justice Roberto Abad said that “abstinence and withdrawal” are among the options of couples so they can stay away from using contraceptives.
Abad’s comment drew smiles and chuckles from Justices for stressing abstinence.
“Freedom of informed choice is central to the RH Law. While the state is mandated to provide universal access to legitimate contraception, the ultimate choice belongs to women and couples, the voluntary beneficiaries,” the former lawmaker said.
“A couple may not opt to choose any method at all. This option is both a civil and religious right which the RH Law respects and protects,” Lagman added.
There are risks to using contraceptives, Lagman said, but added those are “not life-threatening.”
The RH law, he said, actually protects the life of the mother, “the living person in the equation,” he said, noting that the use of contraceptives minimizes the incidence of high-risk pregnancies, which result in maternal death.
“High-risk pregnancies are associated with the phrase ‘too young, too old, too many and too soon. Pregnancies among teenagers and older women as well as those women who already have many children and those who have unremitting pregnancies make such women prime candidates for maternal death,” Lagman said.
The fact that the use of contraceptives has not been made illegal, Lagman said that this reality confirms that “contraception is not abortion.”
He said the regular and correct use of contraceptives would reduce abortion by 85 percent.