Catholic group joins RH fray at Supreme Court
MANILA, Philippines—A group of Roman Catholics that uncustomarily supports the Reproductive Health Law on Friday asked the Supreme Court to be allowed to participate in the proceedings as the validity of the law is being questioned by various groups.
Officials of the Filipino Catholic Voices for RH and the Interfaith Partnership for the Promotion of Responsible Parenthood Inc., together with Pangasinan-based school administrator Emeliza Bayya Mones and Zahria Mapandi, executive director of the Al-Mujadillah Development Foundation Inc. filed a petition for intervention at the high court around noon Friday.
The petitioners’ counsels were led by lawyer Clara Rita Padilla, who drafted the very first version of the RH bill in December 2001 in consultancy with the Philippine Legislative Committee on Population and Development.
“The [suits] seeking to declare the RH Law unconstitutional based on the religious freedom of the [law’s opponents] and their misguided statements on the hazardous effects of contraceptives infringe on the religious freedom of others, the constitutional guarantees of nonestablishment of religion, equal protection of the law and freedom of speech and the rights to privacy, health and life,” the group said in their pleading.
The petitioners said the RH Law would reduce unintended pregnancies, save the lives of about 15 women who die each day from childbirth and pregnancy complications, and would contribute to better quality of life for poor Filipinos with large families, where many of the children end up eating only one meal a day and finish elementary or first year high school as their highest level of educational attainment.
“The Supreme Court is now being called upon to uphold the constitutionality of the RH Law to ensure women’s right to health and life and immediately dismiss the petitions which seek to establish religion in Philippine law,” they added.
Like the other RH supporters who filed petitions-for-intervention before the high court, the new batch of petitioners also said the law upheld the constitutional separation of the church and state, the freedom of thought, conscience and religion, equal protection of the law and the right to privacy.
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