Back RH, junk religious interference, SC told
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines— Saying that the rule of law is governed by secular and not religious standards, individuals and groups have asked the Supreme Court to lift at once the status quo ante order on the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RH) Act (Republic Act No. 10354) and declare it constitutional.
The Catholics for RH, Interfaith Partnership for the Promotion of Responsible Parenthood, Emeliza Bayya Mones (former national council representative of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines) and Zahria Mapandi (executive director of Al-Mujadillah Development Foundation Inc.) made the appeal in a 98-page memorandum supporting the RH law.
Their lawyers—Clara Rita Padilla, Marlon Manuel, Arnie de Vera, Claire Luczon and Arpee Santiago—filed the memorandum in the Supreme Court on Oct. 29.
It said anti-RH groups “seek to impose ultra conservative religious standards through our laws in an effort to control women’s bodies.”
“These ultra conservative religious standards propagate subordination of women where women’s decisions, including personal decisions related to pregnancy and childbirth, are totally disregarded,” the memorandum said.
It said declaring the entire RH law unconstitutional “perpetuates discrimination against women and upholds patriarchal rule in Philippine law.”
“Contrary to the erroneous claims of the petitioners, the RH law is a historical piece of legislation that promotes women’s rights and the rights of everyone to sexual and reproductive health rights…,” it said.
It added that the law would make pregnancies and childbirth safer for Filipino women, lead to more healthy children and better life for the poor.
The RH law, it said, sought to increase “poor women’s access to reproductive health information, supplies and services.”
This goal of the RH law is seen to reduce maternal deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth and unsafe abortion, reduce infant and child mortality and contribute to women’s empowerment and equality.
Should the Supreme Court uphold the constitutionality of the RH law, it said the court would be “revered as having upheld secular standards, human rights, internationally recognized medical standards and public health over religious morality.” Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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