DOH ‘ready to go’ in RH law implementation, says health chief
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Health (DOH) is now ready to implement the reproductive health (RH) law even as several pro-RH law groups are asking the Supreme Court to restore the penal provisions it struck down when it declared the law legal.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona, in a statement on Wednesday, said the DOH would no longer file a motion for reconsideration as the appeal period, which was until April 26, had already lapsed.
“We are ready to go. All eyes are waiting for the green light for us to intensify our efforts to save mothers and children,” said Ona.
“Every mother giving birth, every child about to be born, and all women looking for the best options to take care of their families can no longer wait,” he added.
Several groups on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its April 8 ruling that nullified Sections 7, 17 and 23 of the Republic Act 10354 or the Reproductive Health law.
Section 7 is about access to family planning, which provides, among others, that no person shall be denied information and access to family planning services.
Section 17 on the other hand requires health workers to render free reproductive health service for indigent women as a prerequisite in securing PhilHealth accreditation.
Section 23, on the other hand provides penalties against those who will violate the RH Law.
Some of the penalties nullified are for those who will refuse to perform legal and medically safe reproductive health procedures to minors without parental consent and to married individuals without the spouse’s consent.
Among the groups that filed the motion for reconsideration included Filipino Catholic Voices for Reproductive Health (C4RH) Inc., and the Interfaith Partnership for the Promotion of Responsible Parenthood (IPPRP).
“With the help of our legal advisers, we now fully understand the nature of the SC decision and its implications on program implementation,” said Ona.
“As far as we are concerned, the SC justices essentially clarified that all government health facilities are still required to provide modern family planning services, and that there are many legal ways to ensure access to RH services even if there are conscientious objectors, among many other clarifications,” he noted.
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