MANILA, Philippines – On Day 4 of the oral arguments on the Reproductive Health law at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, August 13, a justice batted for one option that is most effective for couples: abstinence.
Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Roberto Abad, a staunch opponent of the law, mentioned abstinence when he grilled former Albay Rep Edcel Lagman, one of the authors of the law who faced the High Court Tuesday.
Abad said there are other options for contraception. “Proper withrawal is 96% effective. Abstinence is 100% effective!,” Abad said, drawing chuckles and smiles from his fellow justices.
All 15 justices were present at the resumption of the oral arguments. It was Lagman’s turn to defend the law, and he insisted that the constitutional provision on the right to life is intended solely to prevent Congress and the SC from legalizing abortion, not to prevent contraception.
The exchange between Abad and Lagman centered on the justice’s premise that contraceptives prevent implantation. Lagman denied that it does.
Abad however insisted that if people truly loved each other, they should be willing to make sacrifices, such as abstinence.
Lagman said there’s nothing illegal about contraception. To ban contraceptives now is oppression, he explained. He added that it is universally recognized as the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Abad said his concern is the law’s promotion of massive distribution of contraception in the country.
Lagman disputed this, saying the law does not promote only artificial modes of family planning. “It promotes all.”
It took at least 13 years for Congress to enact the law, largely due to strong opposition from the Catholic Church.
The RH law funds the distribution of free contraceptives, requires government hospitals to provide RH services, and mandates public schools to teach sex education.
Individuals and groups filed 15 anti-RH petitions before the SC, prompting the Court to stop its implementation indefinitely and hear arguments for and against it. – Rappler.com