Hontiveros to SC: Don’t let families wait

Purple S. Romero

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She tells the SC the suspension of the law will cause a 'permanent' and 'lasting' harm to mothers and children

IMPLEMENT RH LAW. Raquel Villanueva, one of the mothers who supported the passage of RH law, said the SC should not stop its implementation.

MANILA, Philippines – A senatorial candidate asked the Supreme Court on Monday, March 25 to lift the status quo ante order it issued stopping the implementation of the controversial reproductive health law.

Former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros – who is part of the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party – filed a motion  for reconsideration on the status quo ante order, which would take effect for 120 days, or 4 months.

The SC voted 10-5 on March 19 to stop the government from implementing the RH law, which funds the distribution and promotion of contraceptives. 

Hontiveros filed the motion days before the derailed RH law was supposed to take effect on March 31, or on Easter Sunday. 

Lawyer Ibarra Gutierrez III, Akbayan nominee for partylist representative in the 2013 midterm elections, said the RH law should still be implemented even as the SC has yet to rule on its legality. He said Republic Act 10354 or the RH law – like any other law passed by Congress – enjoys the presumption of constitutionality.

DON'T LET US WAIT. Risa Hontiveros (center) asks SC to lift status quo ante order on the RH law implementation.

He stressed that in the case of the RH law, it took 15 years before Congress passed it in 2012. Hontiveros said that the implementing rules and regulations of the law were also crafted in consultation with different civil society groups and stakeholders. 

“It is respectfully submitted that these Implementing Rules and Regulations…must be taken into account by this Honorable Supreme Court in determining whether the Status Quo Ante Order is appropriate at this time,” Hontiveros said in the motion.

Gutierrez added they are ready to face the SC when it conducts the oral arguments on the case on June 18. 

Hontiveros said that contrary to the arguments of the anti-RH petitioners, RA 10354 does not  limit the free exercise of religion. Stopping the implementation of the RH law based on religious beliefs alone would in fact lead to the imposition of the same beliefs on everyone else, she said. (READ: SC stops RH law implementation)

She added that the RH law also does not undermine the Filipino family.

“In fact, by giving Filipino families, whatever their circumstances and economic status, the ability to make informed choices about their family life as well as the ability to act on those choices, RA 10354 strengthens the family as a basic, autonomous, social institution,” she said in her motion.

She said the petitioners also ignored the fact the RH law does not legalize abortion. The text of the law even expressly prohibits it.  The motion also noted that the SC only acts on actual controversies. Hontiveros said the petitioners have yet to show that they were “adversely” affected by the law. (READ: Spiritually pro-RH)

On the contrary, she said the suspension of the law will cause a “permanent” and “lasting” harm to mothers and children.

“The suspension can cause irreparable harm to a vulnerable section of our population. As reported by the Department of Health, lack of access to reproductive health services is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality. This harm cannot be reversed,” she said. – Rappler.com

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