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Tatad, doctors file separate petitions against RH law

By Rey E. Requejo | Feb. 15, 2013 at 12:01am
Two more petitions were filed before the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking to stop the implementation of Republic Act 10354 or the Reproductive Health Act.

For former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad and his wife Maria Fenny, Valentine’s Day was the most opportune time for the filing of the petition before the high tribunal against the Reproductive Health law.

Plea. Former Senator and Pro-life advocate Francisco Tatad, left, assisted by his lawyer Alan Paguia, files a motion before the Supreme Court asking it to declare the Reproductive Health Law unconstitutional. Ey Acasio


Another group of physicians and pro-life advocates also filed a separate petition assailing the constitutionality of the controversial law.

The Tatads claim that the RH law is unconstitutional and should be declared null and void ab initio or from the beginning.

They say the law violates the Bill of Rights in the Constitution since it “invades on the privacy of married couples in their most intimate rights and duties to their respective spouses.”

RA 10354, the petitioners argue, also violate the “constitutional  existence of Filipino ‘posterity,’ defined as ‘all the descendants of every Filipino in a direct line to the remotest generation.”

“The RH law is contrary to public morals and destructive of the harmony and peace of society,” the petitioners say.

“The RH law has divided the nation and threatens to divide it further still,” said the Tatads who were joined by lawyer Alan Paguia in filing the petition.

“Only judicial wisdom and statesmanship can lift the nation now from the gathering clouds of greater discord and turmoil,”

The other group belonging to Doctors for Life and Filipinos for Life, represented by lawyer Howard Calleja, raised similar arguments against the RH law in their petition.

They group says RA 10354 violate the Doctrine of Benevolent Neutrality under the Freedom of Religion Clause, which is safeguarded by the Bill of Rights.

The petitioners say the law violates the constitutionally protected right against involuntary servitude “by mandating that health care services cannot be denied to any person and in case of refusal due to religious beliefs or ethics, the health care provider must refer the patient to another health care provider.”

They dispute the rationale behind the law that increased contraception will improve the lives of Filipinos, aside from discouraging abortions.

“Actual experience proves the contrary. A study conducted in Spain shows that despite the use of condoms and birth control pills by 2,000 women over the span of 10 years, the incidence of elective abortions doubled,” the doctors say in their petition.

“There can only be one explanation for this. The over-dependence of individuals on contraceptives promotes irresponsible, reckless and imprudent sexual behavior. In the event of failure or misuse of the contraceptive method, unwanted pregnancies occur, forcing women to turn to elective abortion to terminate such unwanted pregnancies.”

Both petitions are asking the high court to issue a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the government from implementing the new law.

The two petitions filed on Thursday brought to nine the number of petitions so far filed with the high court against the  RH law.

Six petitions were initially filed by James and Lovely-Ann Imbong, the non-profit group Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines Inc., Serve Life Cagayan de Oro City, Task Force for Family and Life Visayas Inc., and lawyer Expedito Bugarin and Eduardo Olaguer of the Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines.
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