DOH: Let’s move on from RH row

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

THE Department of Health (DOH) is calling on all stakeholders in the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Law to move on now that the Supreme Court (SC) has already settled the dispute on its legality.

A DOH official said that it will be for the best if those pushing for it and opposing it will stop arguing and instead focus on preventing maternal mortality in the country.

"Let us move on. We move on so we can deal with the other problems of this country," said DOH Undersecretary Ted Herbosa in an interview.


"Time to heal wounds after #SC decision on #RHlaw #LetItGo," wrote DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag in his Twitter account.

On Tuesday, the SC en banc ruled that the controversial Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act as being constitutional except for eight of its provisions.

The decision comes after 14 petitions were filed last year questioning the Constitutionality of the RH Law, which was signed by President Aquino in December 2012.

Herbosa said there is no reason for the Catholic Church to continuously oppose the law since the public will only be offered options in planning their families.

"We are not going to force any type of method. It is still up to their religion and their beliefs," he said.

The Catholic Church has been opposing the RH law mainly because of its promotion of the use of artificial contraceptives as a method for family planning.

He said the DOH has been prepared to implement the law since January 2013 after the law was signed.

"We are now sure that the budget will be sued for women. They will have access to these pills and other contraceptive products. We will make these available to all, especially poor women, because the law is really for them to have access to these modern contraceptive devices," he said.

The health official, then, urged the public to make available of the RH services since the law is already set to be implemented.

"We would like to encourage our women to now learn more about their reproductive rights and reproductive health issues. They can be informed. They can make the correct choices," said Herbosa.

On Wednesday, main proponents of the RH law in the House of Representatives lauded the SC for upholding the RH law.

"I am optimistic that when the law finally sees full implementation, it will be a step towards truly safeguarding the health of our numerous Filipino women, many of whom have been awaiting this decision and fought for its final passage into law for the last 16 years," said House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

Former Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said that the SC's monumental decision upholds the separation of Church and State and affirms the supremacy of the government in secular concerns particularly in health and socio-economic development.

"A grateful nation salutes the majority of Justices for their favorable ruling promoting reproductive health and giving impetus to sustainable human development," he added.

He noted the SC's ruling is also a challenge particularly to the government to "fully and faithfully" implement the law while the Congress should provide "adequate and meaningful appropriations" to fund various reproductive health programs. (HDT/John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)

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