supreme court decision – RH Law is “not unconstitutional”, is now law for implementation
SC upholds RH Law
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Voting unanimously, the Supreme Court upheld yesterday Republic Act No. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, but struck down certain provisions.
In summer session here, justices of the high court voted to declare unconstitutional eight provisions in the controversial law and in its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
Voided were portions of Section 7 of the law, which require private hospitals owned by religious groups to refer patients to other health facilities and allow minors suffering miscarriage access to modern family planning methods without the consent of their parents.
The SC also struck down Section 17, which requires healthcare providers to grant free services to indigent women as prerequisite to securing PhilHealth accreditation.
Also voided were provisions in Section 23 penalizing health workers who fail or refuse to disseminate information on RH programs regardless of his or her religious beliefs, or those who refuse to refer non-emergency patients to another facility regardless of religious beliefs, or public officials who refuse to support RH programs regardless of his or her religion.
Also branded as unconstitutional is a provision in the IRR allowing married individuals not in an emergency or life-threatening case to undergo RH procedures without the consent of their spouses.
The high court also declared unconstitutional Section 3 of the law’s IRR, which defined “abortifacient” as only contraceptives that “primarily” induce abortion.
The magistrates, who came up with 10 different opinions, voted differently on these provisions.
But except for the eight provisions, all 15 justices voted to declare “not unconstitutional” all other provisions questioned in the consolidated petitions.
The SC did not use the term “constitutional” in deciding on the legality of the RH Law, saying it used the double negative term since the constitutionality of the assailed law was assumed in the case.
The grounds used by the high court in making the decision, however, were not immediately known as copies of the ruling as well as those of separate opinions had not yet been released.
Associate Justice Jose Mendoza penned the decision, while Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno wrote her separate opinion in Filipino.
read the SC decision here : http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/microsite/rhlaw/
in a tweet, the supreme court had an explanation on the double negative in their decision of the RH Law being ” not unconstitutional as follows (http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1s1attl ) :
* The formulation that uses the double negative “not unconstitutional” is peculiar to constitutional adjudication and is premised on the presumption that all laws are presumed to be constitutional and the burden of showing that a law is unconstitutional is on the petitioner. Failing that burden, the declaration is in the double negative—“not unconstitutional.” To assert that it is “constitutional” would presume that the law operates on a starting point of unconstitutionality, which is not the situation; also to declare that a law is “constitutional” connotes a degree of permanent immutability, i.e., that the law can never be declared unconstitutional.
the main decision, read it here: