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:
representative edcel lagman has said president aquino signed the bill into law last december 21, 2012. but no announcement has been made by malacanang. in twitter, malacanang spokesperson abi valte has said the palace is neither denying or confirming that the rh bill has been signed into law.
rappler.com however has published a signed copy of the bill.
is something up?
MANILA, Philippines – As promised, the Philippines enters 2013 with a Reproductive Health law.
President Benigno Aquino III signed into law Republic Act No. 10354 or the “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012” Friday last week, December 21, according to a copy obtained by Rappler. Malacañang is yet to issue a formal announcement.
It was signed without fanfare, confirmed House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II on Friday, December 28.
The RH law provides universal access to reproductive health care services and information, which do not prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum as determined by the Food and Drug Administration. It prioritizes poorer households as identified by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction.
A new law only takes effect 15 days after it is published in the Official Gazette or in at least two newspapers.
Below is a certified true copy of the signed measure:
majority floor leader boyet gonzales “threatens” rep. kimi cojuangco to “keep your mouth shut” on rhbill
we are posting here the screen caps of representative kimi cojuangco’s tweets this morning as they were tweeted and in sequence. rep. conjuangco is one of the leaders of the pro #rhbill at the house of representatives. we are posting here the exact screen caps at nothing added, nothing taken away. readers can make their own conclusions by reading them.
- MLF gonzales is aligned with president noynoy aquino and the president has given his support on the rhbill. in fact aquino has bravely taken flak from the catholic church for this support. at one point a bishop even threatened to “excommunicate” aquino for his stand. does this mean gonzales has broken away from aquino?
- gonzales seem to be playing some “let-me-fool-you-let-me-fool-everybody” political game where he is saying two different things to the people and media, to speaker of the house gonzales, congress, congressman edcel lagman (main proponent of the rh bill) and representative cojuangco. and the things gonzales is saying cannot be described as “honest”.
- gonzales “threatens” rep. cojuangco to “shut your mouth”. we were not there when these words were said but we should accept it as its recipient, cojuangco saw it as a “threat”. cojuangco is quite a lady, she has her own mind that she speaks out very well. threatening someone like cojuangco is really a very bad idea.
- which begs some questions – how many more “threats” have been given by gonzales and to how many more congressmen other than cojuangco? what will come next if cojuangco’s threats are not heeded? the majority floor leader at the HOR gets things done or undone through “threats”?
- where is rep gonzales on the rh bill? he appears to be against it based on this tweets and his “threats” to cojuangco. he is then going against the stand of the party that he belongs to, that of president aquino who is pro rh bill. has he declared his position to belmonte and the president? or did he “shut up” on that too?
- we have to admire congresswoman cojuangco for her tweets today. it may be a few days late (she said this happened some days ago) but revealing them today is good enough.
- she has the courage to go against the “boys club” (we hesitate to call it a “gentleman’s club” for its sleazy connotation and also, gonzales was no “gentleman” in this event. but then again, isn’t the HOR through this event is being very sleazy?) and spoke her mind and tell the twitter world what happened.
- it not only shows her courage, it shows her commitment to the cause of the rh bill and her strong and unwavering stand on principles and what is right.
- the rh bill we believe will benefit women, the poor, the pinoy family and the nation at large. cojuangco is standing up for those.
- courage as she is standing up against the majority floor leader who is also a seasoned politician and leader of the house.
- cojuangco will defend and uphold the principles she believes in and risk everything as a congresswoman. she knows the revelation can put her position in jeopardy but she is willing to put that on the table just so she defends what is right and what is principled.
wawam tweet on UST Varsitarian’s article attacking Ateneo & Las Salle professors stand on RH Bill shown on gma NewsTV
RH bill, Ateneo, and La Salle: Of lemons and cowards
Going against the grain, going against the tide, going against popularity surveys, the University of Santo Tomas has upheld the stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) condemning the Reproductive Health (RH) bill as an anti-poor, social-engineering measure that not only denigrates the natural law but also runs roughshod over maternal health, kowtows to the contraceptive imperialism of the West, and generally blames the poor and their alleged overpopulation for the ills of society, when it’s the Philippine state and its depredations—its mismanagement and appalling corruption—that are to blame.
UST is a Catholic institution. It is a pontifical institution—the second to be so named in world history. Nobody should question whether the University supports the Church’s stand as the Gospel of Christ is UST’s—and any Catholic institution’s—pillar and foundation.
Professors who are affiliated with UST must respect the stand of the University against the RH bill as they are part of an institution which is fundamentally bound with Catholic faith and teachings. If UST professors don’t agree with the stand of the CBCP, then they have a problem. The bishops are the successors of the Christ’s apostles and possess the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church.
If faculty members of UST and other Catholic schools feel they need to invoke their academic freedom to make known their stand in conflict with the bishops regarding the RH bill, then they’re free to do so. But they must resign from UST. They must give up their Catholic academic affiliation. They must have the courage of their intellectual conviction. Upholding their conscience, they must respect the Church and her teachings.
Recently, a number of professors from Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University have voiced their support for the RH bill. A close reading of the measure should show it promotes abortifacients.
A total of 192 Ateneo professors supported the RH bill in their Aug. 13 statement, arguing that the “RH bill can have a decided impact on alleviating pressing social concerns such as high maternal mortality ratio, the rise in teenage pregnancies, and the increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases, among others.”
Last Sept. 3, 45 La Salle professors joined the bandwagon, arguing that there is a need for artificial contraceptives as these can control the growth of the population and improve the quality of life.
It’s quite shocking that Ateneo and La Salle professors should harbor naive and misguided thinking about health and social problems. How could they argue that an RH measure would be needed to lower maternal mortality when the Philippine government not too long ago had told the United Nations that it was on track to meet the Unesco millennium development goals by 2015, one of which was the lowering of maternal deaths? How could they argue that alleged high mortality must be checked by an RH measure when pregnancy complications are not in the Top 10 causes of women’s deaths? How could they argue that contraceptives allegedly worth billions of pesos must be given to women to avert pregnancy risks when contraceptives have been known to cause cardiac problems, which are the No. 1 cause of death of Filipino women?
8 REASONS WHY CATHOLICS SUPPORT RH by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
The Catholic Church Does Not Consider Anti-RH Teaching as Infallible
Theology consists of critical reflection on faith. St. Anselm of Canterbury gave to us the classic definition of theology as: “Faith seeking understanding.” But theology is the result not only of faith, but also of certain normative rules which fall into two categories: doctrines and dogmas. Doctrines consist of beliefs or teachings which receive the official approval of the Church.
But by contrast, dogmas, which literally mean “what is right,” are doctrines that are taught definitively and promulgated with the highest solemnity. In other words, dogmas are the definitive rules of faith. If you reject a dogma, you become a heretic. Parenthetically, it is very strange that our Church has failed to enumerate what are the Catholic dogmas.
A teaching which is dogma is infallible; but a teaching which is mere doctrine is not infallible. A doctrine can change over time. Thus, the 1973 Mysterium Ecclesiae, a declaration issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states: “The expressions of revelation are historically conditioned, and therefore the meaning is not always self-evident to those in some other historical setting. The meaning in dogmatic language may change from one historical period to another. The truth itself may be expressed incompletely.”
In his classic bestseller, the 1994 revised edition of the book entitled Catholicism, Richard P. McBrien of the University of Notre Dame, said: “The Church has never explicitly claimed to such infallibility on a moral question.” The RH issue is a moral question. The Catholic Church has never claimed that any pronouncement on the RH issue is infallible.
And in the 1996 book Christ Among Us, Anthony Wilhelm said that on the question of contraception: “The large majority of theologians agree that no question of infallibility is involved.”
The Catholic Enjoys Freedom of Conscience
Every Catholic, like any citizen, enjoys freedom of conscience. In fact, modern theology now recognizes the primacy of conscience over mere doctrines formulated by certain clerics. In 1965, Pope Paul 6 issued an encyclical letter entitled Dignitatis Humanae, also known as Declaration on Religious Freedom. The Pope wrote: “Man perceives and acknowledges the imperatives of the divine law through the mediation of conscience. In all his activity, a man is bound to follow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of living. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience.”
In 1967, the same Pope Paul 6 issued another encyclical entitled Populorum Progreso, also known as “On the Development of Peoples.” The Pope said: “It is for the parish to decide, with full knowledge of the matter, on the number of their children . . . in all these they must follow the demands of their own conscience.”
The 1971 statement by the US Sacred Congregation for the Clergy states: “Conscience is invulnerable and no person is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his (or her) conscience.”
Years later, in 1993, Pope John Paul 23 issued his encyclical entitled Veritatis Splendor, also known as Splendor of Truth. The Pope said: “The authority of the Church, when she pronounces on moral questions, in no way undermines the freedom of conscience of Christians. The Church puts herself always and only in the service of conscience.”
And in 1996, in the book Christ Among Us, which I have already cited, Anthony Wilhelm wrote that some “500 American theologians, in concert with many theologians throughout the world, asserted that for grave reasons Catholics may follow their conscience this matter even though the Pope has spoken.”
Quoting Andrew Greeley, both a priest and socialist, Wilhelm reached the following conclusion: “It is a clear teaching that, while erroneous decisions might be made in following one’s conscience, one who has tried to inform one’s conscience must then follow it.”
RH Observes the “Preferential Option for the Poor,” Under Liberation Theology
Liberation theology is the theory which interprets liberation from social, political, and economic oppression as an anticipation of eschatological or post-death salvation. The following are the basic principles of liberation theology:
- It is the Church and not merely the Catholic hierarchy, which is a sacrament.
- By Church, we mean the whole People of God, not just the hierarchy.
- The whole People of God participates in the mission of Christ, and not just in the mission of the Catholic hierarchy.
- The mission of the Church includes service to those in need, and, parenthetically, service to the women of the poor. The mission of the Church is not limited to the preaching of the gospel or the celebration of the sacraments.
In his 1988 book, A Theory of Liberation, Gustavo Gutierrez wrote that the preferential option for the poor is central in liberation theology. He advocated giving “preference to the poorest and most needy sectors.” He reminded Catholics of the statement made by Pope John Paul 23 just before the opening of Vatican 2 that the Church is called upon to be a church of the poor. Gutierrez said: “Let me say only that we have here two aspects of the church’s life that are both demanding and inseparable: universality and preference for the poor.”
RH is Part of Today’s Sense of the Faithful, Also Known as Sensus Fidelium
Literally, sensus fidelium means “the sense of the faithful.” It refers to doctrinal truth recognized by the whole body of the faithful. In theology, the sense of the faithful belongs to the individual believer within the community of the faithful. In other words, God teaches us not only through the priests and the bishops, but also through the laity, to whom God gives understanding of the faith.
In opposing the RH bill, certain members of the Catholic religious fail to listen effectively to the sense of the faithful. The Catholic clergy have a moral duty to take into consideration the experiences and consciousness of the laity. The religious should descend from the pulpit and consult with parishioners on RH. Today we find some of the male religious issuing their orders and directives from the pulpit, or in other words using the bully pulpit. Some of them manage only to appeal to blind faith, instead of participating in a consultative process with the Catholic laity, particularly the poor and the underprivileged.
sotto on rh bill is the laughing stock of social media, he victimized himself – patricia evangelista
The lightning rod
Tito Sotto is a victim, or so Tito Sotto claims. He believes he is the focus of a concerted effort by the heavily funded supporters of the Reproductive Health bill, all of whom are desperate to demonize him and weaken his resolve. He suspects he is the first senator to be made victim of cyberbullying. He has been insulted, criticized and threatened with lawsuits. His history has been exploited. It is a hatchet job, he says, a demolition job.
The senator is correct when he says that plagiarism has become the issue, instead of the nuances of the bill itself. He is also correct when he talks about the online response to his speeches. He is the laughingstock of cyberspace. “Sinotto” is a trending hashtag for plagiarized lines. The face that once decorated blockbuster movie billboards is a Facebook meme. When the senator used translated-into-Filipino chunks of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1966 Affirmation speech in his latest privilege speech, the online community responded with a slew of translated song lyrics and movie lines from Lady Gaga to Cherie Gil, all attributed to Tito Sotto.
He also finds it odd that none of his opponents, not a single one of his critics, has attempted to rebut the ideas he has put forward in his privilege speeches.
“I have not heard a response to any of the criticisms I have thrown against the RH bill.”
The senator is not correct. It is true that the plagiarism issue has made him less believable, far less credible, but advocates of the Reproductive Health bill have refuted his ideas point by point, in columns and blogs and television interviews, establishing his sources as outdated, his claims misrepresentations, and his statistics misinterpreted, while pointing out the fundamental factual error in his emotional claim that his child died in 1975 because his wife had ingested birth control pills. The pill he specified, Diane, was yet to be distributed the year he lost his son.
we have been waiting for the answer of fr. bernas on the 3/4 print ad released by the CBCP and bishop reyes of antipolo. we have marked the important points made by fr. bernas. (click to read: CBCP answers fr joaquin bernas on rh bill via print ad at philippine daily inquirer)
we have a few more:
- fr. bernas is incorrect when he said this: “Third, the Church teaching on contraception is based not only on Faith or revelation but also on natural law.” in fact the bishop admits its opposition to the rh bill is NOT based on faith or revelation, ” It is also good to point out that the church teaching regarding contraceptives is not based on Faith or revelation, although it is confirmed by our Faith.”
- fr. bernas being a catholic priest is anti rhbill but he is also a professor of law, a constitutionalist, a pinoy and a human being. he answers the bishop being all of those, each one on 20/20 vision.
- every time fr. bernas writes about the rh bill, he makes us think and reflect on our positions on the rh bill and from which we either confirm or change our positions. the point is fr. bernas always makes us think and reflect no matter what our position is on the rh bill.
CONVERSATION WITH A BISHOP
Fr. Joaquin Bernas S.J.
A couple of days ago Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo diocese, writing under the stationary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, published an ad in the Inquirer and Philippine Star, expressing his disagreement with the views of an unnamed columnist on the merits and demerits of the RH Bill. The regular readers of my columns in the Inquirer immediately recognized that the Bishop was referring to me. I too recognized it immediately as referring to me.Not that I object to the reference to me nor to being quoted. In fact I welcome the bishop’s ad and take it as an invitation to dialogue. Dialogue among Christians, high and low, is highly encouraged by the Church today. “In the modern world, the scandal is not that Vatican officials would engage scientists who disagree with church teaching, but rather that such engagement is regarded as taboo.”The Bishop takes exception to my statement that “the state should not prevent people from practicing responsible parenthood according to their religious beliefs nor may churchmen compel President Aquino, by whatever means, to prevent people from acting according to their religious beliefs.” The Bishop says that he “would be happy if the (non-abortifacient contraceptives) were banned” but that the Church is only against the state promoting contraceptives and providing free contraceptives to people.From the bishop’s ad, I gather three points for dialogue. First, the bishop says that now “anyone can buy contraceptives from drugstores or even from ‘convenient stores.’” Second, (but this is implicit) the state should not use public money to make contraceptives freely available. Third, the Church teaching on contraception is based not only on Faith or revelation but also on natural law.Let’s converse about these.First, on easy availability of contraceptives in drugstores. The clear implication is that the world is free and anyone can buy these. This is simply not true. Only those who have the money can buy them. Legislators, however, are thinking of the vast majority of poor people who need help to be able to practice responsible parenthood.