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By Rina Jimenez-David
Even as the Reproductive Health Law remains stuck in the labyrinth of the Supreme Court, falling in line behind a string of other lawsuits, with the issue of its “constitutionality” still hanging in the air, elsewhere reproductive health technology marches on.
The lapsed, the wounded, and those banished to the fringes of the Catholic Church are finding hope in Pope Francis’ words in his wide-ranging interview with the editor in chief of La Civilta Cattolica. “[T]he thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity,” the Argentine says, touching off sparks.
By Bernardo M. Villegas
Whatever happens to the RH Law, our leaders in the next five to 10 years must make sure that no program to aggressively promote a contraceptive mentality among the poor will be part of the implementing rules and regulations. We cannot make the same mistakes of China and Thailand, which are now on an irreversible road to demographic suicide because of the birth control programs their governments pursued just 20 to 30 years ago.
There may be only three kinds of professionals whose communication with their respective clients are generally privileged under Philippine Rules of Court: the lawyer, the doctor, and the minister or priest. Surely it must not be plain serendipity for our law to accord these three that kind of respect; it must have something to do with our culture’s regard for them. At one time or another a family could have aspired to have a lawyer, a doctor, or a minister/priest among its members. But for me, I took the dream a few steps further: I once aspired to be a priest, but ended up finishing medicine. Now I am at a crossroads—should I continue my already halfway study of law?
By Chet Espino
The government’s line of defense in the oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Reproductive Health Law hardly addresses the issues presented thus far by the Supreme Court justices themselves. As if taking his cue from just three justices seemingly reluctant to decide on the RH Law, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza centered his arguments on [...]
We’ve heard all these arguments before. The detour to the Supreme Court may be a necessary stage in the long struggle to turn the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law into daily reality—but truth to tell, the case against RH policy being made at the ongoing oral arguments is a rehash of everything else that has been thrown at it. We really have heard all of these before.
By Clara Rita A. Padilla
Those who question the constitutionality of the Reproductive Health Law claim to argue on behalf of poor Filipino women. However, there is a stark contrast between the lives of well-off people and the actual realities that poor Filipino women face. It is perhaps unimaginable for those who oppose the law that there are many poor [...]
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
I have listened to more than 10 hours of oral arguments on the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the Reproductive Health Law. No, I did not make a martyr of myself in the session hall of the Supreme Court. But thanks to the Supreme Court website, I was able to listen to two five hours of not exactly scintillating sessions through my computer, and at my leisure. More five-hour sessions are promised.
By Fr. Cecilio L. Magsino
In the July 10 headline article about the Supreme Court hearing on the oral arguments about the Reproductive Health Law, we read: “Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno said the high court was not there to answer ‘metaphysical’ and ‘theological’ questions but to balance the interests of the unborn child with other constitutional values and objectives.”
By Chet Espino
It’s all over but the voting for the 14 petitions at the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the Reproductive Health Law—that is, if you believe media reports. With all the speculation going around, it doesn’t help that most media accounts have focused on how the first presenter, lawyer Concepcion Noche, was “rebuked” by the 15 justices. One account said the petitions faced dismissal because of the way Noche struggled through the four-and-a-half-hour ordeal. A law professor even wrote a postmortem for the anti-RH petitions, claiming they didn’t have a case.
As the July 11 Inquirer editorial correctly pointed out, without the charge of grave abuse of discretion, the petition against the Reproductive Health Law has absolutely nothing to stand on.
The first day of oral arguments at the Supreme Court, on the multiple petitions to declare the controversial Reproductive Health Law unconstitutional, turned out to be very instructive. The biggest lesson of all: Supreme Court justices are only too aware of the limits of their role.