RH Law ready for full implementation
More than five years since it was signed into law, the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law is ready to be fully implemented with the near-completion of an evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration as required by the Supreme Court.
A total of 51 contraceptives were evaluated and the resolution of the FDA is expected to “clear” these commodities as nonabortifacient, or not causing or leading to spontaneous abortion. Contraceptives found to be nonabortifacient will then be issued certificates of product registration, effectively lifting the Supreme Court’s 40-month-old temporary restraining order dating back to June 2015.
The committee drafting the implementing rules and regulations of the RPRH Law, led by former health secretary Paulyn Ubial, signed the revised IRR last Oct. 6, paving the way for the full implementation of the law nationwide.
“The twin actions of the FDA and [Department of Health] have put the RPRH Law back on track to full implementation,” declared Dr. Juan Perez, executive director of the Commission on Population (Popcom).
It isn’t a total victory, however. While the qualifier “primarily” has been deleted from the definition of contraceptives allegedly causing spontaneous abortions, the law still reiterates that written parental consent for minors is needed to be able to access contraceptives. This, even if the minor is already a parent or has had a miscarriage.
The IRR also maintained the high court’s ruling that any healthcare provider who fails or refuses to disseminate information regarding programs and services on reproductive health because of the healthcare provider’s religious beliefs will not be punished provided he or she complies with the requirements as evidence of his/her beliefs.
On the other hand, if contraceptive implants will be certified as nonabortifacient by the FDA, the DOH would then be able to use Progestin Subdermal Implants (known by the trade name Implanon) again. “With over 200,000 PSIs in the DOH inventory, the DOH, local governments and CSO partners have 11 months to insert these PSIs before they become ineligible for insertion by September 2018,” Perez warned.
On Monday, Nov. 6, the Catholic Church in the Philippines will observe the “National Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians.”
The observance will consist of Votive Masses, a Eucharistic celebration for special purposes or occasions, in parishes nationwide. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has requested all parishes to use the Votive Mass for Persecuted Christians found in the Roman Missal.
Among the locales for the observation, the Ateneo de Manila Grade School will hold a Votive Mass on that day at 6:30 a.m. at the Chapel of the Holy Guardian Angels, while Aid to the Church in Need Philippines will hold its own observance at the CBCP Chapel at 11:30 a.m.
Aside from the Mass, Catholics are also encouraged to pray on Monday the Angelus for Persecuted Christians.
A report prepared by ACN, a foundation under the Vatican established to assist Christian communities in need, titled “Persecuted and Forgotten,” says that persecution of Christians in the world is “worse than at any time in history.” Not only are Christians getting “more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are [also] experiencing the very worst forms of persecution.”
The ACN report says that most of the persecution is taking place in “countries where fundamentalist groups are present.” It adds: “Persecution is also notable in authoritarian nations like China and North Korea.”
On Nov. 22, ACN will also lead a nationwide campaign called “Red Wednesday,” where the facade of participating cathedrals, minor basilicas, shrines and Catholic universities will be lit in red to honor and pay tribute to the sacrifice of modern-day Christian martyrs. Those that have committed to participate include the Manila Cathedral, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Parañaque, and the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace, more commonly known as the Edsa Shrine.
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