Laws do not provide exceptions: Abortion is illegal | Inquirer Opinion
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Laws do not provide exceptions: Abortion is illegal

/ 05:01 AM February 18, 2022

Abortion is illegal under any and all circumstances under the Philippine Constitution and statutes. Abortion is not allowed even when the life of the mother is in danger, and for that matter, even when the life of the unborn is threatened. Under the law, the life of the unborn and the life of the mother shall be equally protected because they are equally valuable.

In a conflict situation between the life of the unborn and the life of the mother, the doctor is professionally and morally obliged to try to save both lives because both are his patients. However, he can act in favor of one (not necessarily the mother) when it is medically impossible to save both, provided that no direct harm is intended to the other. The intentional harm on the life of either is never justified to bring about a “good” effect. If these principles are observed, the loss of the life of either the mother or the unborn that may result is not intentional and, therefore, unavoidable, and the doctor would not be guilty of abortion or murder. This is what you call the double-effect principle which our Supreme Court has recognized.

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For these reasons, “therapeutic abortion” is illegal and is a crime.

The laws penalizing abortion as a crime do not provide any exceptions, not even for rape or incest. A wrong cannot be rectified by another wrong; no one should be deprived of human life without due process; and a fetus, just like any human, must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. It is quite obvious that the fetus has done no wrong except to be an unwanted baby. A solution is for social services to be provided to mothers, the handicapped, and the underprivileged by a loving and caring society.

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The right to life of the unborn is more basic and superior than the right to privacy of the woman. This restrains a woman from doing whatever she pleases with her body by evicting an unwanted unborn from her womb. The unborn, while totally dependent on the mother, is already a separate body—and a new life—distinct from that of the mother. The unborn is never pitted against the mother because both are human beings whose lives are equally precious. Thus, any conflict of rights between the mother and the unborn is more apparent than real.

Maria Concepcion S. Noche, lawyer and president, Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines, Inc., [email protected]

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