By Argyll Geducos
The Department of Health (DOH) is now hoping to gather 1 million signatures for the Supreme Court (SC) to lift its temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Reproductive Health (RH) Law.
DOH made this unified call to action with the Commission on Population and the Forum for Family Planning and Development, Inc. during the first National Family Planning Conference in Quezon City.
As of press time, the said petition, which can be found on change.org, already has 546 supporters.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the standing TRO serves as a roadblock on the rights of couples and individuals to plan their families, big or small.
According to the DOH, 81 percent of women of reproductive age in the country either want to delay or prevent childbearing based on the National Demographic and Health Survey 2013. It also revealed that 18 percent of these women are not using any contraceptive method.
“They are at risk of unwanted pregnancy and have an unmet need for family planning,” it said.
The SC issued a TRO in June 2015 prohibiting the DOH from “procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, advertising and promoting the hormonal contraceptive Implanon and Implanon NXT.”
SC also questioned the Food and Drug Administration’s process on certifying contraceptives as “non-abortifacients,” and demanded the redrafting of the implementing rules and regulations of RH Law.
DOH said family planning is one of the most effective ways in reducing the maternal death rate and in achieving the desired family size of women or couples among the poorest of the poor families in the country.
“The programs on Family Planning shall continue to reach every Filipino and give them much needed information and services they rightfully deserve,” Ubial said.