By Rey Panaligan
Four groups of reproductive health advocates and non-government organizations asked the Supreme Court Monday, November 14 to lift its temporary restraining order against the procurement, selling and distribution of contraceptive implants.
The TRO was issued a year after the SC ruled that the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 was constitutional.
The new pleading against the TRO was filed by the Filipino Catholic Voices for Reproductive Health (C4RH), Philippine NGO Council on Population Health and Welfare (PNGOC), Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD) and Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation Inc. (PLCPDFI).
Former health secretary Esperanza Cabral and then presidential assistant for social development Ben de Leon joined the groups in their intervention.
The groups said the TRO violated the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the constitutional provision on equal protection of the mother and the unborn, RA 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law, and RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women.
RA 9710 seeks to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of Filipino women, especially those in marginalized sector.
The groups pointed out that depriving women access to contraceptives would further deteriorate the already problematic reproductive health situation in the country.
They warned about the rise of unplanned pregnancy rates of almost 40 percent and maternal deaths from preventable childbirth complications, which is now estimated at 14 deaths a day.
Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) had asked the SC to lift its TRO that stopped the government from “procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing and administering, advertising and promoting” contraceptive implants.