#TalkThursday: The RH Law in 2014
MANILA, Philippines - Rappler talks to Likhaan Director Junice Melgar and Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz about the RH law, or the Reproductive Health Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.
The RH law provides information, free natural and artificial contraceptives, and emergency obstetric and newborn care in public health facilities, as well as reproductive health education to young people between the ages of 10 and 19 in public schools, among others.
Despite being signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III in December 2012, the Reproductive Health Law has yet to take effect. (READ: President Aquino signs RH bill into law)
Less then a month after the RH bill was enacted into law, lawyers James and Lovely Ann Imbong filed a petition with the Supreme Court (SC) questioning the law's constitutionality. Other groups followed suit with a variety of complaints against the RH law - it violated rights to life, health and the exercise of free religion. A total of 14 petitions are now with the High Court.
In July of 2013, the SC voted 8-7 in favor of extending the existing status quo ante order against the law, to stop its implementation indefinitely. (READ: SC ends RH law arguments; what happens now?)
As the law remains pending, the 2011 Family Health Survey shows a rise in the country’s maternal mortality ratio - from 162/100,00 to 221/100,000 live births between 2006 and 2011. (READ: RH law now!)
Melgar is the director and co-founder of Likhaan, an advocacy group focused on empowering women. With the Likhaan Center for Women’s Health, the group strives to make services such pre-natal checkups, health and sex education, and women’s rights accessible to all women.
Arcbishop Cruz is the former Judicial Vicar of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. He called the RH bill "Sex Bill 4244" claiming it "hates life." He says it would eventually lead to "divorce and same-sex marriage". (READ: The irrepressible Archbishop Cruz)
Watch the interview below.