Philippines Supreme Court halts Reproductive Health law: pro-life leaders react
March 19, 2013 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - The Supreme Court of the Philippines stopped the implementation of the anti-life Reproductive Health (RH) Law for 120 days in a 10-5 vote Tuesday pending oral arguments scheduled to take place on June 18.
The law, which the Catholic Church and many other institutions in the Philippines vehemently oppose due to its promotion of contraceptives and abortifacients regardless of conscientious objection, was set to fully take effect on Easter Sunday, March 31. Several constitutional challenges to the law have already been filed with the Court.
Voting against the decision were Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Marvic Leonen. Sereno, Perlas-Bernabe, and Leonen were all appointed by current president and RH Law advocate President Benigno Aquino.
Human Life International’s country director in the Philippines, Dr. Rene Bullecer, and Regional Director for Asia, Dr. Ligaya Acosta, who resides in the Philippines, reacted with joy and hope to the news. Both have been highly influential in organizing opposition to the RH Bill for over 14 years, but the bill was finally signed into law by President Aquino last December. Opposition to the law is now focused on the Supreme Court, and on electing pro-life legislators to repeal the law.
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“With God’s amazing grace, the Supreme Court of the Philippines by a vote of 10-5 has today issued a temporary restraining order against the Reproductive Health Law! We thank you and all our supporters all over the world who are keeping us and the Philippines in prayer,” said Dr. Acosta.
“Truly I’m overwhelmed with joy on this feast day of our beloved St. Joseph, protector of families and protector of the Church, as we also join and rejoice in the inauguration today of our new beloved Pope Francis!” she said. “Please continue to pray for us as we unceasingly battle against this most deplorable law which has been forced upon the Filipino people. We earnestly pray that this suspension be made permanent.”
“We thank Saint Joseph, protector of the universal Church, for his intercession, and that this favorable decision came out today on his feast day,” said Dr. Bullecer. “With this development, we need to regroup our forces and focus on the election of pro-life candidates for Senate and Congress in the crucial May 13 elections.”
Dr. Bullecer continued, “If we can elect more pro-life lawmakers, we are assured of the repeal of the RH Law should the June 18 arguments not go our way, and are assured blockage of the proposed divorce, abortion and gay union laws which are set to be filed once the 16th Congress opens in July.”
Human Life International President Father Shenan J. Boquet also invoked Saint Joseph in reacting to the news.
“I pray on this day in honor of Saint Joseph for life to be protected,” he said. “May the Supreme Court of the Philippines have the courage to uphold the God given right to life.”