- Rep, Edcel C. Lagman
- Independent – Albay
- 28 August 2012
- 0916-6406737 / 0918-9120137
- ENACT FIRST THE RH BILL,
- THEN CONTEST IT BEFORE SC
There can be no judicial scrutiny by the Supreme Court of the constitutionality of the RH bill until it is enacted into law.
If the bishops and their lay allies are determined to challenge the constitutionality of the controversial measure, then they should stop hindering the bill from becoming a statute.
Once the RH bill becomes a law, the RH advocates welcome any question on its constitutionality because they are certain it would surmount the test of constitutionality for the following reasons:
(1) The constitutional provision for the State to protect “the life of the unborn from conception” is to prevent both the Congress and the Supreme Court from legalizing abortion. This objective was expressly admitted by Commissioner Bernardo Villegas, the proponent of the provision.
(2) The RH bill is against abortion as it provides that abortion is illegal and punishable, and is not an endorsed method of family planning.
(3) The function of contraceptives is to avoid pregnancy, either by preventing a woman from ovulating or the sperm from reaching the egg, which in either case there is no fertilization and no fetus to abort.
(4) It is for this reason that contraceptives like pill, condoms, injectables and the IUD are medically certified as non-abortive or not abortifacients and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
(5) Neither the Constitution nor any law prohibits the manufacture, distribution and use of contraceptives.
(6) The “unborn” is protected from “conception”, not from “fertilization”, which is a prior stage of the reproductive process, and the two stages are separate and are not synonymous.
(7) The proposal in the Constitutional Commission to include in the Bill of Rights a provision that “the right to life extends to the fertilized ovum” was not approved. This original proposal was not constitutionalized because it is clear that the fertilized ovum has no viable life until it is implanted in the woman’s uterus, which is the start of conception or pregnancy.
(8) Contraceptives prevent fertilization, while abortion pre-terminates an existing pregnancy or conception.
(9) Once pregnancy or conception sets in for any reason, like the failure of contraceptives, no human or medical intervention is allowed to abort the fetus under the RH bill.
(10) In fact, the RH bill is anti-abortion because the proper and regular use of medically safe, legal and effective contraceptives reduces the incidence of abortion by as much as 85% according to credible scientific and empirical studies because high-risk and unwanted pregnancies, which are the very candidates for abortion, are avoided.
(11) The family is a social institution which is not immune from legislation, particularly the State’s police power to enact laws for the general welfare.
(12) The RH bill respects the “rights of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood”, and it also discharges the constitutionally mandated obligation of the State to support the natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth by prescribing formal age-appropriate reproductive health and sexuality education considering the default of many parents in imparting sex education to their children since conversation about sex is generally taboo in Filipino homes.