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State ordered to answer RH Bill petitions

Calls for law to be ruled unconstitutional reporter, Manila

January 16, 2013

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the government 10 days to respond to a series of petitions by Catholic and pro-life groups calling for a new, controversial reproductive health law to be suspended.

Medical services company Serve Life CDO and the educational institution Rosevale Foundation on Tuesday led a group on the southern island of Mindanao in filing the latest of four petitions against the new law which enshrines sex education for teenagers and condom distribution.

A similar petition filed on Friday by a pro-life group in the central province of Cebu claims that the law violates the “right of free exercise of religion, exposes unborn children to abortion and is anti-God.”

The petitioners, Task Force for Family and Life Visayas Inc, added that the new reproductive health legislation violated what they called the “pro-God” 1987 constitution of the Philippines, particularly Section 2 which calls on the government to protect the sanctity of family life.

Lawyer couple James and Lovely-Ann Imbong filed two petitions on January 2 and 9 on behalf of a range of organizations including a Catholic school, the Magnificent Child Development Center Inc, and their own children. 

The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the government’s Office of the Solicitor General to respond to the petitions by January 25.

After a host of religious groups tried to prevent the passing of the long awaited Reproductive Health Bill at the end of last year, many in this predominantly Catholic country have vowed to continue fighting after President Benigno Aquino signed off on the law on December 19.

The presidential palace backed the law on Tuesday adding that the petitions did not raise anything new.

“The government through the Office of the Solicitor General will be prepared to defend the RH law,” said presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

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