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Supreme Court hears arguments on reproductive health law

Published July 10, 2013, 6:21 p.m. PHT

Last updated Aug. 8, 2013, 8:19 a.m. PHT

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Supreme Court hears reproductive health law arguments

The Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines started hearing arguments for and against the suspended reproductive health (RH) law on Tuesday, July 9.

At least 14 petitions questioning the controversial law’s constitutionality were filed with the High Court.

Audio recording of RH law oral arguments, July 9 (SC PIO)

RH law oral arguments, July 9 Timeline

2:15pm — Former Senator Francisco Tatad likens #RHlaw to genocide, hence against Constitution and international laws. He added it is population control.

2:37pm — Lawyer Maria Concepcion Noche argues that fertilized ovum has life and must be protected; right to life is fundamental, it gives birth to other rights.

2:42pm — Atty. Noche adds that the fertilized ovum is exposed to risks because of abortive capabilities of contraceptives. #RHlaw

2:44pm — Atty. Noche says that pregnancy is not a disease.

3:03pm — Atty. Noche maintains that IUDs, other contraceptives have abortive capability. #RHlaw

3:04pm — Atty. Noche adds that life of the unborn should be equally protected as of the mother’s. #RHlaw

3:07pm — Justice Carpio asks Atty. Noche if she wants SC to decide when life begins. Noche says the Constitution commission is clear, life starts at conception. #RHlaw

3:09pm — Atty Noche: Consti comm didn’t want Congress to define when life begins. It is clear from the start that life begins at conception. #RHlaw

3:15pm — J. Abad maintains that determining when life begins is not a medical issue. Conception means “beginning.”

3:34pm — J. Del Castillo suggests that not all contraceptives are abortifacients. Let us put them to test. #RHlaw

3:47pm — J. Leonen says that Constitution is not clear when life begins. Noche says Consti comm says it is from conception. #RHlaw

3:50pm — J. Leonen says the Court only seeks advice from the proceedings of the Constitutional commissions, not decide based on them. #RHlaw

3:56pm — Atty Noche says they came to court to question constitutionality of #RHlaw, not to determine which contraceptive is abortifacient.

4:07pm — Atty Noche says this is not about choices. She clarifies that it is about protecting the life of the unborn. #RHLaw

4:13pm — J. Velasco explores possibility that other parts of #RHLaw are valid. Atty Noche agrees.

4:29pm — J. De Castro agrees that life can’t begin from implantation. If you implant something that is not living, it won’t grow, develop. #RHlaw

4:43pm — Atty Noche objects to the inclusion of contraceptives to the list of essential medicines. #RHlaw

5:02pm — Atty Noche says you don’t put food on the table by giving contraceptives. If you don’t address root of poverty, it will persist. #RHLaw

5:17pm — CJ Sereno asks if she is committing an impeachable offense by advising a clerk to use contraceptives. Noche hesitantly says yes. #RHlaw

5:29pm — CJ Sereno says the Court won’t answer a theological or metaphysical questionnaire. #RHLaw

6:14pm — J Carpio tells Atty Noche that there’s no controversy here. You agree to the intent of the law.

6:15pm — But Atty Noche maintains that some provisions of #RHlaw are contradictory to the declaration of policy.

6:45pm — J. Perez says the fact that the law allows birth control makes it a government policy to stop fertilization. #RHLaw

6:59pm — CJ Sereno says oral arguments will continue on July 23, 2pm to hear 2 counsels arguing against #RHLaw.