Instead of the country moving forward in promoting women’s health, it has taken a backward step with the Supreme Court’s (SC) issuance of the temporary restraining order (TRO) that stopped the Department of Health (DOH) from distributing contraceptive implants.
On June 17, 2015, the SC, upon the petition of the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines, Inc. (Alfi), issued a TRO barring the DOH from “procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, advertising and promoting the hormonal contraceptive Implanon and Implanon NXT.”
The DOH has already filed an appeal to the SC to lift the TRO. Earlier this week, reproductive health advocates have asked the SC to allow the DOH to procure and distribute the controversial contraceptive implants.
So why should the SC lift its TRO on contraceptives? Here are some reasons:
It violates women’s reproductive health and rights as enshrined in the Magna Carta for Women, the Responsible Parenthood Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law, the Philippine Constitution, and various international human rights instruments which the Philippines is a signatory to.
It will deteriorate the country’s already problematic reproductive health situation. If the TRO is not lifted, the DOH’s supply of contraceptive implants will be used up by 2017. This will mean an increase of unplanned pregnancy, which is already high at 40 percent. There will also be a rise in teenage pregnancy. Maternal deaths and preventable childbirth complications are to be expected as well.
It will not stop intergenerational poverty. Poor parents will continue to be unable to provide for their many children. It goes against the current administration’s ten-point socio-economic program. President Rodrigo Duterte in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) urged the full implementation of the RH law.
The SC has already declared the RPRH Law constitutional. It should now lift its TRO to allow the law’s full implementation.