The passing of the Reproductive Health Law is one of the hallmark victories for women in this country. It gives them the power to choose what they deem best to take care of their bodies. However, legal and policy barriers prevents the government from implementing the law.
Until now, the Supreme Court still continues to sit on their decision on the lifting of the temporary restraining order (TRO) slapped on the full implementation of the RH Law — a piece of legislation that can save the country from experiencing population explosion and save lives.
Currently, the Philippines is already facing a staggering 1 million annual birth rate. Another 900,000 will be added to that number if the TRO is not lifted soon.
If not lifted, the daily maternal mortality rate of 14 deaths a day from childbirth or pregnancy is expected to rise stratospherically. The number of unwanted pregnancies is also projected to increase by 40 percent.
The TRO, which was issued in August 2016 cancelled the certificates of product registration of at least 77 contraceptive drugs and devices. Unless lifted, all contraceptive products in the market would be removed in the next two years.
The reasons on why the TRO should be lifted is more than compelling — it is live saving. Then, why is the SC delaying their decision? Is it because it is the Catholic church that opposes it?
Recently, President Rodrigo Duterte, knowing the barrier faced by the law, signed an Executive Order which aims to “intensify and accelerate the implementation of critical actions necessary to attain and sustain ‘zero unmet need for modern family planning’ for all poor households by 2018, and all of Filipinos.”
This should be reason enough for the SC to lift their TRO. The SC is here to dispense justice fairly and swiftly to benefit the majority of our people. They should be fulfilling that mandate.