Our Continuing struggle: #UpholdRHLaw.

5 07 2013

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines has been in solidarity with women’s groups and civil society groups towards the enactment of the Reproductive Health Law; that is, for advancement of informed choice, for women empowerment, for proactive reproductive healthcare, and for age-appropriate sex education. As the RH Law is now facing its final battle within the halls of the Supreme Court and oral arguments are now set to be prepared, the Alliance reaffirms its support for the Reproductive Health Law.

As stated in its declaration of policy, the act shall recognize and guarantee the right to sustainable development, to health – including reproductive health, and to education and information. In this context, it is clear that the RH Law adheres to the spirit of our constitution – protection and promotion of the principles of social justice and human rights.

To declare the RH law as unconstitutional is to deny the Filipino people the rights and privileges they have fervently fought for. Such denial is an insult to the number of civil society groups who, for the past decade, has fought for the act to be passed as a law in the halls of Congress; not to mention the countless women and mothers who have long been awaiting an enabling law to uphold their reproductive rights and promote social justice.

While it is true that it is within the powers of the Supreme Court to exercises judicial review, the Honorable Justices must also remember that there is a presumption of constitutionality in the passage of every law. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the Executive, certified that the RH Law is compatible with the state policy to “protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them” (Art. II, Sec. 15. 1987 Constitution) and as furtherance to the human rights of every Filipino citizen.

The RH Law must immediately be implemented. We cannot continue to disregard the rising incidences of HIV-related cases in young people and unwanted teenage pregnancies. We cannot continue to let our mothers die due to supposed to be preventable circumstances. The delay in the implementation of the law puts our country’s women and youth in compromising conditions.  How long should we wait for these problems to be addressed? Not a second longer.

The Alliance, therefore, calls upon the Supreme Court to fulfill its mandante to decide on the constitutionality of the RH Law by rules and reason. We stand with millions of filipinos who are thirsting for progressive change. The RH law is a result of painstaking debates and struggles in Congress for 15 years. We will not stop now. We are ready to defend RH law and we will not let our banners down until the RH Law has been implemented.

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