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Philippines reproductive health law challenged in Supreme Court

Opponents of the newly signed Reproductive Health legislation [HB 4244, PDF] petitioned the Supreme Court of the Philippines [official website] on Wednesday to stop implementation of the law, which is set to go into effect by mid-January. The petition for injunction was filed [Philippine Star report] by James Imbong, son of the legal counsel for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) [official website], one of the groups opposing the new law. In his petition, Imbong claims that least 11 provisions of the legislation violate the Constitution, including Article II Section 12 [text] which maintains that, "the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution."

The Catholic Church remains an influential institution in the Philippines where 80 percent of the population is Catholic. Last week the Church announced it would challenge the Reproductive Health law, arguing [JURIST report] that it undermines the value of marriage and increases promiscuity. The new law, which had been pending for 13 years, establishes mandatory sex education in schools and government funding for contraceptives and family planning services, and also guarantees all individuals the right to receive reproductive health care information. Philippine President Benigno Aquino [official profile] signed the bill into law on December 21 after both chambers of the parliament approved [JURIST report] it two days earlier.

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