MANILA, April 3, 2014 –Petitioners seeking to declare the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Law unconstitutional filed an ‘Urgent Joint Manifestation’, exposing the alleged pro-abortion leaning of the Department of Health (DOH), headed by Enrique Ona.
Atty. James Imbong, lead counsel of the manifestation, questioned the participation of the DOH in the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR) last January, which aligned “abortion rights” with family planning and reproductive health.
The 8-page manifestation, filed on April 1, read, “In spite of respondent DOH’s denial that REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH and REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS do not include abortion rights, it has given its imprimatur to support an RH Conference alongside institutions that openly advocate ABORTION RIGHTS around the world.”
The manifestation tagged specific institutions, which helped organize the said conference, as pro-abortion. They are as follows:
• International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
• Marie Stopes International
• Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
• Women’s Health & Rights Advocacy Partnership-Southeast Asia
• United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
• Philippine NGO Council on Population Health and Welfare, Inc.
• Ford Foundation
• Pathfinder International
• The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Atty. Imbong also called attention to the fact that the DOH pointedly ignored the standing Status Quo Ante Order of the Supreme Court on the implementation of the RH Law by partnering “with these international institutions to hold a youth conference that openly distributed brochures and materials on REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH.”
He expressed alarm over the participation of “the movers of these events that involve persons who are also respondents and the events involve issues directly discussed in the petitions.”
According to Imbong, the manifestation was filed to inform the justices of the Supreme Court about these “supervening events” as the body moves towards a final ruling on Republic Act No. 10354 on April 8.
Imbong said, “We expect the Supreme Court justices to read it while they are deliberating on the petitions and to take note of the information contained in the manifestation.”
Also, materials from the APCRSHR conference that aimed to teach young people the health benefits of ‘enjoyable sex’ were included in the manifestation as attachments.
Other respondents in the petition are the Office of the President, Congressman Paquito Ochoa, Jr, et al. (Paul De Guzman)