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SC justice calls contraceptives ‘poison’ that can harm unborn children


By MARK MERUEÑAS, GMA NewsJuly 23, 2013 4:00pm

(Updated 3:30 a.m., 24 July 2013) As the Supreme Court resumed debates on the controversial RH law on Tuesday, opponents of the law seem to have found an ally in Associate Justice Roberto Abad, who described hormonal contraceptives as “poison.”

Abad said manufacturers of contraceptives themselves have admitted their drugs can “prevent the normal function of a  woman’s body.”

There are currently 14 petitions questioning the constitutionality of the Responsible Parenthood and  Reproductive Health Law (RH Law), with six intervenors or those who are not petitioners but wanted to participate in the case. The SC’s 15 magistrates started hearing oral arguments against the law early this month.

The majority of the justices voted last week to delay indefinitely the implementation of the law while it hears opposing arguments. Abad was among those in the majority, but had not been as vocal as other justices until Tuesday’s session.

During the second round of oral arguments on the controversial law on Tuesday, Abad read portions of an information sheet for a contraceptive with a warning about its use once a woman is pregnant.

Abad said this means a child can be harmed, adding that “contraceptives attack healthy ovaries to make them dysfunctional. Court needs only common sense not medical experts to know this.”

“It would appear these government-sponsored contraceptives as admitted by their manufacturers are not altogether safe,” he added, asserting that hormonal contraceptives are “poison.”

Cabral: No science behind that

Former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, who attended the oral arguments, told GMA News Online that Justice Abad simply misinterpreted the information on side effects of contraceptives.

“It is not true that oral contraceptives are harmful to ovaries of women in general. There is no science behind that. Maybe he misinterpreted the data that he read,” said Cabaral, who supports the RH Law.

She added that oral contraceptives only prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries, and that possible side effects of the contraceptives are outweighed by the benefits.

“The approval for drug use is based on whether the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks attending to the drug. And the same is true for oral contraceptives,” Cabral said, adding that anyone without a medical background should not interpret medical issues.

“My comment is in the problem that when you do not have a medical background, you are not competent enough to interpret what you read,” she said.

“Contraceptive mentality”

Meanwhile, an anti-RH Law lawyer claimed that the law will “inundate” the country with contraceptives and promote a “contraceptive mentality” among Filipinos.

Luisito Liban, so far the second lawyer to criticize the law before the SC magistrates during the SC oral arguments, claimed that the law would allow the government to “harness its entire machinery… supposedly to reduce maternal death and probably controlling population growth. But they have ignored more important and pressing problems [the law would bring].”

“It is part of the government’s strategy to indundate, to promote and flood the country with contraceptives and develop a contarceptive mentality among its population,” said Liban.

Liban also emphasized that the law’s provision requiring the teaching of sex education in schools was “discriminatory” and violate a person’s right to equal protection of the law.

Liban had earlier agreed to tackle how the law allegedly violates the right to religion, right to free speech, academic freedom, and “proscription on involuntary servitude.”

“Mandatory sex education will violate parents’ right to rear and educate children for civic duty and for the development of moral character,” Liban said.

He said the mandatory teaching of sex education in public schools would lead to students’ discrimination “because they will have to bear the additional burden of additional topics in school.”

Even in private schools, where sex education would be optional according to the law, parents and their children would be “exposed to possible unequal protection.”

“The law says a private school has the option. So some may adopt it and some may not. People in the same group may be treated differently,” he said.





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