Miriam urges pro-RH groups to file appeal

Posted at 04/10/2014 1:03 PM

MANILA - Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is urging pro-Reproductive Health (RH) Law groups to appeal the Supreme Court's decision upholding the law but striking down eight provisions.

Santiago, author and co-sponsor of the law, said the RH Law enjoys presumption of constitutionality.

She said this dictates that doubt should be resolved in favor of the law, and that the high court should reconcile the law with the Constitution.

"I humbly believe that after due consideration, the Supreme Court will find that the presumption of constitutionality in favor of the law, and of good faith in favor of Congress, will be sufficient to convince the Court that all eight provisions are not unconstitutional," she said.

Santiago also said that under the law, the burden of proof lies on the party who alleges unconstitutionality.

The petitioners, according to her, had failed to discharge the burden of proof as regards the struck-down provisions.

"In the eight provisions, the petitioners failed to discharge the burden of proof. It is not entirely clear what quantum of proof was applied by the court to overcome the presumption of constitutionality."

"I support with full enthusiasm the move to file motions for reconsideration. I am fairly confident that a more exhaustive study of the principles of constitutional law will support a reconsideration of all eight provisions," Santiago said.

The provisions struck down by the SC include the one compelling private health facilities, non-maternity specialty hospitals, and hospitals owned and managed by religious groups to refer reproductive health patients not in an emergency or life-threatening case to other facilities.

Also included are the ones allowing minors who have suffered miscarriage to have access to family planning without parental consent, as well as punishing a health care provider who refuses/fails to disseminate information on reproductive health programs or refer a patient to another health care service provider.

The high court also decided that a married individual cannot undergo reproductive health procedures without spousal consent unless in emergency or life-threatening situations.