Advocates to Supreme Court: Lift restraining order on RH law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 28) — Reproductive health advocates are asking the Supreme Court to lift its temporary restraining order (TRO) on part of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, and let it come into full effect.

Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act was signed into law in December 2012.

Five years after the RH Law was passed, its full implementation is hampered by a TRO, banning health authorities from promoting and distributing some contraceptive devices and products.

Among these are hormonal contraceptives "Implanon" and "Implanon NXT." Both prevent pregnancy for up to three years.

Congress is set to review the law this year, in its fifth year of implementation. But RH bill author Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, Jr., said, there won't be much to evaluate since the law has not been fully implemented.

Baguilat, as well as former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, are hoping that President Rodrigo Duterte can help persuade the high court to let the entire law take effect.

"I hope that the Executive can put more pressure to the Judiciary to decide once and for all, and to show the facts that despite the passage of the RH Law, maternal mortality has not really decreased and the fertility rate (is still high)," Baguilat said.

In January, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 12 which will intensify the citizens' access to modern family planning services.

Cabral said she remains hopeful that this administration will finally settle all legal impediments.

"It always helps that the chief executive is supportive of the RH Law and that he reiterated that all branches of the executive department must implement it strictly," Cabral said.