Reproductive Health Bill Stalled In Philippines Supreme Court

“Health workers are awaiting the outcome of a Supreme Court hearing, which will decide if the Philippines can finally implement comprehensive reproductive health services,” The Lancet reports. The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RHA) was signed by President Bebigno Aquino last December, the journal notes. “[T]he passage of the RHA, which orders local government units to implement standardized reproductive health care services, drew several petitions from Filipino Catholic groups,” the Lancet continues, adding, “Their opposition has led to the Supreme Court’s issue of a status quo ante order that temporarily halts the government from implementing the act. The Court will hear arguments on June 18.” The journal writes, “The delay in implementation of the RHA worries medical professionals who argue that the three pillars of maternal health (access to contraception, provision of skilled attendance at birth, and high quality emergency obstetric care) needed to support a drop of pregnancy-related deaths cannot be established without it,” adding, “Regarding the Philippine Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily halt the implementation, pro-RHA campaigners believe that the court will eventually vote for full implementation” (Chiu, 5/18).