Catholic lay group files 12th petition against RH law

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MANILA, June 4, 2013—The Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL) a Philippine-based Catholic charismatic lay community that emphasizes family life renewal and evangelization yesterday filed at the Supreme Court its own petition calling for the voiding of the RH law on constitutional grounds. supreme-court

CFC-FFL claimed that the law amounts to a class legislation against the poor violative of the Constitution’s equal protection clause. The petitioner contends that the law’s discriminatory tendency arises from two unsubstantiated premises: (1) there is over-population, and (2) the poor are to be blamed for it, which is why the law unduly targets the poor for population control.

The group also assailed the following provisions of the law for violating fundamental rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights: (a) Section 23 (a)(1), to the extent that it forces health care service providers to promote and speak favorably about artificial contraception even when their religion considers the use of such contraception as sinful, or when his conscience bids him to do otherwise for any non-religious reason, in violation of their religious and free speech rights; (b) Section 23 (a)(2)(i), insofar as it confers upon the wife the sole authority to decide whether or not to undergo ligation or use artificial contraceptives even over the objection of her husband, contrary to their (i) religious belief (if the spouses are Catholic) that the husband is the head of the wife as taught in Ephesians 5:21-23 of the Bible, (ii) privacy rights as husband and wife whose autonomy on such private matters as marital relationship and family is recognized and protected by the State, (iii) joint constitutional right “to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions.”; (c) Section 23(a)(3), insofar as it compels a conscientious objector to participate in and become a party to an act forbidden by his faith by referring an individual who has asked for artificial contraception to a health care service provider who may be willing to oblige, in disregard of his religious freedom; and (d) Section 14, as it discriminates against the poor by making sex education mandatory only in public schools in violation of the equal protection clause and the primary right of parents to raise their children according to their religious beliefs and to be responsible for their moral development pursuant to Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution.

CFC-FFL further said that the RH law impairs the constitutional provision granting fiscal and administrative autonomy to local government units (LGUs) by forcing the LGUs to allocate a portion of their local funds for the implementation of the law even if reproductive health is not their priority, and by compelling them to hire employees who will discharge reproductive health services.

The voiding of the foregoing provisions of the RH law would render the law ineffectual to the point that it no longer expresses the legislative will, for which reason it must be declared invalid, the group pointed out.

Xavier Sotto Padilla of CFC-FFL also assailed the law’s over-arching goal of promoting and distributing contraceptives to a population that are 80% Catholics, in disregard of their religious belief that man must multiply and be fertile.

Padilla further argued that what will be left of the law after deleting the invalid provisions are nothing more than mere ‘empty aspirations’ adding that, “the entire law must be voided.” (Angelique Guevarra)

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