RH authors say new law will stand 'attacks' in SC

Authors of the recently signed Reproductive Health (RH) law on Thursday expressed confidence that the new legislation can stand petitions filed before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to block its implementation. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, primary author of the law at the House of Representatives, described as "flawed and fallacious" claims that the RH law violates the Constitutional provision on the protection of the mother and the life of the unborn. "The RH law has not defiled any constitutional principles on proscription of abortion, protection of the unborn, religious freedom, family life, marriage and responsible parenthood," Lagman said in a statement Wednesday. He added that provisions of the 1987 Constitution are "included virtually verbatim" in the RH Law's declaration of principles. Lagman likewise said that the new law, which provides Filipinos access to natural and artificial forms of contraception, is "completely constitutional and will surmount any attack or test on its constitutionality." On Tuesday, lawyer James Imbong and his wife, Lovely-Ann, filed the first petition against the RH Law before the high court, more than two weeks after President Benigno Aquino III signed the controversial legislation. In a petition for certiorari and prohibition with a prayer for a writ of injunction, the couple claimed the RH law is unconstitutional because it "mocks the nation's Filipino culture—noble and lofty in its value and holdings on life, motherhood and family." 'Amusing' Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, another author of the RH law, meanwhile said he believes the Imbong couple's petition "is not going to fly" because the arguments are already "passe." "What's so un-Filipino about tasking the government to help the poor with the means to plan their families?" Baguilat said in a text message. Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, another RH law supporter, for his part said the claim that the legislation mocks the Filipino is "amusing, but legally a non-starter." "They [the petitioners] would have validity in an ecclesiastical court. That's where the petitioners should go instead of the SC," the party-list congressman said in a separate text message. — BM, GMA News