The Philippine president’s executive order that the government begin distributing free contraceptives to the poor by 2018 may face delays because of a pending case before the country’s Supreme Court.
In June 2015, the court placed a temporary restraining order on the contraceptives provision of a 2012 reproductive health law after a challenge called for certain implant contraceptives to be studied as potentially abortion-inducing. Those were taken off the government offerings. By August 2016, the list of contraceptives that had to be checked for possibly causing abortions was expanded.
Fr Melvin Castro, chancellor of the Tarlac Diocese, called President Rodrigo Duterte’s executive order “premature.”
Fr Castro, an outspoken critic of the law when it was still being vetted in Congress, told Catholic News Service, “I think some of our pro-life lawyers will question the executive order in the Supreme Court, precisely because there’s still a pending case in the Supreme Court.”
On 11th January, Duterte’s socio-economic secretary said that the Philippines had to cut the poverty level to 14 or 13 per cent from its current 21.6 per cent by the end of Duterte’s term in 2022, and the executive order would “ensure zero unmet need for family planning” in the country whose 100 million people are more than 80 per cent Catholic.
Picture: A mother holds her daughter in 2014 on a footbridge in Manila, Philippines. The Philippine president’s executive order that the government begin distributing free contraceptives to the poor by 2018 may face delays because of a pending case before the country’s Supreme Court. (CNS photo/Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA).