BANGKOK (TrustLaw) - Advocates of the Reproductive Health (RH) bill branded the actions of seven barangays (villages or wards) in Philippines which passed ordinances banning the use of artificial contraceptives as “unconstitutional”, the Philippine Star reported.
The activists submitted papers to local government units questioning the ordinances and plan to file complaints before the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Commission on Human Rights against the barangay officials who passed them, the Star said.
Former University of the Philippines College of Law dean Pacifico Agabin was quoted as saying, "The right to contraception is a protected Constitutional Right.”
He added, "The government shouldn't be allowed to trample upon it.”
According to the paper, the ordinances penalise the sale, promotion, advertisement, and prescription of modern contraceptives; prohibit barangay funds to be used for purchase or provision of such contraceptives and penalise the provision of sex education to minor students if done without the prior consultation and written authorization of parents.
The ordinances promote only the natural family planning method.
The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country – around 80 percent of the people are Catholic – and emotions usually run high over issues relating to reproductive health, with the Catholic Church vehemently opposing access to and information about contraception methods.
The controversial RH bill, which is supported by Philippines president Benigno Aquino III, is supposed to give women more control on family planning matters.
The report said the villages in question are Cupang Proper, Cupang West, Puerto Rivas Ibaba, Puerto Rivas Itaas, Puerto Rivas Lote, Tortugas and Tanato.
(Editing by Lisa Anderson)