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KEY TAKE-AWAY: The Reproductive Health Law is a consolidation and enhancement of
existing reproductive laws. It seeks to enhance the population control program of the government
in order to promote public welfare. However, when coercive measures are found within the law,
provisions must be removed or altered in order to ensure that it does not defy the Constitution by
infringing on the rights of the people.
Petition: to declare provisions of Republic Act No. 10354 as unconstitutional
Factual Antecedents
December 21, 2012: Congress enacted RA No. 10354 also known as the Responsible
Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH LAW)
The presidents imprimatur and support for the said law lead to a range of petitions
against the law leading to iuris controversy in court. Petitions for certiorari and
prohibition were placed by numerous parties. All in all, 14 petitions and 2 petitionsin-intervention were filed.
March 15, 2013: the RH-IRR or enforcement of the law took place
March 19, 2013: After deliberating the issues and arguments raised, the court issued
Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) which lead to a 120 day halt on the implementation
of the legislation
Due to further arguments and debates from opposing parties, the SQAO was extended
until further orders of the court last July 16, 2013
Statute Involved:
Republic Act 10354, The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of
Position of Petitioner:
o Petitioners claim that the provisions of RA 10354 are unconstitutional as they
violate the rights to life, to health, to freedom of expression and speech, to the
privacy of families, to academic freedom, to due process of law, to equal
protection, and against involuntary servitude. They also intrude on the autonomy
of local governments and the ARMM, and violate natural law. Furthermore, they
claim that Congress delegation of authority to the FDA in determining which
should be included in the EDL is invalid.
Position of Respondent
There is no actual case or controversy and, therefore, the issues are not yet ripe
for judicial determination
Some petitioners lack standing to question the RH Law

The petitions are essentially petitions for declaratory relief over which the Court
has no original jurisdiction.
o Whether or not the Court may exercise its power of judicial review
o Whether or not there is an actual case or controversy
o Whether the Court may apply facial challenge
o Whether or not the petitions are praying for declaratory relief
o Whether the petitions violate the One Subject/One Title Rule
o Whether or not the RH Law is unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates
Right to Life
Right to Health
Freedom of Religion and the Right to Free Speech
The Family
Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom
Due Process
Equal Protection
Involuntary Servitude
Autonomy of Local Governments/ARMM
Natural Law
o Whether or not Congress delegation of authority to the FDA in determining
which should be included in the EDL is valid
o Whether or not the court may exercise its power of judicial review - YES
While the Court may not pass upon questions of wisdom, justice or
expediency of the RH Law, it may do so where an attendant
unconstitutionality or grave abuse of discretion results. The following
requisites for judicial review were met: (a) there must be an actual case or
controversy; (b) the petitioners must possess locus standi; ( c) the question of
constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and ( d) the issue of
constitutionality must be the lis mota of the case
o Whether or not there is an actual case or controversy YES
Considering that the RH Law and its implementing rules have already taken
effect and that budgetary measures to carry out the law have already been
passed, it is evident that the subject petitions present a justiciable controversy.
As stated earlier, when an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged

to have infringed the Constitution, it not only becomes a right, but also a duty
of the Judiciary to settle the dispute.
Moreover, the petitioners have shown that the case is so because medical
practitioners or medical providers are in danger of being criminally prosecuted
under the RH Law for vague violations thereof, particularly public health
officers who are threatened to be dismissed from the service with
forfeiture of retirement and other benefits.
o Whether the Court may apply facial challenge YES
The scope of application of facial challenges extends to the regulation of free
speech, but also those involving religious freedom, and other fundamental
Consequently, considering that the foregoing petitions have seriously alleged
that the constitutional human rights to life, speech and religion and other
fundamental rights mentioned above have been violated by the assailed
legislation, the Court has authority to take cognizance of these kindred
petitions and to determine if the RH Law can indeed pass constitutional
o Whether or not Locus Standi applies YES
Regardless of whether the petitioners are directly injured of affected by the
RH Law or not, the Court leans on the doctrine that "the rule on standing is a
matter of procedure, hence, can be relaxed for non-traditional plaintiffs like
ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and legislators when the public interest so
requires, such as when the matter is of transcendental importance, of
overreaching significance to society, or of paramount public interest." The
RH Law falls under transcendental importance as it drastically affects the
constitutional provisions on the right to life and health, the freedom of religion
and expression and other constitutional rights.
o Whether or not the petitions are praying for declaratory relief - YES
Most of the petitions are praying for injunctive reliefs, not declaratory reliefs,
and so the Court would just consider them as petitions for prohibition under
Rule 65, over which it has original jurisdiction. Where the case has farreaching implications and prays for injunctive reliefs, the Court may consider
them as petitions for prohibition under Rule 65.
o Whether the petitions violate the One Subject/One Title Rule NO
In a textual analysis of the various provisions of the law, both "reproductive
health" and "responsible parenthood" are interrelated and germane to the
overriding objective to control the population growth. Thus, the Court finds
no reason to believe that Congress had the intention to deceive the public
regarding the contents of the said law.

o Whether or not the RH Law is unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates

Right to Life NO
Constitution intended that 1.) conception to refer to the time of
fertilization and 2.) the protection of the unborn upon said fertilization
Not all contraceptives are to be banned (only those that kill a fertilized
Contraceptives that prevent union of sperm and egg are thus permissible
It is the intended by the framers of the 1987 Constitution to prevent the
enacting of a law that legalizes abortion.
RH law prohibits abortion
RH law recognizes that abortion is a crime
RH law prohibits abortifacients
Right to Health - NO
With the provisions of RA 4729 still in place, the status quo on the sale of
contraceptives is maintained and the Court believes that there are adequate
measures that ensure that the public has access to contraceptives that have
been determined safe following testing, evaluation, and approval by the
Freedom of Religion and the Right to Free Speech NO and YES
RH law does not violate guarantee of religious freedom via the statesponsored procurement of contraceptives, which contravene the religious
beliefs of the people including the petitioners. This is because in doing so,
the state would be adhering to one religions, making a de facto state
religion which is contrary to religious freedom.
The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable
There limits to the exercise of religious freedom (compelling state interest
Benevolent neutrality
RH law does not violate the guarantee of religious freedom by requiring
would-be spouses, as a condition for the issuance of a marriage license, to
attend a seminar on parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding and infant
nutrition (sec.7, 23, 24)
However, RH Law violates the guarantee of religious freedom by
compelling medical health practitioners, hospitals, and health care
providers, under pain of penalty, to refer patients to other institutions
despite their conscientious objections
The Family - YES
Section 23(a)(2)(i) of the RH Law, which needs only the consent of the
spouse undergoing the provision in order to undergo reproductive
procedures intrudes into martial privacy and autonomy and goes against

the constitutional safeguards for the family as the basic social

institution. Not only that, but the exclusion of parental consent in cases
where a minor undergoing a procedure is already a parent or has had a
miscarriage (Section 7 of the RH Law) is also anti-family and violates
Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution, which declares that the rearing
of children by parents is a natural right.
Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom UNDECIDED
The court decided that making a ruling on Section 14 of the RH Law,
which mandates the State to provide Age-and Development-Appropriate
Reproductive Health Education, is premature. The Department of
Education has not yet created a curriculum on age-appropriate
reproductive health education, thus the constitutionality of the specifics in
such a curriculum still cannot be determined. The exclusion of private
educational institutions from the mandatory RH education program under
Section 14 is valid. There is a need to recognize the academic freedom of
private educational institutions especially with respect to religious
instruction and to consider their sensitivity towards the teaching of
reproductive health education.
Due Process - NO
The definitions of several terms pinpointed by the petitioners in the RH
Law are not vague.
Private health care institution = private health care service provider.
service and methods are also broad enough to include giving
information and performing medical procedures, so hospitals run by
religious groups can be exempted.
incorrect information connotes a sense of malice and ill motive to
mislead the public.
Equal Protection - NO
It is pursuant to Section 11, Article XIII of the Constitution, which states
that the State shall prioritize the needs of the underprivileged, sick elderly,
disabled, women, and children and that it shall endeavor to provide
medical care to paupers.
Involuntary Servitude - NO
The State has the power to regulate the practice of medicine in order to
ensure the welfare of the public. Not only that, but Section 17 only
encourages private and non-government RH service providers to give pro
bono service; they do not incur penalties if they refuse. Conscientious
objects are exempt if their religious beliefs do not allow them to provide
the said services.
Autonomy of Local Governments/ARMM NO

The RH Law does not infringe upon the autonomy of local governments.
Under paragraph (c) of Section 17, unless a local government unit (LGU)
is particularly designated as the implementing agency, it has no power
over a program for which funding has been provided by the national
government under the annual General Appropriations Act, even if the
program involves the delivery of basic services within the jurisdiction of
the LGUs. Not only that, but LGUs are merely encouraged and not
compelled to provide RH services. Provision of these services are not
mandatory. Lastly, Article III, Sections 6, 10, and 11 of RA 9054 deor the
Organic Act of the ARMM merely outlines the powers that may be
exercised by the regional government and does not indicate the States
abdication to create laws in the name of public welfare.
Natural Law disregarded
Natural law, according to the Court, is not recognized as proper legal basis
for making decisions
o Whether or not Congress delegation of authority to the FDA in determining
which should be included in the EDL is valid- YES
Under RA 3720, the FDA, being the primary and sole premiere and only
agency that ensures the safety of food and medicines available to the public,
has the power and competency to evaluate, register and cover health services
and methods
Final Ruling
o Petitions partially granted. The RA 10354 is declared constitutional, and Status
Quo Ante Order lifted with respect to provisions of RA 10354 that have been
declared as constitutional. However, the following provisions and their
corresponding provisions in the RH-IRR have been declared unconstitutional:
Section 7 and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they:
a) require private health facilities and non-maternity specialty hospitals and
hospitals owned and operated by a religious group to refer patients, not in an
emergency or life-threatening case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344,
to another health facility which is conveniently accessible; and b) allow
minor-parents or minors who have suffered a miscarriage access to modem
methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or
Section 23(a)(l) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR,
particularly Section 5 .24 thereof, insofar as they punish any healthcare
service provider who fails and or refuses to disseminate information regarding
programs and services on reproductive health regardless of his or her religious

Section 23(a)(2)(i) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar

as they allow a married individual, not in an emergency or life-threatening
case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344, to undergo reproductive health
procedures without the consent of the spouse;
Section 23(a)(2)(ii) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR
insofar as they limit the requirement of parental consent only to elective
surgical procedures.
Section 23(a)(3) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR,
particularly Section 5.24 thereof, insofar as they punish any healthcare service
provider who fails and/or refuses to refer a patient not in an emergency or lifethreatening case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344, to another health
care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently
accessible regardless of his or her religious beliefs;
Section 23(b) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly
Section 5 .24 thereof, insofar as they punish any public officer who refuses to
support reproductive health programs or shall do any act that hinders the full
implementation of a reproductive health program, regardless of his or her
religious beliefs;
Section 17 and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR regarding the
rendering of pro bona reproductive health service in so far as they affect the
conscientious objector in securing PhilHealth accreditation;
Section 3.0l(a) and Section 3.01 G) of the RH-IRR, which added the
qualifier "primarily" in defining abortifacients and contraceptives, as they are
ultra vires and, therefore, null and void for contravening Section 4(a) of the
RH Law and violating Section 12, Article II of the Constitution.

Dissenting Opinion
Leonen, J.
I. Preliminary Considerations
None of the petitions properly present an actual case or controversy which deserves the
exercise of judicial review. The consolidated petitions do not provide the proper venue to
decide on fundamental issues. The law in question is needed social legislation.
An actual case or controversy is one which involves a conflict of legal rights, an
assertion of opposite legal claims susceptible of judicial resolution; the case must not be
moot or academic or based on extra-legal or other similar considerations not cognizable
by a court of justice.

No locus standi. Petitioners, by no stretch of the imagination, cannot be representative of

the interests of the entire Filipino nation. Not all Filipinos are Roman Catholics. Not all
Filipinos are from the Visayas. Certainly not all Filipinos have a common interest that
will lead to a common point of view on the constitutionality of the various provisions of
the RH law.

II. Substantive Discussions

The court cannot make a declaration on the beginning of life. Any declaration on this
issue will be fraught with contradictions. Even the Constitutional Commissioners were
not in full agreement; hence, the use of the word conception rather than fertilized
ovum in Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution. There were glaring factual
inaccuracies peddled during their discussion.
The Constitutional Commission deliberations show that it is not true that the issue of
when life begins is already a settled matter. There are several other opinions on this issue.
The Constitutional Commissioners adopted the term conception rather than fertilized
Insisting that we can impose, modify or alter rules of the Food and Drug Administration
is usurpation of the executive power of control over administrative agencies. It is a
violation of the principle of separation of powers, which recognizes that [e]ach
department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction,
and is supreme within its own sphere. The system of checks and balances only allows us
to declare, in the exercise of our judicial powers, the Food and Drugs Administrations
acts as violative of the law or as committed with grave abuse of discretion. Such power
is further limited by the requirement of actual case or controversy.
The petitions have failed to present clear cases when the provisions for conscientious
objection would truly amount to a violation of religion. They have not distinguished the
relationship of conscience and specific religious dogma. They have not established
religious canon that conflict with the general provision of Sections 7, 17 and 23 of the
law. The comments in intervention in fact raise serious questions regarding what could be
acceptable Catholic doctrine on some issues of contraception and sex as only for

Separate Concurring Opinion

Carpio, J.

Preliminary Considerations
The court is not competent to declare when human life begins. The issue with regards to
this must be settled within the scientific and medical community.


Substantive Discussions
RA No. 10354 protects the ovum upon its fertilization (without actually saying that life
begins here). The issue then, of whether life begins during fertilization or when the ovum
plants itself on the uterus wall, is covered as this protects at both stages.
Although the law does not provide a definition of conception, it has provisions that
embody the policy of the state to protect the travel of the fertilized ovum to the uterus
wall. The law states that it will provide means which do not prevent implantation of a
fertilized ovum as determined by the Food and Drug Administration.

Separate Concurring Opinion

Brion, J.
I. Preliminary Considerations
The petitions are ripe for judicial review. The petitions allege actions by the legislature
and by the executive that lie outside the contemplation of the Constitution. A controversy
exists appropriate for this Court's initial consideration of the presence of grave abuse of
discretion: and consequent adjudication if the legislative and executive actions can be so
II. Substantive Discussions
While the RH Law generally protects and promotes the unborns right to life, its Section
9 and its IRR fail in their fidelity to the Constitution and to the very terms of the RH Law
itself. It fails to adopt the principle of double effect under Section 12, Article II of the
1987 Constitution.
The Court should formulate guidelines on what the government can actually procure and
distribute under the RH law, consistent with its authority under this law and Section 12,
Article II to achieve the full protection the Constitution envisions.
The attack on Section 14s constitutionality is premature because that the lack of an
implementing curriculum by the Department of Education makes it premature to rule on
constitutionality. The court cannot determine yet how parental rights will be affected
since the specifics of what would be taught under the RH education program do not yet
The RH Laws implementation could have political and economic consequences. It could
also produce social consequences by ushering in behaviors and perceptions about sex,
marriage, and family that are vastly different (in a negative way) from the norm.

Section 23(a) (l) of the RH Law is an unconstitutional subsequent punishment of speech.

It has overreached the permissible coverage of regulation on the speech of doctors and
other health professionals. The existing information dissemination program found in the
RH law is sufficient in providing information about available reproductive health services
and programs, and the existing regulatory framework for their practice already
sufficiently protects against such negligence and malpractice. Furthermore, the said
section can create a chilling effect for those in the profession.