10 April 2014

UN Statement on the RH Law Ruling

UN Philippines
Leaders of various public and private institutions in the country expressed relief that the Reproductive Health law was upheld by the Supreme Court over a year since its passage. Majority are in agreement that the eight provisions struck down as unconstitutional would not hinder its objectives. They also praise the administration of President Benigno Aquino III for pushing what was tagged one of its most enduring legacies.

However, the thrill of the law's constitutional passage was not confined to majority of Filipinos only. The commitment of the government to attend fully to the needs for maternal care of millions of mothers was also recognized by the United Nations Philippines.

Below is the official statement released by Arlene Calaguian Alano, Communication Officer of the United Nations Population Fund:

08 April 2014

The United Nations in the Philippines welcomes today’s ruling of the Supreme Court of the Philippines which upheld Republic Act 10354, or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. Together with the Filipino people, the United Nations celebrates this landmark ruling which recognizes the basic human right of Filipinos to reproductive health.

This year marks the 20-year anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which placed people’s rights and dignity at the heart of development. It also affirmed sexual and reproductive health as a fundamental human right and emphasized that empowering women and girls is key to ensuring the well-being of individuals, families, nations and our world.

The ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report, a culmination of the review of the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, shows that while significant progress has been made worldwide on maternal health and gender equality, these successes are not reaching everyone equally. This is also the case in the Philippines, where especially the poor and marginalized women and girls have been left without universal access to reproductive health. Consequently, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) has remained consistently high since 1993, and it is unlikely that the MMR target of 52 deaths per 100,000 live births will be reached by the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline.

The Supreme Court ruling hence comes at a crucial time. The full and speedy implementation of the law will be critically important in reducing maternal mortality and ensuring universal access to reproductive health care and also sets the country on the right track for the post-2015 development agenda. The UN expresses its support to the Government of the Philippines as it now moves forward and leads the full implementation of the law.