A. Access to a full range of contraceptives
1. Any health care service provider, whether public or private, who shall:a. Refuse to provide reproductive health care services to duly DSWD-certified abused pregnant minor on whose case no parental consent is necessary.b. Refuse to perform voluntary ligation and vasectomy and other legal and medically- safe reproductive health care services on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of spousal consent or authorization.c. Knowingly withhold information or impede dissemination thereof and/or intentionally provide incorrect information on reproductive health programs and services.d. Refuse to extend reproductive health care services and information on account of patient’s civil status, gender or sexual orientation, age, religion, personal circumstances, and nature of work: Provided, That all conscientious objections of health care service providers based on religious grounds shall be respected: Provided, further, That the conscientious objector shall immediately refer the person seeking such care and services to another health care service provided within the same facility or one which isconveniently accessible.
The penal provisions bring to the fore various constitutional concerns.
Firstly, the bill makes a mockery of the “natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character” by granting to abused or pregnant minors the right to avail of “reproductive health care services” which by definition, include sterilization and ligation and a full range of techniques, services, devices, and contraceptives, without need of parental consent.
Secondly, the bill undermines the “sanctity of family life” and violates the constitutionalmandate for the State to “protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous socialinstitution” by allowing the spouse to undergo “voluntary ligation and vasectomy and otherlegal and medically-safe reproductive health care services” without the consent or authorizationof the other spouse.
Thirdly, the bill defies the “free exercise of religion” clause of the Constitution. It hasbeen said that the religion clause of the Constitution is designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience, to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs, to profess his beliefs, and to live as he believes he ought to live, consistent with the liberty of others andwith the common good. It is only the existence of a grave and present danger of a character both grave and imminent, of a serious evil to public safety, public morals, public health or anyother legitimate public interest compelling enough for the State to intervene that will justifyrestraint on religious freedom. The challenge of the moment is to determine and identify that‘compelling state interest’, if any, that will justify infringement of the religious freedom.
C. Huge budget appropriations