Friday, 19 August 2011 13:47
Senator Miriam Defensor- Santiago, in the second part of her co-sponsorship speech on the proposed Reproductive Health Act, said that it is part of the constitutional right to privacy.
“The Supreme Court has recognized a right to privacy, even if there is no specific constitutional provision, because it is implied by several provisions in the Bill of Rights,” Santiago said in her sponsorship of the Senate version of the bill.
Santiago said that the Supreme Court recognized the right to privacy in the 1968 case of Morfe v. Mutuc, 1998 case of Ople v. Torres, and 2006 case of Sabio v. Gordon.
“The right to privacy applies to sex, marriage, and procreation,” she said.
Santiago summarized the rulings in various American cases by saying: “The state cannot restrict the right of married persons to use contraceptives. The state cannot prohibit distribution of contraceptives to unmarried persons. And the state cannot require that contraceptives should be sold only by pharmacists.”
Santiago, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, said that the decisions in American cases will likely be applied by the Philippine Supreme Court.
She said that the right to privacy was first created by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut.
The U.S. Court held that a law was invalid because it restricted the right of married persons to use contraceptives.
In the 1972 case of Eisenstadt v. Baird, the U.S. Court held that another law was invalid because it prohibited the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried persons.
And in the 1977 case of Carey v. Population Services International, the U.S. Court held as invalid a law which allowed only pharmacists to sell non-medical contraceptives to persons over 16 years old, and which prohibited the sale of such items to those under 16 years old.
Turning from constitutional law to international law, Santiago said that the Philippines is obliged to pass an RH bill.
“The Philippines is a party to several treaties requiring our government to pass a reproductive health act. A treaty is like a contract. If we fail to pass the RH bill, we are breaking our contract with other states,” she said.
Santiago said that the Philippines is a party to the following treaties: 1968 Proclamation of Teheran; 1976 International Covenant on Economic, Cultural, and Social Rights; 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); and 1994 Programme of Action of International Conference on Population and Development.
The senator said that under international law, the rule is: “Every treaty in force is binding upon the parties and must be performed by them in good faith.”
Santiago has divided her co-sponsorship speech into three parts: Catholic theology; constitutional and international law; and socioeconomics.
During last Tuesday’s Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting, President Benigno S. Aquino III submitted 14 priority measures that include the RH bill or known as Responsible Parenthood bill. (PNA/PIA9-BST)
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