HomeInternational Journal on Social Innovation & Researchvol. 7 no. 1 (2016)

From Bioethical Defnitions to the Setting of Public Policy by the Court of Law in the Philippines

Marlon Patrick P. Lofredo



Population control, abortion and contraception are the most divisive bioethical topics in the Philippines. For years, the Philippine Congress has been embroiled in heated debates and political squabbles between conservative and liberals, hardline constitutionalists and postmodernists. Te enactment of the Responsible Parenthood and
Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH Law) aggravated the already tense and polarized social, religious and political atmosphere in the country and led to the submission of petitions to the Philippine Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional. Led by religious groups, the cases revolved around the constitutional provision in respect to freedom of religion and the sanctity of human life from the time of conception. Te Supreme Court eventually decided to partially grant the petitions on March 19, 2013 and declared Republic Act. No. 10354 as not unconstitutional except with respect to some provisions which are declared unconstitutional, like those related to freedom of religion, consent, freedom of conscience, and contraceptives as primary medicines. But the most striking part of the decision is the definition of the beginning of life, which has now become the basis of all public policies related to the use of contraceptives, abortion, population control, and possibly, even future policies related to stem cell research and therapy, genetic engineering, therapeutic cloning, etc. For bioethics in the Philippines, this is a defining decision, putting a final seal on the debate on the beginning of life and personhood of the individual. This paper discusses the implications of the decision in Philippine bioethics as well as public policies related to current bioethical issues in the country.