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EnGendeRights Position Paper Sept 6 Pub

EnGendeRights Position Paper Sept 6 Pub

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Published by: Mulat Pinoy-Kabataan News Network on Sep 09, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Asserting Women’s Rights
1September 1, 2011
EnGendeRights, through the undersigned counsel,
respectfully submits this positionpaper to the Sangguniang Panglunsod of Balanga, Bataan to declare the seven barangayordinances of Balanga, Bataan that prohibit contraceptives unconstitutional Theseordinances are the following:a)
Barangay Cupang Proper Ordinance No.004, Series of 2011;b)
Barangay Cupang West Ordinance No.08, Series of 2011,c)
Barangay Puerto Rivas Ibaba Ordinance No. 09, Series of 2011;d)
Barangay Puerto Rivas Itaas Ordinance No. 01, Series of 2011;e)
Barangay Puerto Rivas Lote Ordinance No. 03-01, Series of 2011;f)
Barangay Tortugas Ordinance No. 03, Series of 2011;g)
Barangay Tanato Ordinance Series of 2011
I. Prefatory Statement
This Position Paper is being submitted to stop the grave violations of women'shuman rights resulting from the enactment of the seven barangay ordinances in Balanga,Bataan.These seven barangay ordinances penalize the sale, promotion, advertisement,and prescription of modern contraceptives including hormonal contraceptives andintrauterine devices (IUDs), prohibit barangay funds to be used for the purchase orprovision of such contraceptives, prohibit barangay officials from soliciting, accepting, ordispensing such contraceptives, penalize business enterprises by declaring void their
EnGendeRights, Inc.
88-A Calumpit St., Veterans Village, Quezon City, 1105, PhilippinesTelefax. no. (+632) 376-2578, engenderights@pldtdsl.net, www.engenderights.org
 Asserting Women’s Rights
2barangay permits for violating the provisions of the ordinances, penalize the conduct of sex education to minor students if this is done without prior consultation and writtenpermission of the parents, and solely promotes the so-called natural family planningmethod (NFP) in the seven Balanga barangays.The provisions of the seven barangays in Balanga, Bataan can be struck down bythe Sangguniang Panglunsod for being ultra vires, prejudicial to public welfare,unconstitutional, inconsistent with existing laws such as the Local Government Code of 1991, Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710), Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Actof 1998 (RA 8504), and for violating international laws.The ordinances prohibit rights that are constitutionally guaranteed. Theordinances infringe on the rights to reproductive health, equal protection of the law andprivacy by unduly restricting access to legal, safe, and effective methods of contraception. These ordinances contribute to the unintended pregnancies and maternaldeaths related to pregnancy, childbirth, and unsafe abortion which could be averted withincreased access to modern contraceptives.The ordinances passed by the seven barangays erroneously define contraceptivesas abortifacients. This definition is not based on medical science but on the barangayofficials’ conservative religious beliefs. The constitutional guarantees on separation of church and state and non-establishment of religion prohibit using conservative religiousbeliefs as basis for crafting our laws. Public officials must enact laws that ensurewomen’s right to life and health and public health and not those that aid religion. Asdecided by our Supreme Court, our standard in law should be secular standard and notreligious standards. All these constitutional guarantees are there to maintain public goodand uphold human rights.Our laws should take into consideration international human rights standards,realities women face, public health, and medical science. Public officials should work towards a humane society where no woman should die from pregnancy, childbirth, andunsafe abortion. Good governance demands ensuring the right to control one’s fertilitywith proper access to information, supplies, and services on reproductive health includingmodern contraceptives and sexuality education.In light of the obligation of the Philippine government to protect women’s rightsto equality, non-discrimination, life, and health under the Convention on the Eliminationof All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Magna Carta of Women, it is imperative that the Sangguniang Panglunsod strike down theseunconstitutional ordinances.
II. Nature of the Action
This Position Paper is being submitted under Section 57 of the Local GovernmentCode granting powers to the Sangguniang Panglunsod to review said ordinances anddeclare the same unconstitutional.
 Asserting Women’s Rights
III. Petitioner
is a legal non-governmental organization advancingwomen's rights through domestic and international legal and policy advocacy, research,publication, training, and impact litigation in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia withaddress at 88-A Calumpit St., Veterans Village, Quezon City. It may be served with allnotices and correspondence through its executive director, Atty. Clara Rita Padilla, whosename and address appears below.
IV. Arguments/DiscussionA. Access to Contraceptives is a Fundamental RightA.1. Errors in the
Definitions under the Ordinances versus theStandard Definitions Based on International Medical, Scientific andHuman Rights StandardsA.1.a. ChildA.1.b. Fertilization, Conception, and PregnancyA.1.c. Contraceptives and Hysterectomy Are Not Methods of AbortionA.1.d. Legal Personality Attaches upon BirthA.2. Contraceptives Are Not AbortifacientA.2.a. Jurisprudence on Contraceptives Not BeingAbortifacientA.2.b. Emergency Contraceptive Pills Are Not AbortifacientA.2.b.1. Global Acceptance of Emergency Contraceptive PillsA.2.c. Findings on IUDsA.3. Public Health Relevance; Health Burden on Women in thePhilippines; Millenium Development GoalsA.4. Findings and Recommendations of Treaty Monitoring Bodies onthe Philippines in Relation to Unwanted Pregnancies, Access toInformation and Services on Modern Contraceptives, EarlyPregnancies and Maternal DeathsA.5. Benefits of Providing Access to Sexuality Education and ModernContraceptivesB. The Ordinances Prohibiting Modern Contraceptives areUnconstitutionalB.1. The Constitution Mandates Local Government Units to MakeModern Contraceptives Available

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