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Imbong v.

Ochoa
Facts:
On Dec 21 2012, Congress enacted the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012
(RH Law) as a response to the exponential rise in the population. Shortly after the President signed it into
law, challengers from different sectors of society sought to strike down the said law. The 14 petitioners
and 2 petitioners-in-intervention assail the constitutionality of the law on the following grounds (included
only the issue relevant to Art. II 12):

The RH La violates the right to life of the unborn because, notwithstanding its declared policy against
abortion, the implementation of the RH Law would authorize the purchase of hormonal contraceptives,
intra-uterine devices, and injectables which are abortive, in violation of 12 which guarantees protection
for both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child from conception.

Petitioners contend that the law considers contraceptives that prevent the fertilized ovum to reach and be
implanted in the mothers womb as an abortifacent thereby sanctioning contraceptives that take effect
after fertilization and prior to implantation.

Issue: Whether or not the RH Law violates the right to life and health of the unborn child under Art. II
12 of the Constitution.

Held: NO. RH Law does not sanction abortion.

The traditional meaning of conception means that life begins at fertilization. This is also reflected
through the intent of the Framers that the moment of conception is when the ovum is fertilized by the
sperm.

This shows that it was intended that the State shall provide equal protection to both mother and unborn
child from the earliest opportunity of life, that is, upon fertilization. Thus, contraceptives that kill or
destroy the fertilized ovum should be deemed an abortive and thus prohibited. Conversely, contraceptives
that prevent the union of the sperm and ovum, and those that similarly take action prior to fertilization is
constitutionally permissible. (e.g. tubal ligation, vasectomy, condoms).

Thus, the undeniable conclusion is that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human
being commences at a scientifically well-defined moment of conception, that is, upon fertilization.

The clear intent of the 1987 Consti in protecting the life of the unborn from conception was to prevent the
Legislature from enacting a measure legalizing abortion as well as abortifacents. A reading of the law
would show that it is in line with this intent and actually proscribes abortion. The law itself clearly
mandates that protection be afforded from the time of fertilization.

Contrary to petitioners assertions, the Court finds that the RH Law recognizes that the fertilized ovum
has life and that the State has a bounden duty to protect it. The law recognizes that (a) there is a need to
protect the fertilized ovum which already has life, and (b) the fertilized ovum must be protected the
moment it becomes existent.