Editorial: ‘Blessed’ coincidence-A A +A
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
OPPONENTS of the Reproductive Health Law were pained to hear a few weeks back that it would take effect on March 31, Easter Sunday, of all days. That was a coincidence, said government officials who worked on the implementing rules that would have set the law in motion.
But yesterday, coincidence favored those against the law, whose passage has been divisive.
Just hours before Pope Francis requested crowds at his inauguration in Rome to protect all of God’s creations, the Supreme Court (SC) here at home stopped the law’s enforcement for 120 days. Hundreds of users of social media sites like Twitter, within minutes of the court’s announcement, began connecting the two events, calling the court’s order “divinely inspired.” We have no way of knowing if it was.
The SC’s status quo ante order does not necessarily mean the justices believe the law violates the Constitution. It will only discuss the merits on June 18, when the petitioners against the law and those who support it will present their arguments.
Yet, while this was not the order’s intention, the development: (1) sets back preparations for supposedly overdue health services that the law is supposed to enable; and (2) puts added heat on candidates who fought for or supported the RH Law’s passage.
If the SC upholds it, by the time the law has to be enforced, a new set of elective officials will have assumed office—including local government leaders who may not be as open to the law’s requirements as their predecessors. More immediately, candidates who are identified as pro-RH may find their positions under greater scrutiny during the campaign.
One of the main arguments against the RH Law is that it allegedly violates the constitutional protection of the right to life. Again, the status quo ante order does not indicate whether or not such a position is correct. But in the next four months, skillful campaigners against the RH Law will have additional firepower against candidates who voted for it. One could say the development breathes new life into their campaigns.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 20, 2013.