AMID calls for allowing “safe and legal” abortion, the Department of Health (DOH) Thursday gave a firm and straight answer: No.

In a phone interview, DOH official Yolanda Oliveros said the department is bound to comply with the provisions set in the Constitution and other pertinent laws protecting the right of the unborn.

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“We have laws to follow and these laws (promote) respect for life, no to abortion,” said Oliveros, who is the executive assistant of Health Secretary Enrique Ona.

Oliveros added that in the event that the calls for the allowing of abortion grow further, getting the DOH’s nod would only prove to be futile.

“It’s not for the DOH to decide,” said Oliveros while referring to the legislative branch as the rightful body to amend the law.

Article 2, Section 12 states that “the State shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception”.

Last Monday, reproductive health and women's rights called for the passage of a law that would allow “safe and legal abortion” in the country.

Using the study of the New-York-based Center for Reproductive Rights titled “Forsaken Lives: The Harmful Impact of the Philippine Criminal Abortion Ban”, the groups said it is about time to allow abortion in the Philippines under conditions such as when the life or physical and mental health of a woman is at stake, when the pregnancy is a result of sexual assault, or when the fetus is impaired.

Instead, Oliveros said the DOH would rather focus on the marching orders given by President Benigno Aquino III in a bid to prevent unwanted and unplanned pregnancies.

“There has been a gap because in the past six years as only natural (family planning) methods (were being promoted) by the government… But under the new administration, we are hopeful that this gap (will be filled),” said Oliveros, referring to the equal promotion of artificial contraception by the DOH. (AMN/Sunnex)