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SC pressed anew to lift TRO on contraceptives

By Julie M. Aurelio

Women may find themselves with no access to contraceptive methods in the future—but not only that.

Contraceptives may become illegal in the future if the Supreme Court does not lift its rulings which impede the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law.

This developed as the Commission on Population (PopCom) and other reproductive health advocates submitted its petition seeking to reverse the temporary restraining orders (TROs) on contraceptives in the country.

Elizabeth Angsioco of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP) pointed out that the situation might lead to contraceptives becoming contraband.

“You may have the money but you can’t buy any contraceptives because these will become contraband or illegal. Zero contraceptive access is a slap and kick to women,” she said on Friday.

The DSWP, along with the PopCom and other groups, submitted a total of 283,481 signatures appealing to the Supreme Court to lift the twin TROs issued in 2015 which affect contraceptives.M

“Millions of women’s health and lives are on the line. We trust that the Supreme Court remains the bastion of justice, and will correct this injustice done to our women,” they told the high court.

One of the TROs in question is against the procuring, selling, distributing, dispensing or administering, of the hormonal contraceptive Implanon and Implanon NXT.

The other TRO bans the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from renewing the certificates of product registration (CPRs) of 48 contraceptive products, which include pills, injections and implants.

PopCom executive director Juan Antonio Perez III said 15 CPRs of contraceptives expired in 2016 and 10 in May 2017, leaving only 23 contraceptives available.

He said that by 2020, there would be no contraceptives available in the market if the CPRs would continue to expire and remain unrenewed.

“These signatories all over the country signed this multisectoral petition to urge the high court to lift the TROs that are almost 2 years old,” Perez said.

The PopCom has previously warned that with the TROs in place, unintended pregnancies may rise, as well as cases of abortion, maternal death and a spike in the population.

Angsioco pointed out that should contraceptives eventually become unregistered and illegal, whoever buys or sells them would be violating the law and may be apprehended.

The situation may also lead to smuggling of contraceptives “because there will be a huge demand, and the supply will be problematic.”

“There is no assurance on quality and safety since these are not subjected to FDA processes. There might even be fake ones sold in the black market. Those from legitimate sources abroad may be safe and effective but still illegal here,” she said.

Source:Philippine Daily Inquirer