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Filipino high court halts new health law

March 19, 2013 at 8:36 AM   |   Comments

MANILA, March 19 (UPI) -- The Filipino Supreme Court halted the implementation of a controversial reproductive health law Tuesday and set oral arguments on the law for June 18.

The court's information officer said 10 of the justices voted in favor of suspending the law's implementation for 120 days while five justices voted against the move, GMA News reported.

Among those who opposed postponement was Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act was signed into law in December by Philippine President Benigno Aquino.

It guarantees universal and free access to nearly all modern contraceptives at government health centers but allows private and religion-affiliated hospitals to deny reproductive services if they choose.

The law also mandates reproductive health education in state schools.

At least six petitions have been filed with the high court against the law, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Opponents argued the act "mocks the nation's Filipino culture" and violates the Constitution's unconditional respect for life.

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