Philippines government demands referral by objecting physicians even if not “right”

In the closing hearings into the controversial Reproductive Health Law, judges of the Philippines Supreme Court questioned a provision in the law that makes it a crime to provide “incorrect information” about contraceptives.  When Senior State Solicitor Florin Hilbay explained that the Philippines Food and Drug Administration will determine what is “correct,” a judge pointed out that this would mean that no dissent from that would be allowed.  Another judge raised the possibility  of the imprisonment of physicians who disagree with the FDA about the safety of a drug.

Hilbay also claimed that objecting physicians have a “professional obligation” to facilitate the provision of the services to which they object by referral, asserting that refusal to refer makes a patient a “victim.” He insisted on this even though he admitted that referral might not be “right.” The court gave lawyers for both sides 60 days to submit memoranda concerning their arguments. [Manila Standard] [Philippine Daily Inquirer] []

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