STIFFER PENALTIES FOR ABORTION PUSHED

MANILA — Countless unborn babies have been or continue to be negated their precious lives through abortion in the Philippines, Manila’s 5th District Rep. Amado S. Bagatsing lamented.

Bagatsing is author of HB 567 entitled “An Act increasing the penalties against abortion, amending for the purpose Articles 256, 257, 268, and 259 of the Revised Penal Code, and for other purposes,” pending with the House Committee on Revision of Laws.

HB 567, Bagatsing explained, is in consonance with Article II, Section 12 the 1987 Constitution which states that as a matter of principle and State policy, the State “xxx shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception xxx.”

“The proposed statute seeks to give life to said constitutional right of the unborn to protection, to recognize the unborn child’s basic right to life, to the protection of his or her welfare and against acts which place the unborn child in danger of being harmed, injured or killed, bearing in mind that the unborn child is totally incapable of protecting itself,” Bagatsing explained.

At the same time, the measure also seeks to amend the Revised Penal Code by adding provisions or a clear and workable definition of abortion and abortifacients, and classify certain medicinal formulations of abortifacients as dangerous drugs, thus declaring them illegal, prohibiting their use, possession, manufacture, importation, trade, promotion, dispensing, and prescription of the same.

Under HB 567, abortion refers to “any act or practice, whether done intentionally or unintentionally, that causes the premature exit of the products of conception (e.g. fetus, fetal membrane, placenta) from the uterus of a woman.”

On the other hand, abortive acts refer “to abortion practiced by the woman herself or by her parents; abortion practiced by a physician or midwife dispensing of abortives; any pharmacist who, without the proper prescription from a physician, dispenses abortives, as it is illegal in the Philippines and is penalized as a crime under the Revised Penal Code (Arts. 256–259).”

Bagatsing noted that fetuses have been found in garbage cans, thrown and abandoned by their mothers only to be discovered by unknown and concerned citizens and reported by the media.

“Some never got to be discovered at all and left in the confines of anonymity. These fetuses are the unwanted and uncared for unborn babies who have been wantonly murdered to, among other reasons, hide the shame of their mothers,” he added.

Section 4 of HB 567 provides: “The corresponding penalties for the crimes of Intentional Abortion. Unintentional Abortion, Abortion practiced by the woman herself or by her parents, Abortion practiced by a physician or midwives, and dispensing of Abortives are hereby increased. For this purpose, Articles 256, 257, 258 and 259 of the Revised Penal code are hereby amended to read as follows:” (proposed amendments in big letters)

Article 256. Intentional abortion, — Any person who shall intentionally cause an abortion shall suffer:

1. The penalty of (reclusion temporal) RECLUSION PERPETUA, if he shall use any violence upon the person of the pregnant woman;

2. The penalty of (prision mayor) RECLUSION TEMPORAL, if without using violence, he shall act without the consent of the woman;

3. The penalty of prision (correccional in its medium and maximum periods) MAYOR, if the woman shall have consented.

Article 257. Unintentional Abortion. — The Penalty of prision (correccional) MAYOR in its minimum and medium periods shall be imposed upon any person who shall cause an abortion by violence but unintentionally.

Article 258. Abortion practiced by the woman herself or by her parents. — The penalty of prision (correccional) MAYOR in the medium and maximum periods shall be imposed upon a woman who shall practice an abortion upon herself or shall consent that any other person should do so.

“Any woman who shall commit this offense to conceal her dishonor shall suffer the penalty of prision (correccional) MAYOR in its minimum and medium periods.”

“If this crime be committed by the parents of the pregnant woman or either one of them, and they act with the consent of said woman for the purpose of concealing her dishonor, the offenders shall suffer the penalty of prision (correcccional) MAYOR in its medium and maximum periods.”

Article 259. Abortion practiced by a physician or midwife and dispensing of abortive — The penalties provided in Article 256 shall be imposed in their maximum period, respectively, upon any physician or midwife who, taking advantage of their scientific knowledge or skill, shall cause an abortion or assist in causing the same.

“Any pharmacist who, without the proper prescription from a physician, shall dispense any abortive shall suffer (arresto mayor) prision correccional and a fine not exceeding (PHP 1,000).” PNA / northboundasia.com