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Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life – January 15, 2023

The Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life in the Philippines attests to the Filipina belief that human life is sacred, and takes place on the third Sunday in January each year. This year, it takes place on January 15. On this day, Filipinos also recognize the serious threats to human life. It reminds them that family life is likewise sacred and that the lives of mothers and their unborn children should be equally protected.

History of Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life

The phrase “sanctity of life” refers to the idea of human life being sacred, holy, and precious. It is inherent as man is incapable of creating life and therefore, people have no right to take their own lives or those of others. Though the phrase was initially used in the 19th century in Protestant discourse, it has been used since World War II, in Catholic moral theology, and following the case of Roe vs. Wade, in Evangelical Christian moral rhetoric.

The sanctity of life, usually often contrasted and conflated with the “quality of life” to some extent, is the foundation on which all Catholic teachings about the sixth commandment in the Ten Commandments are built. In Western schools of thought, the sanctity of life is usually only applied to the human species, in significant contrast to many schools of Eastern philosophy, which usually hold that all animal life is sacred. For instance, practitioners of Jainism (an ancient religion from India) would carry brushes with which to sweep insects from their path, to avoid inadvertently treading upon them.

The right to life comes up in debates about capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia or mercy killing, suicide (assisted or otherwise), and just and unjust wars. These may be legal in most countries, but in the Philippines, they are illegal and immoral.

Interestingly though, in the 1970s, the right to life directed the public’s attention to the morality (or immorality) of whether a person in a coma and who has no hope of recovery (or a mentally incompetent patient) has the “right to die.” This was shown in the case of Karen Quinlan, an American who lay comatose for years — during the first year, she breathed through a respirator. The court ruled that “no one could be held criminally liable for removing life-support systems.”

Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life timeline

1986
The Freedom Constitution

When democracy is restored, following the People Power Revolution, a transitory constitution (informally known as the Freedom Constitution) comes into effect.

1987
The Philippine Constitution is Ratified

The Philippine Constitution is ratified and takes effect on February 11 — section 12 recognizes the need “to protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.”

2003
Proclamation No. 490 is Issued

Proclamation No. 490 declaring the Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life is issued on October 22.

2022
Roe Vs. Wade

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, the landmark decision establishing in 1973 women’s constitutional right to abortion.

Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life FAQs

What is the Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life?

The Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life is celebrated in the Philippines on the third Sunday of January each year to emphasize the sacredness of human life.

What Philippine law declares protection of the life of the unborn?

Article 2, Section 12 of the Philippine Constitution declares that “the State shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception…”

What similar holiday is celebrated in the U.S.?

The National Sanctity of Human Life is a similar holiday celebrated on January 22, the day the Supreme Court handed down its decision on the Roe vs. Wade case in 1973.

How to Observe Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life

  1. Read up on rights regarding human life

    Learn all there is to know. Help yourself to information and discussions on the concept of human life and the right and obligation to protect it.

  2. Write a lawmaker

    You can take this opportunity to write to a senator or congressman. You can support bills that promote the protection of human life.

  3. Join the conversation online

    Join the conversation online. Use the #DayOfSanctityAndProtectionOfHumanLife hashtag.

5 Interesting Facts About Roe Vs Wade

  1. It is a landmark abortion case

    Roe vs. Wade is a 1973 landmark case giving American women the right to have an abortion.

  2. “Jane Roe” is a pseudonym

    “Jane Roe” is a pseudonym given to Ms. Norma McCormick, the plaintiff in the Roe vs. Wade case.

  3. It became a yardstick for abortion rights

    The Roe vs. Wade case has become a reference point in abortion discourse, both in the U.S. and in other countries.

  4. The decision was almost overturned in 1992

    The Supreme Court’s decision in the Roe vs. Wade case was nearly overturned in the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey case.

  5. McCormick passed in 2017

    McCormick passed away in 2017 at the age of 69.

Why Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life is Important

  1. Life is precious

    Life is precious and sacred. It is a divine blessing and gift.

  2. Unlawful killings are criminalized

    The principle of the sanctity and protection of human life criminalizes unlawful killings in most societies. Learn more today.

  3. The essence of life is fully captured

    The Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life fully captures and celebrates the true essence of human life. Show your appreciation today.

Day of Sanctity and Protection of Human Life dates

YearDateDay
2022January 16Sunday
2023January 15Sunday
2024January 21Sunday
2025January 19Sunday
2026January 18Sunday

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