REPROHEALTHLAW Updates — Sept 2017

September 29, 2017

SUBSCRIBE TO REPROHEALTHLAW: To receive these updates monthly by email, enter your address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.

DEVELOPMENTS
[Chile] Abortion legalized in three cases: when the woman’s life is at risk, when the fetus will not survive the pregnancy, and in case of rape).  New law ruled constitutional by the Constitutional Court of Chile on August 28, 2017:  Decision in Spanish -295 pagesAccompanying documentsOther Submissions  Newspaper report in EnglishDecision summarized in English.

RESOURCES

[abortion] The Responsibility of Gynecologists and Obstetricians in providing safe abortion services within the limits of the law, by Anibal Faúndes,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 139.1 (Oct 2017): 1-3.  Wiley Online.

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), now in paperback, 20% discount code PH70.  English edition from U Penn PressTable of Contents with chapter summaries.  Table of Cases
—El aborto en el derecho transnacional
, 2016
: Fondo de Cultura Económica
Libreria CIDE.    Índice con resúmenes de capítulos

[Africa]  Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts, published by Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) in 2017, 228 pages.   New Online edition with links to decisions.    Flyer with Table of Contents.    Download whole book

[Canada] After Morgentaler: The Politics of Abortion in Canada, by Rachael Johnstone, UBC press, 2017, 196 pages.  Based on this doctoral thesis in Political Science.   Purchase options.

“Conscientious Objection to Abortion and Accommodating Women’s Reproductive Health Rights: Reflections on a Decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia from an African Regional Human Rights Perspective,” by Charles G Ngwena,  Journal of African Law 58.2 (October 2014) 183 – 209.  Abstract and article now online.      

[conscience] “The Conscience Wars in Historical and Philosophical Perspective: The Clash between Religious Absolutes and Democratic Pluralism,”  by Michel Rosenfeld, in  (Susanna Mancini & Michel Rosenfeld, eds.) The Conscience Wars: Rethinking the Balance between Religion, Identity, and Equality (Cambridge University Press 2018)   58 Pages online.

[stigma: abortion, sex work] “Perfectly Legal, but Still Bad: Lessons for Sex Work from the Decriminalization of Abortion,” by Jula Hughes, University of New Brunswick Law Journal 68 (2017): 232-252   Abstract and article at SSRN

NEWS
India: Supreme Court Allows Rape Survivor to Terminate Her 31-Week-Old Pregnancy, despite 20-week limit under Medical Termination of Pregnancy law, based on medical concerns re health of the mother, including trauma from rape.
Newspaper report.    Judgment forthcoming.

Northern Ireland:  Medical professionals will no longer face prosecution if they refer women to clinics in England and Wales for abortions  Newspaper report.

International news and resources for advocacy:  International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.

US-focused news, resources, and legal developments are available on Repro Rights Prof Blog.  View or subscribe.

JOBS
Links to employers in the field of Reproductive and Sexual Health Law are online here

______________
Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.


South Africa: Expulsion of pregnant students violated constitutional rights

September 29, 2017

Many thanks to Godfrey Kangaude, LL.M. (UFS), LL.M. (UCLA), an LL.D. candidate at the University of Pretoria and Executive Director of Nyale Institute for Sexual and Reproductive Health Governance in Malawi, for summarizing this decision with Y. Kakhobwe in Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts, published by Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) in 2017.  228-pages online     Flyer with Table of Contents.     New online edition with links to decisions and analyses.

Head of Department, Department of Education, Free State Province v. Welkom High School & anotherHead of Department, Department of Education, Free State Province v. Harmony High School & another (CCT 103/12) [2013] ZACC 25, 2013 (9) BCLR 989(CC); 2014 (2) SA 228 (CC) (10 July 2013)   Constitutional Court of South Africa  Decision online.    Case summary by G. Kangaude and Y. Kakhobwe.

Two South African high schools had adopted policies that provided for automatic
exclusion of any student from school if it is found that she is pregnant. When in two separate instances the schools applied the policies to pregnant students, the Head of the provincial department of education intervened in the decisions of the school’s governing bodies and ordered them to ignore the pregnancy policy and reinstate the students. The respondents took the matter to the High Court which ruled that this official had no authority to tell the principals not to implement their adopted policy.  The
Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s decision.  The Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that if school policies were unconstitutional, as these were, the Head of the provincial education department should have intervened, using the proper mechanisms provided by the Schools Act.
The Constitutional Court opined that these pregnancy policies prima facie violated constitutional principles, and violations should be addressed by the scheme of powers under the School Act.  The Court held that, first, the policies unjustifiably discriminated on the basis of pregnancy and sex.  Second, the policies limited the right to education by requiring that the student repeat an entire year.  Third, the policies prima facie violated students’ rights to human dignity, privacy, and bodily and psychological integrity by requiring them to report their own pregnancy or that of others.  Finally, the policies violated the best interests of the child because they failed to take into account the health and other needs of the pregnant student.
The Court did not make a declaration on the constitutional validity of the pregnancy policies since this issue was not placed properly before it, and also because the Court respected the scheme of powers in the School Act. However, the Court ordered the school governing boards to review their pregnancy policies.
The Court’s opinion follows several older African judgments such as Student Representative Council of Molepolole College of Education v. Attorney General [1995] (3) LRC 447), where the Botswana Court of Appeal held that a regulation that required a student to report pregnancy to the authorities, and would be obliged to leave the College or be expelled if this was a second occurrence, was unconstitutional as it was discriminatory on the basis of sex. Similarly, in Mfolo and Others v. Minister of Education,  [1992] (3) LRC 181,Bophuthatswana (South Africa, Supreme Court, Bophuthatswana and General Division), and in Lloyd Chaduka and Morgenster College v. Enita Mandizvidza, Judgment No. SC 114/2001; Civil Appeal No. 298/2000 (Zimbabwe, Supreme Court),   two African Supreme Courts held that regulations that required pregnant students to withdraw from college were unconstitutional.

__________________________
Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca.   For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here.     TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.


HR expert: Conscientious objection may not hinder lawful abortions

September 29, 2017

Many thanks to Christina Zampas, one of fifty international experts and policymakers who recently convened in Montevideo, Uruguay, to share findings on the legal status and harms of conscientious objection to lawful abortions.   The refusal to provide services on grounds of conscience hinders lawful abortion in countries with both liberal and restrictive laws.  The practice also stigmatizes basic reproductive health services and in some cases pushes women to carry risky or unintended pregnancies to term, or to seek illegal or unsafe alternatives, which may have dire consequences, including death.

United Nations and regional human rights bodies have recognized the harmful effects of conscientious objection on the health and human rights of women.  They have articulated state obligations under the rights to health, to privacy and to non-discrimination, to ensure that women can access reproductive health services that they are lawfully entitled to receive.  For decades, human rights bodies have recommended that to comply with human rights obligations, states should decriminalize abortion, liberalize restrictive laws and remove barriers that hinder access to safe abortion.[1] “[I]n cases where abortion procedures may lawfully be performed, all obstacles to obtaining them should be removed,” including the unregulated practice of refusing to provide services based on conscience. [2]

UN treaty bodies have expressed concern about the harmful impact of the exercise of conscientious objection and have repeatedly urged those states that permit the practice to adequately regulate it to ensure that it does not limit women’s access to abortion services. [3]  The UN Special Rapporteur on Health, for example, has recognized that “conscientious objection laws . . . make safe abortions and post-abortion care unavailable, especially to poor, displaced and young women. Such restrictive regimes, which are not replicated in other areas of sexual and reproductive health care, serve to reinforce the stigma that abortion is an objectionable practice.” [4]   He has also recommended that states “[e]nsure that conscientious objection exemptions are well-defined in scope and well-regulated in use and that referrals and alternative services are available” and urged states to ensure that conscientious objection cannot be invoked in emergency situations. [5]

Human rights bodies have called on states to prohibit the improper use of conscientious objection by medical professionals.  And while human rights law does not require states to allow conscientious refusals to abortion, these human rights bodies have noted that where states do allow for it, they must regulate it, to ensure that it does not deny or hinder women access to lawful abortion.  They have explicitly specified that the relevant regulatory framework must ensure an obligation on healthcare providers to refer women to alternative health providers [6] and must not allow institutional refusals of care. [7]   The CESCR Committee, which monitors state compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,  has specifically recommended that states should also ensure that “adequate number of health-care providers willing and able to provide such services should be available at all times in both public and private facilities and within reasonable geographical reach.” [8]

This first International Convening on Conscientious Objection and Abortion, held August 1-3, 2017 in Montevideo, Uruguay, was sponsored by Mujer y Salud Urugay (MYSU) and the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC).  Participants agreed to further legal, ethical, health, and policy objectives that can mitigate the damaging effects of conscientious objection and reduce the immense burden on women who seek a legal, professional service that must be rendered without prejudice.
About the International Convening on Conscientious Objection and Abortion
Report on the meeting, and its declarations in English and Spanish
Report by South African delegation.

Conscientious Objection – List of resources from members of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program are online here.

Conscientious Objection to Abortion and Accommodating Women’s Reproductive Health Rights: Reflections on a Decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia from an African Regional Human Rights Perspective, by Charles G Ngwena,  Journal of African Law 58.2 (October 2014) 183 – 209  now online here.

Christina Zampas is a Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.  Short bio

ENDNOTES:
[1]  See, e.g., Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Jamaica, para. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/JAM/CO/3 (2011) (urging the state to “amend its abortion laws to help women avoid unwanted pregnancies and not to resort to illegal abortions that could put their lives at risk. The State party should take concrete measures in this regard, including a review of its laws in line with the Covenant.”); Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Mali, para. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/77/MLI (2003); Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Djibouti, para. 9, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/DJI/CO/1 (2013); Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Ireland, para. 13, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/IRL/CO/3 (2008). See also Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 28: Article 3 (The Equality of Rights Between Men and Women), (68th Sess., 2000), para. 10, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.10 (2000).

[2]  Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Argentina, para. 14, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/70/ARG (2000); see also CESCR, Concluding Observations: Argentina, para. 22, U.N. Doc. E/C.12/ARG/CO/3 (2011); Poland, para. 28, U.N. Doc. E/C.12/POL/CO/5 (2009); CEDAW, Concluding Observations: India, para. 41, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/IND/CO/3 (2007); Poland, para. 25, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/POL/CO/6 (2007).

[3]  ESCR Committee, Concluding Observations: Poland, para. 28, U.N. Doc. E/C.12/POL/CO/5 (2009); CEDAW Committee, Concluding Observations: Poland, para. 25, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/POL/CO/6 (2007); Slovakia, para. 29, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/SVK/CO/4 (2008); Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Poland, para. 12, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/POL/CO/6 (2010).

[4] Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Interim rep. of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, transmitted by Note of the Secretary-General, para. 24, U.N. Doc. A/66/254 (Aug. 3, 2011), para. 24.

[5] Id. Para 65(m), and Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Anand Grover – Mission to Poland, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/20/Add.3 (2010). paras. 50, and 85(k).  See also: CESCR Gen. Comment 22 in note 8 below.

[6]  See, e.g., CEDAW, General Recommendation No. 24: Article 12 of the Convention (Women and Health), para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/54/38/Rev.1, chap. I (“It is discriminatory for a State party to refuse to legally provide for the performance of certain reproductive health services for women. For instance, if health service providers refuse to perform such services based on conscientious objection, measures should be introduced to ensure that women are referred to alternative health providers.”); CESCR, Gen. Comment No. 22, paras. 14, 43; HRC, Concluding Observations,: Italy, U.N. Doc. HRC/C/ITA/CO/6, paras 16-17 (2017); CEDAWConcluding Observations: Croatia, para. 31, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/HRV/CO/4-5 (2015) (urging the State party to “ensure that the exercise of conscientious objection does not impede women’s effective access to reproductive health-care services, especially abortion and post-abortion care and contraceptives”); Hungary, paras. 30-31, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/HUN/CO/7-8 (2013) (urging the State party to “[e]stablish an adequate regulatory framework and a mechanism for monitoring of the practice of conscientious objection by health professionals and ensure that conscientious objection is accompanied by information to women about existing alternatives and that it remains a personal decision rather than an institutionalized practice”); CESCR, Concluding Observations: Poland, para. 28, U.N. Doc. E/C.12/POL/CO/5 (2009) (“The Committee is particularly concerned that women resort to clandestine, and often unsafe, abortion because of the refusal of physicians and clinics to perform legal operations on the basis of conscientious objection…. The Committee calls on the State party to take all effective measures to ensure that women enjoy their right to sexual and reproductive health, including by enforcing the legislation on abortion and implementing a mechanism of timely and systematic referral in the event of conscientious objection.”).

[7]  See, e.g., CEDAW, Concluding Observations: Hungary, para. 31(d), U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/HUN/CO/7-8 (2013); CRC, Concluding Observations: Slovakia, paras. 41(f), U.N. Doc. CRC/C/SVK/CO/3-5 (2016).

[8] UN CESCR, Gen. Comment No. 22, paras. 14, 43 (“Unavailability of goods and services due to ideologically based policies or practices, such as the refusal to provide services based on conscience, must not be a barrier to accessing services. An adequate number of health-care providers willing and able to provide such services should be available at all times in both public and private facilities and within reasonable geographical reach. … Where health-care providers are allowed to invoke conscientious objection, States must appropriately regulate this practice to ensure that it does not inhibit anyone’s access to sexual and reproductive health care, including by requiring referrals to an accessible provider capable of and willing to provide the services being sought, and that it does not inhibit the performance of services in urgent or emergency situations”).

————-For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here.     TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.


“El papel de la transparencia en la reforma de leyes y prácticas del aborto en África” por Charles G. Ngwena

September 29, 2017
[For Abstracts of original English edition, click here]

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias fue publicado en agosto de 2016 por el Fondo de Cultura Económica y el Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas.

Charles G. Ngwena, “El papel de la transparencia en la reforma de leyes y prácticas del aborto en África,” El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias, editoras/es  Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman, y Bernard M. Dickens (FCE/CIDE, 2016) págs. 218-242.    en españolen inglés.

El aborto inseguro, como consecuencia de la penalización, constituye un gran desafío para la salud pública y los derechos humanos de la región africana.  Charles Ngwena basa el noveno capitulo de El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias, principalmente, en sentencias emitidas por organismos de las Naciones Unidas, aunque también hace referencia a las sentencias de la Corte Europea de Derechos Humanos y de tribunales nacionales a fin de ilustrar el potencial del giro procesal para facilitar el acceso al aborto legal en África. El autor propone que responsabilizar al Estado por la falta de implementación efectiva de las causales legales existentes puede ser una herramienta jurídica importante para garantizar el acceso al aborto seguro. Así, considera que los Estados ya no pueden satisfacer los derechos humanos de los individuos simplemente legislando la diferencia entre un aborto legal y uno ilegal, sino que deben crear de manera activa medios identificables a través de los cuales las mujeres puedan tener acceso al aborto, y los proveedores puedan brindar servicios legítimos.

El autor explora si las guías técnicas sobre el aborto emitidas por los ministerios de salud en ciertos países de África cumplen con los estándares procesales. Explica también que su legitimidad tendría un carácter más sustancial si contaran con el apoyo de los ministerios de justicia y de las fiscalías, y con la garantía de que no perseguirán penalmente aquellos casos en que el aborto se llevó a cabo de manera segura, respetando los derechos y la dignidad de las mujeres.  Junto con la tendencia mundial de liberalizar el aborto —tendencia que se ha manifestado también en la región africana—, los esfuerzos por reformar las leyes y prácticas del aborto que buscan fomentar el acceso de las mujeres a abortos legales y seguros tienen que enfocarse en garantizar que las normas existentes sean implementadas con eficacia.  Mientras la penalización continúe siendo una realidad, responsabilizar al Estado por la falta de una implementación efectiva de las leyes existentes sobre el aborto puede constituir una herramienta jurídica importante para el desarrollo de un marco normativo que facilite el acceso al aborto seguro.

Hacia el final del capitulo, el autor explica los valores normativos que sustentan la transparencia como un imperativo de los derechos humanos.  De hecho, implementa la transparencia en la región africana, destacando su potencial transformativo y sus limitaciones dentro de un sistema jurídico que continúa penalizando el aborto mucho tiempo después de acabado el dominio colonial.  La transparencia no pretende reemplazar la lucha por la despenalización definitiva del aborto para que la autonomía reproductiva de las mujeres sea respetada.  Sin embargo, la transparencia es una manera de adoptar una estrategia jurisprudencial pragmática para la región africana, que permita trabajar en un entorno legal ampliamente restringido. Esto dado que aún deben ocurrir reformas radicales a las normas sobre el aborto, y aun no se han desarrollado sistemas de salud que permitan a profesionales de la salud de nivel intermedio otorgar servicios de aborto.

 

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias es disponible en español    en inglés   y dos capítulos en portugués: Capítulo 2.    Capítulo 4
Descargar: Reseña del libro en Andamios, por Diego Garcia Ricci      
Introducción y Prólogo.
Índice con resúmenes de otros capítulos

Tabla de Casos/Jurisprudencia en línea con enlaces a muchas de las decisiones judiciales
____________________________________

REPROHEALTHLAW:  Nuestras publicaciones en español o portugués.
Únete a este blog aquí.     Participe de este blog aquí.       Join REPROHEALTHLAW blog

 


“La lucha contra las normas informales que regulaban el aborto en Argentina,” por Paola Bergallo

September 29, 2017
[For Abstracts of original English edition, click here]

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias fue publicado en agosto de 2016 por el Fondo de Cultura Económica y el Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas.

Bergallo, Paola, “La lucha contra las normas informales que regulaban el aborto en Argentina,” Capitulo 7 en El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias, editores/as Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman y Bernard M. Dickens (México, D.F.: FCE/CIDE, 2016).  187-217.  en españolen inglés.

Paola Bergallo analiza el giro procesal en el contexto argentino a través de la disputa entre el derecho formal y las normas informales del acceso al aborto. En su recuento, la autora demuestra que la oposición conservadora hace uso de normas informales socavando constantemente las causas legales para acceder a los servicios de aborto, lo que lleva a una prohibición de facto. Bergallo explica las dificultades de los ministerios, al utilizar guías técnicas de procedimiento y sentencias judiciales sobre implementación, para garantizar la provisión del aborto mediante el derecho formal. La autora explora las maneras en que esta lucha para implementar las indicaciones legales para el aborto podría llevar a un cambio gradual en la concepción del Estado de derecho, dando cuenta de un suelo fértil para avanzar hacia la despenalización. El capítulo demuestra que las guías no han superado aún los aspectos impracticables de la regulación del aborto mediante causales legales, y concluye que el giro procesal en Argentina quizá demuestre, en última instancia, que su mayor potencial yace en que refuerza la demanda normativa por la despenalización.

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias es disponible en español    en inglés   y dos capítulos en portugués: Capítulo 2.    Capítulo 4
Descargar: Reseña del libro en Andamios, por Diego Garcia Ricci      
Introducción y Prólogo.
Índice con resúmenes de otros capítulos

Tabla de Casos/Jurisprudencia en línea con enlaces a muchas de las decisiones judiciales
____________________________________

REPROHEALTHLAW:  Nuestras publicaciones en español o portugués.
Únete a este blog aquí.     Participe de este blog aquí.       Join REPROHEALTHLAW blog

 


“El giro procesal: El aborto en el Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos” por Joanna Erdman

September 29, 2017
[For Abstracts of original English edition, click here]

En El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias (FCE/CIDE, 2016),  los primeros cinco capítulos  exploran “Valores Constitucionales y Regímenes Normativos.” Los tres capítulos de la segunda parte, “Justicia procesal y acceso liberalizado,” ahondan en la relación entre las leyes sobre aborto y lo que ocurre en la práctica. El enfoque yace en la preocupación, dentro del ámbito del derecho, sobre el uso de la justicia procedimental para garantizar el acceso de las mujeres a servicios de aborto legal. Se argumenta que la legalidad de los servicios es una condición previa necesaria para su accesibilidad. Sin embargo, si las mujeres no conocen sus derechos y no cuentan con los medios para ejercerlos, los servicios a los que tienen derecho se mantendrán fuera de su alcance. La proposición histórica del derecho común, de que los derechos legales sustantivos emergen de los resquicios procedimentales, es relevante hoy en día. El acceso de las mujeres al aborto legal y seguro depende de que ellas y los proveedores de servicios conozcan verdaderamente las causales legales, las condiciones en las que pueden brindarse los abortos legítimamente, así como también los procedimientos legales y las revisiones y apelaciones en caso de un desacuerdo en cuanto a si se cumplen las causales en un caso particular. Los autores de la segunda parte exploran las promesas e incertidumbres de la justicia procedimental en las normativas sobre el aborto desde tres perspectivas geográficas distintas.

Joanna Erdman, “El giro procesal: El aborto en el Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos,” El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias, editoras/es  Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman, y Bernard M. Dickens (FCE/CIDE, 2016) págs. 159-186. en españolen inglés.

Joanna Erdman explora el giro procesal de la Corte Europea de Derechos Humanos, cuestionando la posibilidad y la forma en que las leyes de aborto de carácter procedimental pueden servir al fin sustantivo que los defensores le asignan: el acceso a los servicios. La autora comienza con el complejo factor de la discreción en las leyes sobre el aborto, mediante el cual se niegan servicios a los que las mujeres tienen derech. Cuando se cuestiona el poder discrecional, las pretensiones procesales referentes a los estándares, la revisión y la supervisión amenazan con restringir, en vez de ampliar, el acceso y, por tanto, impiden que la promesa liberadora del giro procesal se concrete.

Erdman busca redimir esta ambivalencia mediante un cambio de enfoque y propone contemplar el giro procesal desde la perspectiva, ya no de los defensores, sino de una corte internacional que busque provocar cambios en un asunto de profundo interés democrático. Las normativas procesales quizá sirvan como herramienta para que la Corte Europea respete la pluralidad de leyes sobre aborto basadas en derechos en Europa, pues colaboran con el Estado en vez de obrar en su contra, reclutando sus fuerzas e instituciones democráticas en la protección efectiva del derecho al aborto. En un cambio de perspectiva final, Erdman pone a prueba esta teoría en la práctica, sirviéndose de Irlanda como caso de estudio. Así, la autora examina el impacto de los derechos procesales en el acceso a los servicios, contemplando el papel de la legislatura, los médicos y las mujeres.

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias es disponible en español    en inglés   y dos capítulos en portugués: Capítulo 2.    Capítulo 4
Descargar: Reseña del libro en Andamios, por Diego Garcia Ricci      
Introducción y Prólogo.
Índice con resúmenes de otros capítulos

Tabla de Casos/Jurisprudencia en línea con enlaces a muchas de las decisiones judiciales
____________________________________

REPROHEALTHLAW:  Nuestras publicaciones en español o portugués.
Únete a este blog aquí.     Participe de este blog aquí.       Join REPROHEALTHLAW blog

 


Chile: Constitutional Tribunal upholds constitutionality of new abortion law

September 21, 2017

Many thanks to Carlos Herrera Vacaflor, LL.M., for providing the following overview of this historic decision in Chile.

Tribunal Constitucional Chile, STC Rol N° 3729(3751)-17 CPT,  Requerimientos de inconstitucionalidad presentados por un grupo de Senadores y Diputados, respecto de normas del proyecto de ley que regula la despenalización de la interrupción voluntaria del embarazo en tres causales, correspondiente al boletín N° 9895-11.  Decision in Spanish: 295 pagesAccompanying documentsOther Submissions

On August 21, 2017, the Constitutional Tribunal of Chile, in a 6 to 4 ruling, upheld the constitutionality of a Bill (now enacted into law) that decriminalizes abortion in three cases: rape, fatal fetal impairment and when a woman’s life is in danger.

The Tribunal based its ruling on the following guiding principles, among others. On the basis of international human rights treaties ratified by Chile and national legal developments on maternity, the Tribunal recognized that pregnancy affects the physical and psychological integrity of a woman, since a fetus occupying a woman’s body causes physical and physiological transformations.  Furthermore, the Tribunal stated that criminal law on abortion imposes severe restrictions on rights, and leads to social and legal condemnation of individuals. The Tribunal, given such punitive power, recognized that criminal law should only be considered as an instrument of last resort, in order to limit the restrictive effect the law has on rights.

The Tribunal interpreted “threat to the life of the woman” as a risk to her life (riesgo vital). Only the physician who provides the abortion is needed to diagnose the risk to the woman’s life; no further examinations are required, lest the provision of care be delayed. Abortion is also decriminalized when the fetus carries a fatal congenital or genetic impairment impeding its survival outside the womb. The Tribunal maintained that since the Bill requires that two specialist physicians diagnose the disease of the fetus, these professionals must avoid decisional paralysis that could put a woman in greater danger. In cases of rape, the Tribunal considered constitutional the limits on access to abortion: for girls under the age of 14, abortion must be performed before 14 weeks of gestation; if the victim is older than 14, before 12 weeks of gestation.

The Tribunal also recognized, by an 8 to 2 vote, the constitutionality of institutional conscientious objection. The Tribunal found institutional conscientious objection also constitutional. Given the lack of uniformity on whether artificial legal “persons” (such as hospitals or clinics) have a right to conscience and religion in the Inter-American System of Human Rights, the Tribunal decided to elaborate its own position. The Tribunal considered it arbitrary to limit the scope of conscientious objection only to professionals intervening in abortion care. It argued that freedom of conscience and religion is protected for all persons in the Constitution and that, under comparative case law, educational institutions and private associations have been recognized as conscientious objectors in the context of education.

Full texts of Decision and Submissions:  Decision in Spanish -295 pagesAccompanying documentsOther Submissions

Chilean law professors who addressed the Court included:
   Prof. Veronica Undurraga  presentation  in Spanish.
Prof. Lidia Casas Becerra  
presentation in Spanish, at minute 42.

Amicus curiae brief re: International consensus on abortion law with respect to decriminalization, by Joanna Erdman and Rebecca Cook:
Spanish and English briefs in one PDF.

Amicus curiae brief re conscience and conscientious objection by Prof. Bernard M. Dickens:  English PDF    Spanish PDF.

“Chile Celebrates its First Steps Towards Fulfilling Abortion Rights,” by Lidia Casas and Lieta Vivaldi, on Health and Human Rights Journal website.   Blogpost in English

Press Release from Center for Reproductive Rights.  Online in English.

Newspaper report in English.

——————————

SUBSCRIBE TO REPROHEALTHLAW: To receive these updates monthly by email, enter your address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.