Joanna Erdman’s new appt & article on safer abortion

Congratulations to Joanna Erdman, who was recently appointed inaugural MacBain Chair in Health Law and Policy at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Until last year, Joanna was the Co-Director of our International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program and founding Director of our Health Equity and Law Clinic at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.
More information about her new appointment is online here:

Joanna’s latest article, on “Harm Reduction, Human Rights, and Access to Information on Safer Abortion,” is now available in proof to institutional subscribers of Science Direct’s “Articles in Press.”  The published edition will be made universally available through SSRN.


by Joanna Erdman,

Forthcoming in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Abstract:  harm reduction and human rights approach, grounded in the principles of neutrality, humanism, and pragmatism, supports women’s access to information on the safer self- use of misoprostol in diverse legal settings. Neutrality refers to a focus on the risks and harms of abortion rather than its legal or moral status. Humanism refers to the entitlement of all women to care and concern for their lives and health, to be treated with respect, worth, and dignity, and to the empowerment of women to participate in decision-making and political action. Pragmatism accepts the historical reality that women will engage in unsafe abortion, including self-induction, while addressing factors that render them vulnerable to this reality, and requires assessment of interventions to reduce abortion-related harms on evidence of their real rather than intended effect. Criminal law reform is a necessary conclusion to a harm reduction and human rights approach.

The full text is online here for Science Direct subscribers and forthcoming at SSRN.

Over 50 past IJGO columns on Ethical and Legal Issues in Gynecology and Obsterics are online here.

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