Human Rights and Maternal Health: Exploring the Effectiveness of the Alyne Decision

Congratulations to Professor Rebecca J. Cook, Co-Director of our International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.   Her useful article about an important CEDAW decision on preventable maternal death was recently published in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 41.1 (2013): 103-23.

Human Rights and Maternal Health:
Exploring the Effectiveness of the Alyne decision

This article explores the effectiveness of the decision of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in the case of Alyne da Silva Pimentel Teixeira (deceased) v. Brazil, concerning a poor, Afro-Brazilian woman. This is the first decision of an international human rights treaty body to hold a state accountable for its failure to prevent an avoidable death in childbirth. Assessing the future effectiveness of this decision might be undertaken concretely by determining the degree of Brazil’s actual compliance with the Committee’s recommendations, and how this decision influences pending domestic litigation arising from the maternal death. Alternative approaches include: determining whether, over time, the decision leads to the elimination of discrimination against women of poor, minority racial status in the health sector, and if it narrows the wide gap between rates of maternal mortality of poor, Afro-Brazilian women and the country’s general female population. Determining the effectiveness of this decision will guide whether to pursue a more general strategy of judicializing maternal mortality.

The full text of this article is online here through Readcube.  Click “Save” icon, then “Save PDF.”
Academic subscribers can access the full text of the article as published, with pinpoint references,  through this link.

A Portuguese translation is now online here.

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