Developing Regional Abortion Jurisprudence: Comparative Lessons for African Charter Organs

Congratulations to Professor Charles Ngwena of the Center for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, whose useful article was recently published in the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights (31.1 (2013): 9-40), and, with kind permission from the publisher, is now available online through SSRN.


This article is constructed around an appraisal of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v. Ireland. It seeks to extrapolate comparative lessons for African Charter organs for the development of regional jurisprudence on abortion. It is argued that the A, B and C decision offers positive as well as negative lessons. The positive lessons lie in the holding of the European Court that at a procedural level, domestic abortion laws must be transparent in the sense of being formulated clearly and providing an administrative mechanism for review so as to enable women seeking abortion to exercise their rights effectively. The negative lessons lie in the continued reluctance of the European Court to resolutely affirm abortion rights as substantive rights.

Keywords: abortion; equality; gender; human rights; margin of appreciation; transparency

Full Text of article:   online here through SSRN.

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