ECSR conscience decision vs Italy: taking it one step further

In IPPF-EN v Italy (2017) the European Committee of Social Rights addressed widespread conscientious objection as an obstacle to lawful abortion in Italy. Congratulations and thanks to three legal scholars, Emmanuelle Bribosia, Ivana Isailovic, and Isabelle Rorive, all from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), whose reconsideration of this decision has been published in an anthology of rewritten decisions.  We are pleased to circulate the abstract and link to the working paper on which the chapter is based:

“Objection ladies! Taking IPPF-EN v Italy one step further,” by Emmanuelle Bribosia, Ivana Isailovic and Isabelle Rorive, in Integrated Human Rights in Practice-Rewriting Human Rights Decisions, ed. Eva Brems and Ellen Desmet (Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 2017) 261-285. About the book.
Working paper PDF online.

Abstract:  This paper proposes to reconsider the decision of the European Committee of Social Rights in International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF-EN) v. Italy which addresses the regulation of the practice of the conscientious objection, using an integrated approach to human rights. More specifically, it argues that the use of different human rights instruments – broadly defined — could have led the Committee to adopt a gendered approach to the legal questions it had to tackle. By adopting this approach, we intend to challenge Committee’s reasoning on two fronts: first, we argue that its interpretation of the right to health fails to account for the specific violation of women’s right to access to health services. Second, we show how this gendered approach could have modified Committee’s approach to discrimination raised by the plaintiff.


Summary of IPPF-EN v. Italy decision:  in Reprohealthlaw blog

Annotated Bibliography on the Right to Conscience:  May 2019 update, online here.

Compiled by: the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at   See Program website for our PublicationsInformation resources, and Reprohealthlaw Commentaries Series.
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