Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments – re-imagining court decisions

May 26, 2017

Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments: Judges’ Troubles and the Gendered Politics of Identity, edited by Máiréad Enright, Julie McCandless and Aoife O’Donoghue (Oxford: Hart, 2017) (available here) is the most recent of a series of insightful studies on re-imagining court decisions from feminist perspectives.[1]    The volume includes rewrites and commentaries on 26 cases from Ireland or Northern Ireland, including:

Attorney General v. X, [1992] I.E.S.C. 1, (Supreme Court of Ireland) had decided that an attempt to prevent a 14-year old girl who was pregnant as a result of being raped, from traveling from Ireland to England in order to access abortion care was not justified.  Actual decision online.

In Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments. Ruth Fletcher rewrites the Irish Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the X case.Sheelagh McGuinness writes a commentary on it, explaining the ways in which Fletcher J. illustrates how the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution (acknowledging the “right to life of the unborn… with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother…”) is an instrument of gendered harms.  McGuinness contrasts the “progressive constitutionalism” of Fletcher J.’s reasoning with the “conservative constitutionalism” of the original judgment. Fletcher J. crafts a judgment that considers the text of the Eighth Amendment, examines the evidence of the substantial difference between the contingency of unborn life and the life of the pregnant woman that sustains that life to decide, consistently with the original judgment, that X is entitled to an abortion. She tries to rise above her own partiality by putting herself in X’s shoes to explain how her pregnancy in such circumstances would impose “an impracticable burden on her rightful life.”
ONLINE:  Ruth Fletcher’s imagined decision: working paper version
Sheelagh McGuinness’s commentary: peer review version

McGee v. Attorney General,[1974] I.R. 284 (Supreme Court of Ireland), which had overturned a criminal ban on the importation of contraceptives into Ireland. Actual decision online.

Emilie Cloatre and Máiréad Enright write the commentary on Enright’s rewriting of the Irish Supreme Court’s decision in the McGee case, where Enright J. reached the same decision but for different reasons. They explore the ways that Enright J. acknowledged Mrs. McGee’s experiences in trying to access effective contraception to enable her to plan her family in ways that did not seriously risk her life.  Of particular note is the way in which Enright J. elaborated how Mrs. McGee’s right to freedom of conscience was a basis for overturning the importation ban: “There can be no clearer example, in my view, of the exercise of constitutionally protected conscience than Mrs. McGee’s deliberate breach of a provision of the criminal law that imposes a particular set of moral principles on the citizenry.”

[1] Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments-Judges’ Troubles and the Gendered Politics of Identity, ed. Máiréad Enright, Julie McCandless and Aoife O’Donoghue (Oxford: Hart, 2017) (book details).  Other insightful studies on re-imagining court decisions from feminist perspectives  include:  Rewriting Equality (2006) 18(1); R. Hunter, C.McGlynn and E. Rackley (eds.) Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice (Oxford: Hart, 2010); H. Douglas, F. Bartlett, T. Luker and R. Hunter (eds.), Australian Feminist Judgments: Righting and Rewriting Law (Oxford: Hart, 2015); K. Stanchi, L. Berger and B. Crawford (eds.), U.S. Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court (Cambridge: CUP, 2016).


Nigeria: Accountability for maternal healthcare services

May 26, 2017

Many thanks to to Onyema Afulukwe-Eruchalu for writing this useful new article in the Ethical and Legal Issues section of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.  She currently serves as Senior Legal Adviser for Africa at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Afulukwe-Eruchalu, O. (2017), Accountability for maternal healthcare services in Nigeria. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 137.2 (May 2017); 137: 220–226.  DOI:10.1002/ijgo.12108   PDF online for 12 months.     Submitted text online.

High maternal mortality ratios (MMRs) serve as objective indicators of the poor condition of women’s health in any country and point to violations of human rights that are entrenched in national, regional, and global laws. For more than a decade, Nigeria has consistently been one of the top five listed countries with the highest MMRs in the world; in 2015, its MMR was estimated at 814 deaths per 100 000 live births, accounting for 19% of maternal deaths worldwide and approximately 58 000 deaths each year. Accountability for preventable maternal deaths and injuries is essential to both achieve and sustain a reduction in Nigeria’s high levels of maternal mortality. The present article addresses key human rights strategies for securing accountability, and identifies opportunities for healthcare providers to have leadership roles in the fulfillment of legal and ethical obligations to preserve women’s lives.
Free access to PDF online for 12 months
Submitted text (typescript) online.

See also:

Afulukwe-Eruchalu O. “Accountability for Non-Fulfilment of Human
Rights Obligations: A Key Strategy for Reducing Maternal Mortality
and Morbidity in Sub-Saharan Africa,” in Strengthening the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the African region through human rights, ed. Charles Ngwena and Ebenezer Durojaye (Pretoria: Pretoria University Law Press (PULP); 2014) 119–151.  Free PDF book.
Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015. (Geneva: World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Population Fund, World Bank Group, United Nations Population Division, 2015). Free PDF report.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive and Sexual Health – Articles from previous issues of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics are all online here.
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REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – April 2017

April 25, 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.

DEVELOPMENT

[Croatia, abortion] Constitutional Court reaffirmed that women’s access to abortion is protected under their constitutional rights to liberty, personality, and privacy.  Rješenje Ustavnog Suda Republike Hrvatske, broj: U-I-60/1991 i dr. od 21.veljace 2017.
Decision online in Croatian     Amicus brief in English by CRR

CALLS FOR PAPERS:

“Women’s Human Rights” including theory and activism, for special issue of Canadian Woman Studies/Les cahiers de la femme, guest edited by: Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, Alda Facio, Angela Lytle, Angela Miles, and Patricia Nyaundi.  Submit by April 30, 2017    Detailed call for papers.   Submission guide.

Anti-Discrimination Law Review, newly launched, peer reviewed journal.  Submit papers 6,000-10,000 words. Information for authors.

Call for abstracts  “1997-2017: 20 years after the Oviedo Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine: What are the achieved gains and its potential? international conference at European University (December 8-9, Nicosia, Cyprus)  Submit 300 word abstract by July 1, 2017.  Flyer with Call for abstracts.    Conference details.

Conference:  “Difficult Conversations: Thinking and talking About Women, Genders and Sexualities Inside and Outside the Academy”  The Seventeenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders and Sexualities.  Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., U.S.A.,  June 1-4, 2017

COURSES:

Summer “Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law,”
Academy of Human Rights, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington D.C.  Classes start May 30, 2017.  Apply by May 1, 2017.  Details.  Choose from 20 Courses, 9 in English and 11 in Spanish.  Course list.

Summer school on Health Law and Ethics (1 or 2 weeks) The Erasmus Observatory on Health Law / Institute of Health Policy & Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam)  Course details and registration.

RESOURCES

[abortion] “Taking Abortion Rights Seriously: Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt” by Kate Greasley,  The Modern Law Review 80.2 (March 2017): 325-338.  Open access article.

[abortion law – Australia] Children by Choice website highlights Australian abortion law and practice –  Links to recent legal reform bills

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 also in paperback, 20% discount code PH70.  Available from U Penn Press.

[abortion law – Spanish]    El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias,  ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman y Bernard M. Dickens (Mexico: FCE/CIDE, 2016)   De venta: Fondo de Cultura Económica Libreria CIDE.

[abortion policy] “Towards a non-ethics-based consensual public policy on abortion,” by David Alvargonzález, (philosophy professor in Spain).  The International Journal of Health Planning and Management 32.1 (Jan-Mar 2017): e39-46. Article or Abstract.

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

NEWS

[abortion, Brazil] Petition to Supreme Court of Brazil March 7, 2017, seeks decriminalization of abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The petition was filed by the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), with support from Anis – Institute of Bioethics.  Press release.

[abortion, Canada – coverage]  Expert panel endorses public coverage for abortion pill (mifepristone + misoprostol), under brand name “Mifegymiso”.  Newspaper reportExpert recommendations and reasoning

[abortion – Kenya]  Recent cases of women dying while procuring abortion, clinic proprietor arrested. Safe Abortion update.

[abortion, Uruguay]  Judge denies termination of 10-week pregnancy, siding with ex-boyfriend.  Woman miscarried due to stress, mistreatment and public exposure; she plans to sue judge.  News media.    Update from Safe Abortion campaign.

[conscience, Canada]  Doctors, pharmacists push back on medical abortion rules    Colleges of physicians and pharmacists suggest off-label workaround for Health Canada’s restrictions on dispensing the abortion drug Mifegymiso   CMAJ News

[conscience, Canada]  Christian Medical and Dental Society v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). objecting to rules requiring Ontario doctors to refer patients seeking abortions, etc.  Hearings scheduled June 13-15, 2017   Newspaper report.

[conscience, Ghana] Provider obstruction: a major threat to critical maternal health services in Northern Ghana, Global Doctors for Choice-Ghana study results.

[conscience, Italy]:  UN Human Rights Committee Concluding Observations CCPR/C/ITA/CO/6 criticizes Italy for lack of non-objecting doctors.  HRC report in English.
Parliamentary study found that 70% object.  Hospital in Rome advertises for non-objecting doctors. CRUX Catholic newsletter

[conscience, Sweden]: Swedish court upholds ruling against midwife (Grimmark) claiming conscientious objection.  Midwife is funded by wealthy US prochoice alliance  Article by Safe Abortion Women’s Right

JOBS

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

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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.


Northern Ireland: Advocating Abortion Rights – Local and Global Tensions

April 25, 2017
Congratulations to Dr. Catherine O’Rourke of the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, Northern Ireland.  Her useful journal article was recently published in a special issue of Social & Legal Studies,  guest-edited by Siobhan Mullally, on “Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights”:

Catherine O’Rourke “Advocating Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland: Local and Global Tensions,” Social and Legal Studies 25 (6). pp. 716-740.
Published PDF       Submitted text (accepted after minor revisions)

Abstract:       It is frequently claimed that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is more significant for the cultural, rather than legal, work that it does in reframing locally contested gender issues as the subject of international human rights. While this argument is well developed in respect of violence against women, CEDAW’s cultural traction is less clear in respect of women’s right to access safe and legal abortion. This article examines the request made jointly by Alliance for Choice, the Family Planning Association Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform to the CEDAW Committee to request an inquiry under the CEDAW Optional Protocol into access to abortion in the jurisdiction. The study found that the CEDAW framework was useful in underpinning alliances between diverse pro-choice organizations but less effective in securing the support of ‘mainstream’ human rights organizations in the jurisdiction. The article argues that the local cultural possibilities of CEDAW must be understood as embedded within both the broader structural gendered limitations of international human rights law and persistent regressive gendered sub-themes within mainstream human rights advocacy.
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For full text of this article, see:
“Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights”:  special issue of Social & Legal Studies, ed. Siobhan Mullally and Clare Murray:  Table of Contents
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Canada: “Autonomy, Equality, and Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care”

April 25, 2017

 

Congratulations and thanks to Prof. Erin Nelson of the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law, whose article on social disparities of sexual and reproductive health care access in Canada has just been published:

Erin Nelson,  “Autonomy, Equality and Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care.”  Alberta Law Review (2017) 54:3 (2017): 707-26  Full text PDF.

The focus of this article is on access to sexual and reproductive health care, an essential aspect of reproductive justice. Although the scope of the problem is unknown, there are reasons to question whether Canadian women are able to access reproductive and sexual health services such as contraception and abortion. The author discusses these issues, and the significance of additional barriers that Canada’s First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women face in obtaining access to reproductive health care services. The author argues that providing meaningful access to sexual and reproductive health care is essential to ensuring women’s reproductive autonomy, and must be part of any political endeavour aimed at ensuring equal status for women.

The full text of this article  is online here in PDF.

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REPROHEALTHLAW Updates — March 2017

March 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:
Caso I.V. v. Bolivia,   Sentencia de 30  Noviembre de 2016 (Excepciones Preliminares, Fondo, Reparaciones y Costas) Corte InterAmericana de Derechos Humanos [Inter-American Court of Human Rights]Decision 2016 in SpanishCase summary by Christina Zampas.  Amicus Curiae brief by Ciara O’Connell, Diana Guarnizo-Peralta and Cesar Rodriguez-Garavito in English.   Report on the Merits (2014) in English

Kenya Legal and Ethical Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN) & 3 others v Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health & 4 others [2016] Petition 250 of 2015 (High Court of Kenya Constitutional and Human Rights Division).  [Official collection of Kenyans’ HIV data halted, as “unconstitutional”]  Decision onlineComment from Jurist Blog.

[Kenya] Martin C.   v. Republic, Criminal Appeal No. 32 of 2015, April 26, 2016 (High Court of Kenya, at Malindi).  [sexual relationship between adult man of 23 and girl of 14 is not “defilement” because she sought it.  Prisoner released.]  Decision online.  {Summary by Godfrey Kangaude forthcoming on this blog.}

[South Africa] Dwenga and Others v Surgeon-General of the South African Military Health Services and Others [2014] ZAGPPHC 727, Case No. 40844/2013, the High Court at North Gauteng. [against discrimination toward HIV+ employees in the military.]  Summary for Legal Grounds III.    Decision online.

[South Africa] Gary Shane Allpass v Mooikloof Estates (Pty) Ltd. [2011], Case No. JS178/09, a Labour Court of South Africa.  [wrongful dismissal of HIV-positive employee].  Summary for Legal Grounds III.   Decision online.

CALLS:

Calls for Papers, Special Issue on “Gender and the Rise of the Global Right,” in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Submit by September 15, 2017,  Detailed call for papers.

Callls for Applications, “Health Rights Litigation Intensive” June 26-30, 2017, one-week summer course at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, at Georgetown University Law Center, Washington DC, USA.  Apply by April 10, 2017.  HR Litigation course info.

Gender Justice Uncovered awards 2017, is collecting the best and worst court decisions from 2016.  Nominate your best or worst case here in English.  Nomina tu caso ya  en Espanol.

RESOURCES

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman and Bernard M. Dickens, Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights Series, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. 
New 20% discount code: PH70.  Now in paperback (March 2017), 
Table of Contents.    Introduction online at SSRN.  Table of Cases online (Spanish and English, with links to court decisions.   ¡Ahora en español! El aborto en el derecho transnacional (CIDE/FCE, 2016)  folleto con sumario 

Brazilian Supreme Court abortion ruling – I-CONnect blog symposium of scholarly comments from five perspectives:  Rebecca J. Cook and Bernard M. Dickens, Chao-ju Chen; Grégor Puppinck; Debora Diniz and Christine Ricardo; and Rachel Rebouché. 5 perspectives on Brazilian abortion ruling.

Brazilian dossier on “Gênero, Raça e Pobreza: a abordagem de múltiplas identidades pelo Direito” [Gender, Race and Poverty: The Multiple Identities Approach to Law] Revista FGV Direito 22(2015), ed. Marta Machado, online here.  includes articles in Portuguese or English with abstracts in both languages, about: domestic violence laws, CEDAW, maternity in prison, and research in prisons (by D. Diniz), and abortion, i.e.:
—[South Africa, abortion] “Claiming and Defending Abortion Rights in South Africa” / Reivindicando e defendendo o direito ao aborto na África do Sul” by Cathi Albertyn, Revista FGV Direito 22 (2015): 429-454   English article with Portuguese abstract.

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

JOBS

Links to other 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 African rulings uphold rights of HIV+ employees

March 29, 2017

Many thanks to Godfrey Kangaude, LL.M. (UFS), LL.M. (UCLA), now an LL.D. candidate with the University of Pretoria and Executive Director of Nyale Institute for Sexual and Reproductive Health Governance in Malawi, for composing and/or editing summaries of 54 recent African court decisions for Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts, published in 2017 by Pretoria University Law Press (PULP).  All three volumes in the series are freely available in print or electronic form.

Two of the court decisions summarized in Legal Grounds III clearly upheld the rights of HIV-positive persons against discrimination, including  unjust dismissal, and exclusion from certain job opportunities.

Gary Shane Allpass v Mooikloof Estates (Pty) Ltd. [2011], Case No. JS178/09, a Labour Court of South Africa upheld the rights to equality and non-discrimination of HIV-positive persons in the workplace.  The Court ruled that a horse-riding instructor’s dismissal from employment for HIV-positivity was automatically unfair in terms of Section 187(1)(f) of the Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995, because the reason for dismissal was his  HIV status, and was not justifiable on any other ground.   Summary for Legal Grounds III.   Decision online.

Dwenga and Others v Surgeon-General of the South African Military Health Services and Others [2014] ZAGPPHC 727, Case No. 40844/2013, the High Court at North Gauteng  reinforced an earlier ruling against discrimination toward HIV+ individuals employed by the military.  The South African National Defence Force had violated its own policies, and was unable to provide any evidence to suggest that the requisite health required for the positions sought by the Applicants could not be achieved by a person infected with HIV.  Summary for Legal Grounds III.    Decision online.

As Godfrey Kangaude emphasized regarding the Dwenga case: “Discriminatory attitudes and practices against persons with HIV are still prevalent in our societies, despite the progress that many countries have made in terms of putting in place public policies to curb these forms of discrimination. Having legislation in place or even a court decision is sometimes not enough incentive, even for public institutions such as the army, to end discriminatory practices. The Court commented that public institutions should be exemplary in complying with constitutional norms and standards, such as respect and protection of the rights of persons living with HIV. (Legal Grounds III, page 188)

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Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts (Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2017) covers decisions from 2008 to 2016.   228 pages, 54 case summaries, onlineFlyer with Table of Contents.

Legal Grounds I and Legal Grounds II (Center for Reproductive Rights, 2005 and 2010) are online here.
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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.