“El aborto en Portugal: Nuevas tendencias en el constitucionalismo europeo” por Ruth Rubio-Marín

June 29, 2017
[For Abstracts of original English edition, click here]

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias fue publicado en agosto de 2016 por el Fondo de Cultura Económica y el Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas.  Los primeros cinco capitulos  exploran “Valores Constitucionales y Regímenes Normativos” ilustrando como las cortes constitucionales europeas abandonaron la presunción de que los derechos de las mujeres están en conflicto con el feto. El capitulo de Reva Siegel “La constitucionalización del aborto” (resumen aqui) provee un panorama de esta tendencia, seguido por dos capítulos de países específicos. A continuación se encuentra el resumen del primero de ellos.

Ruth Rubio-Marín, “El aborto en Portugal: Nuevas tendencias en el constitucionalismo europeo,”  El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias, editoras/es  Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman, y Bernard M. Dickens (FCE/CIDE, 2016) págs. 58-81. Ahora disponible: en español,  en inglésy en linea en portugués.

En este segundo capítulo del El aborto en el derecho transnacional, la Prof. Ruth Rubio-Marín explora la constitucionalización del aborto a través de la rica historia constitucional de Portugal y su sentencia más reciente, de 2010, donde el tribunal impulsó el desarrollo del derecho constitucional europeo relativo al aborto, al confirmar la validez del modelo de plazos acompañado de un asesoramiento no disuasorio. Ello, basándose en una interpretación de la Constitución portuguesa que exige que el Estado proteja tanto la vida intrauterina como la autonomía reproductiva de las mujeres. El tribunal reconoce que este régimen protege la vida del feto y que respeta la dignidad y la autonomía de las mujeres como principios constitucionales que merecen ser protegidos. Rubio Marín señala un cambio, que subyace a esta evolución, en la manera en que se percibe a las mujeres embarazadas, las cuales pasan a considerarse como personas responsables, capaces de tomar sus propias decisiones legítimas de manera informada con base en el apoyo y los medios de que disponen, lo que sugiere un curso de acción positivo alternativo para el Estado.

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias es disponible en español    y en inglés.
Descargar: Reseña del libro en Andamios, por Diego Garcia Ricci      
Índice General
Introducción y Prólogo. 

Tabla de Casos/Jurisprudencia en línea con enlaces a muchas de las decisiones judiciales

Capítulos agora on-line em português:
RUBIO-MARÍN, Ruth. “Aborto em Portugal: novas tendências no constitucionalismo europeu.” Revista Direito GV, [S.l.], 13.1 (mai 2017): 358-379. PDF on-line
UNDURRAGA, Veronica, “O princípio da proporcionalidade no controle de constitucionalidade das leis sobre aborto” Revista Publicum, Rio de Janeiro, 2.2.(2016): 15-44.  Resumo e PDF.
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“La constitucionalización del aborto,” por Reva Siegel

June 29, 2017
[For Abstracts of original English edition, click here]

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias fue publicado en agosto de 2016 por el Fondo de Cultura Económica y el Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas.  Los cinco capítulos sobre “Valores Constitucionales y Regímenes Normativos” que componen la primera parte del libro se centran en la evolución de los valores constitucionales asociados con las mujeres y la vida prenatal en múltiples sentencias constitucionales sobre el aborto, y el planteamiento y la protección de estos valores en diversos regímenes jurídicos.

“La constitucionalización del aborto,” por Reva B. Siegel. Capítulo 1 en El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias, editoras/es  Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman, y Bernard M. Dickens (Mexico: FCE/CIDE, 2016), págs. 27-57.

En el primer capítulo se examina el ocaso del paradigma de conflictos de derechos en la normativa del aborto. Pensar el aborto como un conflicto entre los derechos de las mujeres y los derechos del feto parece verdaderamente anticuado. En su estudio sobre la constitucionalización del aborto, Reva Siegel examina cómo, a lo largo del tiempo y en diferentes jurisdicciones, los tribunales han rechazado la visión del aborto como un “juego de suma cero”, en donde considerar más un conjunto de derechos significa, proporcionalmente, menor consideración del otro. Siegel explora el origen y la evolución de la normativa constitucional sobre el aborto y la influencia del movimiento social que ha llevado a los tribunales a reconocer, aceptar e incluso respetar cada vez más la capacidad de las mujeres para tomar decisiones autónomas en relación con el aborto; notablemente respecto al fundamento constitucional de que esto permite una protección más amplia del derecho a la vida del feto. La autora describe cómo en la actualidad los regímenes normativos no se hallan exclusivamente ligados a priorizar uno u otro principio constitucional, sino que validan a cada uno de estos principios contrapuestos para beneficio de ambos.

Este capítulo analiza las sentencias constitucionales del aborto en los Estados Unidos y Alemania, su evolución en el tiempo y su influencia en diversas jurisdicciones. Pero en vez de suponer la existencia de un derecho constitucional al aborto—como lo hace una gran cantidad de literatura—, este capítulo cuestiona cómo ha sido constitucionalizado el aborto.

Este capítulo se divide en tres secciones. La primera sección considera brevemente los avances de las décadas de 1960 y 1970, cuando reformadores de todo tipo persuadieron a las legislaturas de todo el mundo de liberalizar el acceso al aborto; cuando un activo movimiento feminista reclamó por primera vez la revocación de las restricciones al aborto para cumplir con la justicia en favor de las mujeres; cuando los que buscaban preservar la penalización del aborto comenzaron a movilizarse en contra del cambio en nombre del “derecho a la vida”, y cuando los tribunales de cinco naciones emitieron por primera vez sentencias que exponían qué tipo de regulación del aborto se requería o se permitía en sus respectivas constituciones. La segunda sección examina las principales sentencias constitucionales de los Estados Unidos y Alemania, que en conjunto ilustran las diferencias y similitudes de la lógica de la constitucionalización. La sección final de este capítulo trata sobre la lógica del derecho constitucional contemporáneo y considera cómo diversos marcos jurídicos dominantes abordan la cuestión femenina.

La constitucionalización del aborto” fue originalmente publicado como el capitulo 52 del libro The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law, ed. Michael Rosenfeld y Andras Sajo (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias esta disponible en español    y en inglés.
Descargar: Reseña del libro en Andamios, por Diego Garcia Ricci      
Índice General
Introducción y Prólogo. 

Tabla de Casos/Jurisprudencia en línea con enlaces a muchas de las decisiones judiciales

Capítulos agora on-line em português:
RUBIO-MARÍN, Ruth. “Aborto em Portugal: novas tendências no constitucionalismo europeu.” Revista Direito GV, [S.l.], 13.1 (mai 2017): 358-379. PDF on-line
UNDURRAGA, Veronica, “O princípio da proporcionalidade no controle de constitucionalidade das leis sobre aborto” Revista Publicum, Rio de Janeiro, 2.2.(2016): 15-44.  Resumo e PDF.

____________________________________

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Únete a este blog aquí.
Participe deste blog aqui.


Spain: “Gender in Constitutional Discourses on Abortion,” by Blanca Rodríguez-Ruiz

June 29, 2017

Congratulations and thanks to Professor Blanca Rodríguez-Ruiz,  who teaches constitutional law at the University of Seville in Spain, for her useful article, recently published in the international journal, Social & Legal Studies:

Blanca Rodríguez-Ruiz, “Gender in Constitutional Discourses on Abortion: Looking at Spain from a Comparative Perspective,” Social & Legal Studies 25.6 (Dec. 2016): 699-715.
PDF     Download text      Author publications – English and Spanish

Abstract:   In as far as the regulation of abortion deals with issues like how and to what extent can women’s capacity to gestate and give birth be controlled, and by whom, any discourse on abortion necessarily reflects a construction of women’s citizenship, hence of gender.  The question is, which is the ruling construction? Behind non-legal discourses that focus on human life and public power’s duty to protect it, there lies the modern construction of gender that articulates women’s passive citizenship within the state.  This is also true of confrontational discourses that construct women and the foetus as potential adversaries. Both discourses are traditional in continental Europe.  Yet, they are being superseded by an understanding of abortion from the perspective of women’s active citizenship. Spanish Organic Act 2/2010 stands as part of this trend.  Not surprisingly, governmental attempts to reinstate women’s passive citizenship in this matter have met stark resistance.   PDF.     Download text.

Source:  “Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights,” ed. Siobhan Mullally,  symposium issue of Social & Legal Studies: An International Journal 25.6 (Dec 2016)       Introduction, pp. 645-650.

See also:
Catherine O’Rourke, “Advocating Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland: Local and Global Tensions,” Social and Legal Studies 25(6): 716-740.  PDF and abstract       Submitted text

Claire Murray, “The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013: Suicide, Dignity and the Irish Discourse on Abortion“, published in Social and Legal Studies 2016,  25(6): 667-698     PDF and abstract     Accepted text.
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The REPROHEALTHLAW Blog is compiled by the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Canada,  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


“Theorizing Time in Abortion Law” by Joanna N. Erdman

June 29, 2017

Congratulations and thanks to Alicia Ely Yamin, Paola Bergallo, and Marge Berer, guest editors of the Health and Human Rights Journal, issue 19.1,  for their wide-ranging special section on “Abortion and Human Rights” (Table of Contents below), including this article by Prof. Joanna Erdman, MacBain Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law:

Joanna N. Erdman, “Theorizing Time in Abortion Law and Human Rights,” Health and Human Rights 19.1 (June 2017): 29-40. HTML | PDF

The legal regulation of abortion by gestational age, or length of pregnancy, is a relatively undertheorized dimension of abortion and human rights. Yet struggles over time in abortion law, and its competing representations and meanings, are ultimately struggles over ethical and political values, authority and power, the very stakes that human rights on abortion engage. This article focuses on three struggles over time in abortion and human rights law: those related to morality, health, and justice. With respect to morality, the article concludes that collective faith and trust should be placed in the moral judgment of those most affected by the passage of time in pregnancy and by later abortion—pregnant women. With respect to health, abortion law as health regulation should be evidence-based to counter the stigma of later abortion, which leads to overregulation and access barriers. With respect to justice, in recognizing that there will always be a need for abortion services later in pregnancy, such services should be safe, legal, and accessible without hardship or risk.  At the same time, justice must address the structural conditions of women’s capacity to make timely decisions about abortion, and to access abortion services early in pregnancy.

“Abortion and Human Rights” section in Health and Human Rights Journal 19.1:
Contents page.

Narratives of Essentialism and Exceptionalism: The Challenges and Possibilities of Using Human Rights to Improve Access to Safe AbortionAlicia Ely Yamin and Paola Bergallo  HTML | PDF

Abortion Law and Policy Around the World: In Search of Decriminalization  (Discussion) by Marge Berer   HTML | PDF

Theorizing Time in Abortion Law and Human Rights,   Joanna N. Erdman
HTML | PDF

The Dublin Declaration on Maternal Health Care and Anti-Abortion Activism: Examples from Latin America,  Lynn M. Morgan   HTML | PDF

Regulation of Conscientious Objection to Abortion: An International Comparative Multiple-Case Study,  Wendy Chavkin, Laurel Swerdlow, and Jocelyn Fifield  HTML | PDF

The Role of International Human Rights Norms in the Liberalization of Abortion Laws Globally, Johanna B. Fine, Katherine Mayall, and Lilian Sepúlveda   HTML | PDF

Pregnancy and the 40-Year Prison Sentence: How “Abortion is Murder” Became Institutionalized in the Salvadoran Judicial System,  Jocelyn Viterna and Jose Santos Guardado Bautista   HTML | PDF

Pregnancies and Fetal Anomalies Incompatible with Life in Chile: Arguments and Experiences in Advocating for Legal Reform,  Lidia Casas and Lieta Vivaldi   HTML | PDF

Legal Knowledge as a Tool for Social Change: La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres as an Expert on Colombian Abortion Law, Ana Cristina González Vélez and Isabel Cristina Jaramillo   HTML | PDF

The Battle Over Abortion Rights in Brazil’s State Arenas, 1995-2006, by Marta Rodriguez De Assis Machado and Débora Alves Maciel    HTML | PDF

Abortion Rights Legal Mobilization in the Peruvian Media, 1990–2015, by Camila Gianella   HTML | PDF

The Moderating Influence of International Courts on Social Movements: Evidence from the IVF Case Against Costa Rica, by Julieta Lemaitre and Rachel Sieder   HTML | PDF

Why is a “Good Abortion Law” Not Enough? The Case of Estonia,  by Liiri Oja   HTML | PDF

Macro- and Micro-Political Vernaculizations of Rights: Human Rights and Abortion Discourses in Northern Ireland  by Claire Pierson and Fiona Bloomer  HTML | PDF

Exploring Legal Restrictions, Regulatory Reform, and Geographic Disparities in Abortion Access in Thailand  by Grady Arnott, Grace Sheehy, Orawee Chinthakanan, and Angel M. Foster    HTML | PDF

Decriminalization and Women’s Access to Abortion in Australia, by Barbara Baird   HTML | PDF

Australia: Abortion and Human Rights, by Ronli Sifris and Suzanne Belton   HTML | PDF

PERSPECTIVE Abortion Care in Nepal, 15 Years after Legalization: Gaps in Access, Equity, and Quality, by Wan-Ju Wu, Sheela Maru, Kiran Regmi, and Indira Basnett   HTML | PDF

 


The REPROHEALTHLAW Blog is compiled by the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Canada,  reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca and @reprohealthlaw.   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


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – June 2017

June 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

[Ireland]  Siobhàn Whelan v. Ireland, Comm. No. 2425/2014:  Ireland 12/06/2017, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/119/D/2425/2014 (UN Human Rights Committee), 12 June 2017, [Woman forced to travel to the UK for an abortion after fatal fetal abnormality diagnosis.  Abortion laws are “cruel and inhumane.”]   English decision.   Newspaper report. Press release from Center for Reproductive Rights.

[Northern Ireland]  R (on the application of A and B) v Secretary of State for Health, decision of  [2017] UKSC 41, June 14, 2017 (Supreme Court, U.K.) [ruled that girl from Northern Ireland, aged 15, was not entitled to NHS-funded abortion in England] Decision onlineComments by Sheelagh McGuinness and Keith Syrett.  Newspaper report.

RESOURCES

[abortion law: gestational age]  “Theorizing Time in Abortion Law & Human Rights,” by Joanna N. Erdman, in: Health and Human Rights Journal 19.1 (June 2017): 29-40.  Theorizing Time text. Download PDFSpecial issue on “Abortion and Human Rights.”

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies” ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman, and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014)  Penn Press (discount code: PH70).   Review by Francisca Pou Giménez.    Spanish edition: (FCE/CIDE, 2016)     Reseña por Diego Garcia Ricci.
Traduções para portugues:
Capítulo 2: “Aborto em Portugal: novas tendências no constitucionalismo europeu,” por Ruth Rubio-Marín, Revista Direito GV São Paulo 13.1(jan./abr. 2017): 356-379 DOI: 10.1590/2317-6172201714  Tradução para o português.
Capítulo 4: “O princípio da proporcionalidade no controle de constitucionalidade das leis sobre aborto, por Verónica Undurraga, Publicum 2.2 (2016)   Tradução para o português.

[abortion law, Spain]  “Gender in Constitutional Discourses on Abortion: Looking at Spain from a Comparative Perspective,” by Blanca Rodriguez-Ruiz, Social & Legal Studies 2016, Vol. 25(6) 699–715, DOI: 10.1177/0964663916668251. ” PDF for academic subscribers.    Submitted Version.  (from special issue on “Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights” by Siobhàn Mullally, (Introduction to special issue).

[conscientious objection, Latin America]  “Refusing Reproductive Health Services on Grounds of Conscience in Latin America:  Challenging policies and practises based on human rights standards,” by Diya Uberoi and Beatriz Galli in  SUR International Journal on Human Rights, 24 (Dec 2016)  [special issue on “Women: Movements, successes and obstacles” Overview.  English edition.    Spanish edition.    Portuguese edition.

—-See also:  Conscientious objection:  Articles and projects of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.  Download Conscientious objection resources.

[contraception, Uganda]  “Controlling Women’s Fertility in Uganda,” by Sylvia Tamale in SUR International Journal on Human Rights, 24 (Dec 2016)  [special issue on “Women: Movements, successes and obstacles”]  English edition.   Spanish editionPortuguese edition.

“Female Genital Cutting (Mutilation/ Circumcision): Ethical and Legal Dimensions,” by  R. J. Cook,  B.M. Dickens, and M.F. Fathalla (2002) 79 International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics : 281-287.  English abstract and article.
new Turkish translation: “Kadın Sünneti (Sakatlama/Sünnet): Etik ve Hukuki Boyutlar,” trans. Mustafa Erçakıca, in Beykent Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi Dergisi 2.4 (Dec. 2016): 111-121.  Turkish download.

“Gender Stereotyping in the Military: Insights from Court Cases,” by Rebecca Cook and Cornelia Weiss, in Stereotypes and Human Rights Law, ed. Eva Brems and Alexandra Timmer (eds.), (Antwerp, Belgium: Intersentia, 2016) 175-198.  Submitted text.    PDF (online after June 2018)  About the book.

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

JOBS

Links to 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.


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – May 2017

May 26, 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

Argentina:  Juzgado Nacional en lo Criminal de Instrucción 16, Secretaría 111 de la Capital Federal, causa 28.580/2015, “M.N.N.”  (28 de Junio de 2016).  National Criminal Court held a woman and the doctors who prescribed her abortion medications, not guilty of any crime because the woman’s health was at risk. The woman was pregnant because her partner raped her.  English summarySpanish summary.   Download decision in Spanish.

Colombia:  Constitutional Court blocked sterilization of a disabled girl who was too young to consent.   English summarySpanish summary with link to decision.

India:   Indu Devi v the State of Bihar [2017] No(s.) 14327, decided May 9, 2017 (Supreme Court of India). Destitute HIV+ woman, pregnant from rape, refused abortion past legal limit of 20 weeks, but State held responsible for delay that prevented legal abortion.  Summary by H. Kofman forthcoming on this blog  Decision download 

Uruguay:  Woman refused legal abortion after former partner intervenes.   Summary in EnglishSpanish summary with link to decision. Safe Abortion Campaign report.

CALLS

Gender Justice Uncovered Awards: Nominations for best and worst court decisions.  Many striking cases and decisions summarized, e.g., Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay decisions mentioned above.    Vote before May 31, 2017

Call for Submissions: “Gender Violence and International Human Rights Law” for the 2018 Human Rights Essay Award, organized by Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington DC.   Submission Information and form.

Open Call for Submissions, McGill Journal of Law and Health, peer-reviewed. Details and Editorial Guidelines.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

Graduate study in Health Law now available at the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, University of Ottawa, currently accepting LLM and PhD applications on a rolling basis for the 2017-2018 academic year.    Brochure online.

RESOURCES

“Abortion by telemedicine: an equitable option for Irish women,” by Wendy V. Norman and Bernard M. Dickens,  BMJ May 16, 2017; 357 Article online.

[abortion, Canada] “A Constitutional Future for Abortion Rights in Canada,” by Joanna Erdman, Alberta Law Review 54.3(2017):727-752   Article online.

[abortion, Europe]  “Legal and Political Discourses on Women’s Right to Abortion,” by Christina Zampas,  chapter 1 in:  A Fragmented Landscape: Abortion Governance and Protest Logics in Europe, ed.  Silvia De Zordo, Joanna Mishtal, and Lorena Anton   (New York: Berghahn, 2016)  Details from Publisher

[abortion law] “Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights” by Siobhan Mullally, introduction to special issue of Social & Legal Studies: An International Journal, 2016, Vol.25(6) . Introduction online.

[abortion law]  “Book Review: Francisca Pou Giménez on Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna Erdman and Bernard M. Dickens’s Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies”, on I-CONnect, Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law and Constitution Making, May 17, 2017  Book review online.   (Penn Press discount code: PH70).    Spanish edition, FCE/CIDE, 2016

[abortion law pedagogy] “The Social Life of Abortion Law: On Personal and Political Pedagogy,” by Nicky Priaulx, Medical Law Review 25.1(2017):73-98.  Download abstract and PDF.

[abortion travel]  “The Law of Stigma, Travel, and the Abortion-Free Island,” Columbia Journal of Gender & Law 33.1(2016): 29-37.  PDF online.

[conscience]  “Physicians, Not Conscripts — Conscientious Objection in Health Care,” by Ronit Y. Stahl and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, New England J Medicine 376 (April 6, 2017):  1380-85.  Full text for institutional subscribers

[Ireland]  The Citizens’ Assembly – Draft Bill [recommendations for Irish abortion law reform] by Lawyers for Choice, Human Rights in Ireland, April 25, 2017  Draft Bill online.

[Nigeria]  “Accountability for Maternal Healthcare Services in Nigeria,” by Onyema Afulukwe, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 137.2(May 2017) 220-226.  Abstract.  PDF temporarily online for 12 months   Submitted text (typescript) online.

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)   re-imagines, re-writes and comments on 26 court decisions from feminist perspectives.  Our commentsTable of Contents and details

[South Africa]  Pregnancy Law in South Africa: Between Reproductive Autonomy and Foetal Interests, by Camilla Pickles (South Africa: Juta, 2017), (based on thesis from University of Pretoria,  Thesis abstract   Book details from publisher

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

REPORTS

“The Law, Trials and Imprisonment  for Abortion in [individual countries].”  International Campaign for Safe Abortion.  MexicoArgentina,  Kenya .

JOBS

Associate Professor/Professor and Assistant Director, Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria.  Position details.

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.


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).