Abortion by Telemedicine in Northern Ireland: Patient and Professional Rights Across Borders

March 30, 2018

Congratulations to Professors Tamara K. Hervey of the University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Law, and Sally Sheldon of Kent Law School, whose insightful article was recently published in the Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly.  We thank them for putting their submitted text online, with the publisher’s permission: .

Tamara K. Hervey and Sally Sheldon, “Abortion by Telemedicine in Northern Ireland: Patient and Professional Rights Across Borders,” (2017) 68(1) NILQ 1-33.  Article in NILQ.       Submitted Text online at SSRN.

Abstract

The uneasy legal and political settlement regarding abortion in Northern Ireland has long relied on the outsourcing of aspects of reproductive health care. While local health services offer only highly restricted access to termination procedures, women travel to access abortion services elsewhere. However, technological changes, in particular the development of abortifacient medicines, are revolutionising this aspect of reproductive healthcare. Rather than women having to travel to a service, today that service can travel to women through the postal supply of abortion pills, sourced via the internet. While online supply of pharmaceuticals can pose potential public health risks, at least two groups offer safe and effective telemedical services to women in Northern Ireland. Women on Web and Women Help Women each supply abortion pills, under prescription from a doctor based in another country, to women who wish to end a pregnancy of nine weeks or less. Here, we consider the extent to which the telemedical abortion services that they offer are protected by transnational law, in particular, EU provisions on cross-border services. This offers new and hitherto unexplored lines of legal argument (including defences against criminal prosecution and challenges to a state’s attempts to restrict the flow of services). Through claiming the autonomy-based legal relationships implicit in transnational law and the power that flows therefrom, we suggest, women may challenge regulatory arrangements which seek to limit their reproductive rights.

For full text, see:   Article in NILQ.       Submitted Text online at SSRN.


Ireland must comply with international human rights including HRC rulings in Whelan and Mellet cases

January 31, 2018

Many thanks to Mercedes Cavallo, a doctoral candidate in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, and a Reproductive Health Law Fellow,  for analyzing these two key Irish cases for readers of this blog:

On October 18, 2017, the Irish Oireachtas (Parliamentary) Joint Committee on Abortion recommended 15-2-2 not to fully retain the Eighth Amendment restrictions on abortion.   Irish abortion laws are among the most restrictive in the world and have been condemned by the UN Human Rights Committee in the cases of Whelan v. Ireland and Mellet v. Ireland.  Under the Irish Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Ireland in Attorney General v. X and Others, abortion is a crime and is only permissible when it is established, as a matter of probability, that there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the pregnant woman.

In addition, the “Abortion Information Act” 1995 restricts circumstances in which individuals (including health professionals) can provide information about legal abortion services in Ireland or abroad, and criminalizes “advocating or promoting” the termination of pregnancy.  Due to the constraints of this legal framework, women who need abortions in Ireland usually travel to the United Kingdom, with little information and no financial or psychological support from the State.

In the Whelan and Mellet. cases, the UN’s Human Rights Committee found Ireland non-compliant in denying abortion services and grief counselling to two women who had each been pregnant with a doomed foetus.

Siobhán Whelan, at 20 weeks pregnant, was informed that her foetus had a congenital malformation and would likely die in utero, during labor, or soon after birth. Her obstetrician mentioned that “in another jurisdiction [she] would be offered a termination but obviously not in this country due to Irish law.” The obstetrician expected Ms. Whelan to “continue with the pregnancy, attend ante-natal appointments ‘as normal’ and wait for nature to take its course.” Another doctor gave her a report of the scan, “in case [she] wanted to travel.”  She sought further information about travel, but most agencies could only assist women who were less than 13 weeks pregnant, so she learned about the Liverpool Women’s Hospital through a friend. At significant expense, she arranged babysitting, leave from work and farm relief.  Afterwards, she felt very isolated, and suffers from complicated grief and trauma.

Amanda Jane Mellet was 21 weeks pregnant when she was told that her foetus had congenital defects and would die in utero or shortly after birth.  Hospital staff said only that abortions were not available in Ireland and that some people “choose to travel.” The midwife advised her to contact an Irish family planning organization for information and counseling. Her doctor attempted to dissuade her from travelling to the UK for abortion. Only 12 hours after the abortion, she travelled to Ireland because she could not afford a longer stay in the U.K.  Upon her return, she was denied access to grief counselling. She still suffers from complicated grief and unresolved trauma.

In both cases, the Committee ruled that Ireland had violated the women’s rights to privacy (article 17), equality/non discrimination (article 26) and freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (article 7), under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  To make amends, the Committee required Ireland to pay full reparations to both women, make psychological treatment available to them, and take measures to prevent similar violations in the future.  According to the Committee, “the State party should amend its law on voluntary termination of pregnancy, including if necessary its Constitution, to ensure compliance with the Covenant, ensuring effective, timely and accessible procedures for pregnancy termination in Ireland, and take measures to ensure that health-care providers are in a position to supply full information on safe abortion services without fearing they will be subjected to criminal sanctions” (Mellet, para. 9).

In Mellet, Judge Nigel Rodley concurred that “the refusal of the State party to allow for terminations even in the case of fatal foetal abnormality cannot even be justified as being for the protection of the (potential) life of the foetus. In addition, not only has article 7 [prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment under ICCPR] been violated cumulatively … but by the very requirement that a pregnant woman carrying a doomed foetus is subjected to the anguish of having to carry the pregnancy to term.”(Mellet p.25).

As human rights expert Christina Zampas testified (2:27-2:45) before an Irish  parliamentary committee, Ireland is obligated to comply with international human rights law, including these two decisions: “The urgency of the human rights concerns in Ireland is reflected in serious human rights violations amounting to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as found in the Mellet and Whelan cases. The UN Human Rights Committee held in these two cases that prohibiting and criminalising abortion in situations of fatal foetal impairment subjected these women to conditions of intense physical and mental suffering, and that no justification could be invoked, nor were there extenuating circumstances to excuse such harm.”

 So far, these decisions only represent a victory for the two victims.  The Human Rights Committee ignored that the criminalization of abortion in Ireland discriminates against women on grounds of sex and gender. The Committee decided that the women’s right to equality was violated only because other women who had had spontaneous miscarriages in Ireland could access counselling services, but they could not.

Equal treatment on grounds of sex and gender demands accommodation of the biological differences between men and women in reproduction,2 not endorsement of a false legal equality created by men for men.  Both decisions overlooked that the criminalization of abortion discriminates against women because it is a medical procedure that only women need, whereas the Irish legal system does not criminalize any medical procedure that only men need. Fortunately, concurring opinions by Committee members Yadh Ben Achour and Sarah Cleveland exemplify jurisprudence that strives to understand the perspectives of women in difficult situations.

It remains to be seen whether Irish government initiatives and a referendum this year, will bring Irish law into compliance with international human rights law.

Related resources:

Ireland:  Irish Government announces referendum on abortion, by Christina Zampas, Reprohealthlaw Blog, January 31, 2017.  Commentary online.

These are #115 and #116 in our Reprohealthlaw Commentaries Series. 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.

 


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – Nov. 2017

November 30, 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

Northern Ireland:  Low-income women seeking free abortions will receive government travel grants. Newspaper

 CONFERENCES

“Abortion in the British Isles, France and North America since 1800,”    International Conference organised by the University of Paris-Sorbonne (research group HDEA, EA 4086), in Paris (France), 6-8 November 2018.  Registration fee  Submit 500-word abstract and short CV by Dec 23, 2017.  Conference details.

SCHOLARSHIP:

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 Spanish (see next entry) and in paperback, 20% discount code PH70.  English edition from U Penn Press.  Table of Contents with chapter summaries. 
Abortion Decisions Online
—-El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias
,  ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman y Bernard M. Dickens (Mexico: FCE/CIDE, 2016)   En espanol, 2016: Fondo de Cultura Económica Libreria CIDE.     Índice con resúmenes de capítulos 1-11
Decisiones Judiciales sobre aborto en línea

About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First Century America,  by Carol Sanger (Harvard UP, 2017)   Book details

“The Abortion Closet (with a Note on Rules and Standards),” by David Pozen, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Vol. 35, pp. 161-166, 2017. draws out some implications of Sanger’s arguments concerning abortion secrecy, abortion discourse, and the use of standards in constitutional abortion law.  Abstract and article

 

[Colombia, conscience]  Criminal Scopes of the Doctor Conscientious Objection in the Cases of Lawful Abortion in Colombia; Alcances penales de la objeción de conciencia del médico en el aborto lícito en Colombia; Âmbitos penales da objeção de consciência em o médico, by Juan Francisco Mendoza Perdomo, IUSTA 2:37 (2012) doctoral research, Summary in Spanish, English and Portuguese

[Europe] “Mandatory Waiting Periods and Biased Abortion Counseling in Central and Eastern Europe by Leah Hoctor and Adriana Lamačkova,  Int J Gynecol Obstet, 139 (2017) : 253–258.  Abstract and article

Global Abortion Policies Database, an open-access repository of abortion laws, policies, standards, and guidelines for 197 countries. Designed to strengthen efforts to eliminate unsafe abortion, the database acknowledges and engages law and policy as a social determinant of safe abortion.   Global Abortion Policies Database.

“The global abortion policies database—legal knowledge as a health intervention,” by Joanna Erdman, November 1, 2017  Opinion piece at BMJ.

 

Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts  (Pretoria, Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2017), and previous volumes.
Printed edition of Legal Grounds III available from PULP.
Previous volumes PDF online at CRR.
Legal Grounds III, online edition with links to decisions and updates.

[United Kingdom, abortion law] British Journal of Obsetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG)  124:13 (Dec. 2017)
BJOG issue on UK abortion law
—“The emancipation of women’s fertility,” by Michael Marsh, BJOG 124:13 (Dec 2017): 1921-22.
—“Abortion care as a key women’s health service,” Lesley Regan, BJOG 124.13 (Dec 2017): 1922.
—“Effectiveness, safety, and acceptability of first‐trimester medical termination of pregnancy performed by non‐doctor providers: a systematic review,” by S Sjöström, M Dragoman, MS Fønhus, B Ganatra, K Gemzell‐Danielsson, BJOG 124.13 (Dec 2017): 1928–1940
—“Reproductive rights: perspectives from a retired American obstetrician‐gynaecologist,” by Stephen S Entman, BJOG 124:13 (Dec 2017): 1941
—“The 50th Anniversary of the Abortion Act,” by David Paintin, BJOG 124:13 (Dec 2017): 1947.

“End criminal sanctions for abortion,” by Richard Hurley, BMJ 2017;359:j5409. 
Comment at BMJ.

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

JOBS

Reproductive Health Matters.  Director and Editor-in-Chief.  2-year renewable contract.   Apply by Jan 8, 2018.  RHM Director and Editor 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.


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates — Oct 2017

October 31, 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

[Brazil, religious education] STF Conclui Julgamento Sobre Ensino Religioso nas Escolas Públicas ADI No. 4439, September 27, 2017.    The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court dismissed, by a 6 to 5 majority, a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality in which the Public Prosecutor’s Office questioned the model of religious education in the country’s public school system.  In Portuguese: Initial questionConclusion of Decision
English: Comment on I-CONnect Blog.

[Europe: Italy, conscientious objectors] Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL) v. Italy (2016), Complaint No. 91/2013 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France)  Decision in English. 
-which builds upon this 2014 decision:  International Planned Parenthood European Network v. Italy (2014), Complaint No. 87/2012, 10 March 2014 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France) Decision in EnglishBoth decisions summarized by Tania Pagotto.

[Kenya] – Court of Appeal acquitted Jackson Tali, a registered nurse sentenced to death on murder charges re pregnancy complications.   October 19, 2017.   Press release by the Center for Reproductive Rights  Overturns:  Republic v Jackson Namunya Tali [2014] eKLR, High Court Criminal Case No. 75 of 2009 (High Court of Kenya at Nairobi).  Overturned decision.  Overturned decision summarized in Legal Grounds III by Godfrey Kangaude and Annagrace Rwehumbiza.

[Spain, conscientious objectors] Zurich Insurance PLC, Sucursal en España v. Doña Encarnacion y don César y Servicio Galego de Saude, Sentencia 00392/2017, Apelación 43/17 (High Court of Galicia at Coruña, Spain)   Decision in SpanishEnglish summary by lawyer F. F. Guillen.

[West Africa: Nigerian police abuse women] Suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/17/14. October 13, 2017, Community Court of Justice, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) awarded 18 million naira as compensation to an actress Dorothy Chioma Njemanze and two other women for the violation of their human rights to dignity following the physical, sexual and psychological violence inflicted on them by agents of the Nigerian State.  Press release from ECOWAS Court.    Newspaper reportComment by Benson Chakaya

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY:
Africa – Doctoral Scholarships:   LL.D/D.Phil in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa:
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for full-time doctoral scholarships in the field of sexual and/or reproductive rights and their intersection with culture or criminalisation in the African region.  Apply by 15 Nov 2017 Scholarship details

SCHOLARSHIP:
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 Spanish (see next entry) and in paperback, 20% discount code PH70.  English edition from U Penn PressTable of Contents with chapter summaries. 
Abortion Decisions Online, based on the book’s Table of Cases

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias,  ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman y Bernard M. Dickens (Mexico: FCE/CIDE, 2016)   En espanol, 2016: Fondo de Cultura Económica Libreria CIDE.     Índice con resúmenes de capítulos 1-11
Tabla de Casos/Jurisprudencia sobre aborto en línea con enlaces a muchas de las decisiones judiciales

[abortion] “How Laws Fail the Promise of Medical Abortion: A Global Look,” by Patty Skuster, Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law  18.379, 2017. Abstract and Article.

[abortion] “The Politics of Global Abortion Rights,”  by Joanna N. Erdman,  Brown Journal of World Affairs 22.2 (2016): 39-57.   Article online

[abortion, Central and Eastern Europe]  “Mandatory Waiting Periods and Biased Abortion Counseling in Central and Eastern Europe,” by Leah Hoctor and Adriana Lamačková, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 139 (Nov. 2017): 253–258.    PDF at Wiley Online Library.    Submitted text online at SSRN.

“Abortion Travel and the Limits of Choice,” by Lisa Kelly, 12 FIU L. Rev. 27 (2016).
Article online.

[Africa] “Conscientious Objection to Abortion and Accommodating Women’s Reproductive Health Rights: Reflections on a Decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia from an African Regional Human Rights Perspective,” by Charles G. Ngwena, Journal of African Law, 58 (2014): 183-209  Article now online.

[Africa]  Legal Grounds III, Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts (2017)   Entire book, 228-pages, online here.
Print copies available for courses, conferences or organizations.

Legal Grounds III Online now includes searchable links to entire book, individual case summaries and decisions, plus more recent cases.

[Zika, Brasil and Human Rights Obligations]: now in Spanish, Portuguese and English:
—“Infección por el virus de Zika en Brasil y obligaciones relacionadas con los derechos humanos,” por Debora Diniz, Sinara Gumieri, Beatriz Galli Bevilacqua, Rebecca J. Cook, y Bernard M. Dickens, Boletin FLASOG 5.2( June 2017): 6-12.
En espanol Boletin FLASOG, pp 6-12
Em português do Brasil, forthcoming in Revista Uni Brasilia Direito.
—“Zika Infection in Brazil and Human Rights Obligations,” by Debora Diniz, Sinara Gumieri, Beatriz Galli Bevilacqua, Rebecca J. Cook and Bernard M. Dickens, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 136.1 (Jan. 2017) 105-110.
PDF online.   Submitted text in English at SSRN.

NEWS

International news and resources for advocacy:  International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.

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.


Italy: Widespread conscientious objection violates right to health and right to work in dignity

October 31, 2017

Many thanks to Tania Pagotto, a Ph.D candidate in comparative public law at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in Italy.  She can be reached at:  tania{.}pagotto at unive.it.  We thank her for commenting on two recent decisions by the European Committee on Social Rights:

International Planned Parenthood European Network v. Italy (2014), Complaint No. 87/2012, decision published 10 March 2014 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France) Decision online[1]. 

Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL) v. Italy (2016), Complaint No. 91/2013 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France)  Decision online  [2]. 

These decisions addressed the issue of conscientious objection as an obstacle to lawful abortion in Italy, where interruption of pregnancy is regulated by Law no. 194 of 1978 [3].  The Act defines different conditions under which abortion is legal (i.e., where there is serious threat to the mother’s life, physical or mental health, or severe fetal malformation or anomaly).  The Act guarantees interruption of pregnancy as a public medical service.  However, it also provides healthcare professionals with the option to declare conscientious objection, which excuses them from involvement. In this medical field, Italian law encounters a strong conscientious objection movement, unevenly spread among different regions and hospitals.  Government statistics for 2014/15, published in 2016, show that about 70% of Italian doctors, 50% of anaesthetists, and 45% of other staff have declared conscientious objection. [4]

In International Planned Parenthood Federation – European Network (IPPF EN) v. Italy (2014),  the European Committee on Social Economic and Cultural Rights had found Italy in breach of certain provisions of the European Social Charter [5]:  the right to protection of health, both alone and in conjunction with the non-discrimination principle. The non-discrimination principle, in particular, requires the same legal treatment of individuals or groups, irrespective of their specific characteristics.  Italy could only guarantee the right to health for women who could afford to travel from hospital to hospital or from one region to another. Therefore, the Committee found a discrimination based on women’s economic and social capacities.

In a 2016 case, Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro v. Italy, the same Committee confirmed the previous judgment, but went further.  It also found a violation of the right to work (paras 214-246), and the right to dignity in work (paras 282-298), because the state had failed to adequately address the burdensome workload on non-objecting doctors caused by the high percentage of objecting doctors in some areas of Italy.   Significantly, the complaint had been filed by one of Italy’s largest trade unions.  There was concrete evidence of the professional disadvantages for non-objecting medical professionals whose workload became dominated by the performance of abortions, restricting other career prospects.  This decision broke new ground in finding a violation of the right to work and the right to work in dignity of non-objecting providers.

After these two decisions against Italy, many voices are calling for an evolution of Law 194.   These two decisions suggest two legal directions.  On one hand, the territorial discrepancies regarding abortion services need to be taken into account.  The government must find adequate legal tools to distribute health services uniformly throughout the territory.  On the other hand, the supply of medical treatment concerning interruption of pregnancy by non-objecting medical personnel should not impair their right to work, nor their right to work in dignity.

Thus, the Italian government must seek a new equilibrium between patients’ fundamental rights and interests and doctors’ freedom of conscience, as well as an equilibrium among doctors, the majority of whom declare conscientious objection, and the minority of whom provide abortion services.

———————————————————-

[1] International Planned Parenthood European Network v. Italy (2014), Complaint No. 87/2012,  10 March 2014 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France) Decision 2014

[2] Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL) v. Italy (2016), Complaint No. 91/2013, 11 April 2016 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France) Decision 2016

[3] Italian abortion law:  Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana, Parte I, 2 May 1978, No. 140, pp. 3642-3646.    Law 194 in English    In Italian: Legge 194,

[4]  [Italian Ministry of Health,  Report of the Health Ministry on implementation of the Law concerning norms for the social protection of maternity and for the voluntary interruption of pregnancy]  Ministero della Salute, Relazione del Ministro della Salute sulla Attuazione della Legge Contenente norme per la tutela sociale della maternità e per l’interruzione volontaria di gravidanza  (Legge 194/78)  dati definitive 2014 e 2015 (Roma, 7 dicembre 2016), page 44ff.  Online in Italian

[5] European Social Charter is online here.

Related Resources:
Conscientious Objection: Articles and resources from the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program – updated online here.

“The Right to Conscience,” by Bernard M. Dickens, in Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), 210-238  Abstract online
About the book_
_____________
The REPROHEALTHLAW BLOG is managed by 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.


“‘Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013’: Suicide, Dignity and the Irish Discourse on Abortion” by Claire Murray

August 31, 2017

Congratulations and thanks to Dr. Claire Murray of the School of Law, University College Cork in Ireland, for her useful article, published in a special issue of Social & Legal Studies,  guest-edited by Siobhan Mullally, on “Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights.”  We are pleased to circulate this abstract and links to the full text:

Claire Murray, “The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013: Suicide, Dignity and the Irish Discourse on Abortion”, Social and Legal Studies 25.6 (Dec 2016): 667-698   PDF onlineAccepted version.

Abortion is an issue that exposes deep divisions in Irish society and this was apparent during the debates on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013.  This introduced a framework regulating abortion into Irish law for the first time, but maintained the existing position where abortion is only available where the life of the woman is at risk. This article focuses on the centrality of suicide within the Irish discourse on abortion and the impact this had on the shape of the legislation ultimately introduced, in particular the inclusion of a more onerous process with which a woman must engage before she can obtain an abortion where the risk to her life is from suicide.  It highlights the practical consequences of this for the small number of very vulnerable women in Ireland who will be required to engage with the new statutory process which is deeply damaging.  The 2013 Act reinforces the two-tier approach to healthcare that exists in Ireland in the specific context of reproductive healthcare, as those with sufficient resources will be able to bypass the difficult and undignified statutory procedure and those who lack the socioeconomic capital will be compelled to remain.
PDF onlineAccepted version.

Keywords:  Abortion, dignity, Ireland, regulation, risk to life, suicide.

See also:
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.  She was at real risk of committing suicide. Decision online.

Re-imagined judgment of Attorney General v. X  by Ruth Fletcher, with Commentary by Sheelagh McGuiness, in: 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)  This book re-imagines, re-writes and comments on 26 court decisions from feminist perspectives.  Table of Contents and details
Reprohealthlaw blog comments, and links to full text

A referendum on Irish abortion law has been promised before June 2018. Irish Times.

 

 

 

 

 


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.