REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – April 2017

April 25, 2017

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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] 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

______________
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.


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

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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.


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – Feb. 2017

February 14, 2017


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DEVELOPMENTS:

AB and Surrogacy Advisory Group v. the Minister of Social Development (Centre for Child Law as Amicus Curiae)  CCT 155/15, decided November 29, 2016 (Constitutional Court of South Africa).  Genetic link to one parent is required, and constitutional.   Surrogacy decision.   Summary by Ronaldah Lerato Karabo Ozah.

CALLS:

Meeting: INROADS (International Network for the Reduction of Abortion Discrimination and Stigma), African regional members’ gathering in Lusaka, Zambia, 29-30 May 2017.  Free membership. Free registration.   Financial support for travel expenses: apply by Wed March 8, 2017.

CFP: Sexual and reproductive health and rights in humanitarian crises, especially essays re heightened risk and vulnerability, interventions and responses, and legal and policy issues, for Reproductive Health Matters 26:51.   Submit by May 31, 2017. Call for papers.

Call for volunteer experts in sexual and reproductive health rights to review and validate country-specific data for the “National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database.” Contact person and Countries where expertise needed.   About the database.    About the Sexual Rights Initiative.

RESOURCES
[abortion law] “Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights”  Social and Legal Studies: an international journal, 25.6 (2016): 6-166. Online for institutional subscribers.
— Introduction, by editor Siobhan Mullally
— The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013: Suicide, Dignity and the Irish Discourse on Abortion, by Clare Murray
— Gender in Constitutional Discourses on Abortion: Looking at Spain from a Comparative Perspective, by Blanca Rodríguez-Ruiz
— Advocating Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland: Local and Global Tensions, by Catherine O’Rourke
— Killing ‘Unborn Children’? The Catholic Church and Abortion Law in Poland Since 1989, by Dorota Szelewa
— Abortion Rights as Human Rights, by Rachel Rebouché
–Talking about Abortion [in the U.S.], by Carol Sanger
 Online for institutional subscribers.

[abortion – Ireland]  “Fatal Fetal Abnormality, Irish Constitutional Law and Mellet v. Ireland,” by Fiona de Londras, Medical Law Review (2016) 24 (4): 591-607.  Article – 17 pages.

[abortion – Ireland]  “Invisible Women:  Ireland and the Fight to Access Safe and Legal Abortion,” by Chiara Cosentino, Medicina nei Secoli Arte e Scienza (Journal of History of Medicine) 28/2 (2016) 413-434.  Online for institutional subscribers.

[African court decisions]  Legal Grounds:  Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts, Volume III:  54 African court cases summarized and analyzed by Godfrey Kangaude, Onyema Afulukwe, Guy-Fleury Ntwari, et. al (Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2017) 228 pages from PULP.   Overview including previous volumes.

[conscientious objection] “Conscientious objection to abortion provision: Why context matters” by Laura Florence Harris, Jodi Halpern, Ndola Prata, Wendy Chavkin, Caitlin Gerdts,  Global Public Health 12 September 2016; Online for institutional subscribers

[conscientious objection] “Freedom of Conscience, Medical Practitioners and Abortion in South Africa,” by  Shaun Alberto de Freitas, International Journal for Religious Freedom, 4.1 (2011) Abstract and Article

“Conscience and Agent-Integrity: A Defence of Conscience-Based Exemptions in the Healthcare Context” by Mary Neal and Sara Fovargue,  Medical Law Review  (2016) 24 (4): 544-570. Online for institutional subscribers.

Conscientious Objection and Conscientious Commitment – publications by Bernard M. Dickens et al., and recommended reading.  Conscientious Objection publications

[embryos] The Use and Disposal of Stored Embryos, by Bernard M. Dickens.  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 134 (2016) 114–117. Abstract and Article.

[Inter-American Human Rights] “Women’s Reproductive Rights and Reparations: Lessons from the Inter-American System of Human Rights,” by Ciara O’Connell, in Inter-American Human Rights Network, Moving Beyond the Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What to Learn From International Human Rights Systems?” Ghent, Belgium (29-30 January 2016). Conference paper.

[Uruguay model] “Reducing Maternal Mortality by Preventing Unsafe Abortion: The Uruguayan Experience.” ed. Anibal Faúndes,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 134, Sup 1 (Aug 2016). Articles include surveys before and after legalization, reduction in maternal deaths, role of medical abortion, barriers of conscientious objection and replication of the model in Buenos Aires province, Argentina.  IJGO Supplement

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

NEWS

Abortion News Without the Stigma: breaking news on abortion rights.  New website tool

[Canada] “Mifegymiso” – abortion pill now available to Canadian women  Newspaper article

[Sicily, Italy] Valentina Milluzzo, aged 32, 5 months pregnant with twins when she miscarried, fell ill and died from sepsis.  Her death has reignited debate about the high number of gynaecologists and obstetricians who refuse to provide abortions.   Guardian newspaper.  Article by Elizabeth Canitano, gynecologist from “Vita di Donna” (Lives of Women)

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.


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – December 2016

December 20, 2016

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

African LGBT advocacy rulings, 2014-2016   Overview by Godfrey Kangaude
—-[Botswana] Attorney General of Botswana v. Thuto Rammoge & 19 Others  [2016] CACGB-128-14 (Botswana, Court of Appeal at Gaborone).  [Appeal against LGBT organization registration dismissed]   Decision onlineCase summary for Legal Grounds III.
—-[Kenya] Eric Gitari v. Non-Governmental Organizations Co-Ordination Board & 4 Others, [2015] eKLR, Petition No. 440 of 2013  (Kenya, High Court at Nairobi).  [LGBT organizations can be registered.]  Decision online.   Case summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III.
—-[Kenya] Republic v. Non-Governmental Organizations Co-ordination Board & another ex-parte Transgender Education and Advocacy & 3 Others [2014] eKLR, JR Miscellaneous Application No. 308a of 2013 (Kenya, High Court). [Transgender organization can be registered].   Decision onlineCase summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III.
—-[Zambia] People v. Paul Kasonkomona [2015] HPA/53/2014  (Zambia, High Court).[Freedom of expression: HIV/LGBT activist acquitted for remarks made on television.]   Decisions and documents onlineCase summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III.

[Belize – homosexuality]:  Caleb Orozco v Attorney General of Belize et al., Claim No. 668 of 2010 (Supreme Court of Belize)  August 10, 2016. [First-ever successful court challenge to a Caribbean anti-sodomy law.]   38-page Judgment online.   News reportGovernment won’t appeal ruling.   Press release by Caleb Orozco of UNIBAM.

[Brazil – abortion]  Habeas Corpus n. 124.306judged by 1st Panel of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court on November 29, 2016.  Summary in English by Marta Machado.   Sexuality Policy Watch comment.  English news report.  Summary in Portuguese.     Leading vote by Judge Luis Roberto Barroso in PortugueseComment in Portuguese by Debora Diniz

[Brazil – zika]  Direct Action of Unconstitutionality  n. 5581 (Supreme Court of Brazil).  Zika abortion decision  delayed until early 2017.  Summary of the claim in Portuguese.

[Chile – obstetric violence against prisoner]  Lorenza Cayuhán Llebul s/amparo, Rol 92.795-2010 (Supreme Court of Chile). December 1, 2016.    Decision online in Spanish.     English summary by Carlos Herrera.

[Kenya – homosexuality] C.O.L. & G.M.N. v. Resident Magistrate Kwale Court & Others, Petition No. 51 of 2015 (Kenya, High Court –Constitutional and Judicial Review Division).  [Court allowed medical examinations including anal examinations to prove crime of homosexuality].  Decision online.     Case summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III.

[South Africa: surrogacy]  AB and Another v Minister of Social Development (CCT155/15) [2016] ZACC 43 (29 November 2016)  Constitutional Court of South Africa.  [At least one parent must donate sperm or eggs for a surrogacy agreement to be legal in South Africa]  Decision online.    News Report

SCHOLARSHIP

[abortion, health rights] “Adjudicating Health-Related Rights: Proposed Considerations for the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Other Supra-National Tribunals,” by Alicia Ely Yamin and Angela Duger, Chicago Journal of International Law 17.1 (Summer 2016): 80-120.  Abstract and Article.

[Brazil] – [Zika: from Brazilian backlands to global threat] Zika: Do Sertão nordestino à ameaça global  by  Debora Diniz  (Rio de Janeiro:  Civilização Brasileira, 2016).  Forthcoming in English from Zed Books in September 2017, this book analyses scientific discoveries regarding Zika in Brazil as well as the impact of the epidemic on poor black and brown women’s lives.  Portuguese: Book or e-bookSinopseA história contada.
—Related resources in English:”The Zika Virus and Brazilian Women’s Right to Choose,” op/ed by Debora Diniz, February 8, 2016.  New York Times editorial.  “Zika”  30 minute April 2016 documentary with English subtitles;  “Zika: More than a health issue (Dec 1, 2016)   53-minute  TV interview with English subtitles.  “Zika emergency pushes women to challenge Brazilian abortion law”  Guardian news report.

[Brazil – abortion law] “Social Movements and Constitutional Politics in Latin America: Reconfiguring Alliances, Framings and Legal Opportunities in the Judicialization of Abortion Rights in Brazil” by Alba Ruibal. Contemporary Social Science 10:4 (October 18, 2016): 375-385. Abstract and article.   Other articles on strategic litigation in Latin America.

[Canada – mifepristone]  “Requiring physicians to dispense mifepristone:  an unnecessary limit on safety and access to medical abortion,” by Wendy V. Norman and Judith A. Soon, forthcoming in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Early release October 18, 2016 to institutional subscribers.   Summarized in “Abortion pill dispensing by doctors and not pharmacists could hinder access … [and] entrench inequity” CBC News report.

[obstetric violence] International Human Rights and the Mistreatment of Women during Childbirth, by Rajat Khosla, Christina Zampas, Joshua P. Vogel, Meghan A. Bohren, Mindy Roseman, and Joanna N. Erdman.  Health and Human Rights Journal (in press)  Abstract and Full Text.

[reproductive rights] ” ‘Woman’ in the European Human Rights System:  How is the reproductive rights jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights constructing narratives of women’s citizenship?” by  Liiri Oja and Alicia Ely Yamin in Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 32.1 (2016): 62-95.   Abstract and Article.

[Uruguay] “Reform of abortion law in Uruguay: context, process and lessons learned,” by Susan Wood, Lilián Abracinskas, Sonia Corrêa, and Mario Pecheny, Reproductive Health Matters, online since December 8, 2016. Abstract and Article.

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

NEWS

[Mexico] Excerpts from the Symbolic Tribunal on Maternal Mortality and Obstetric Violence, (published by GIRE, Oct 28, 2016).   5-minute film.

[Spain – conscientious objection]  Galician health system ordered to compensate woman – Forced travel to Madrid for late-term abortion of doomed fetus cost woman her uterus, nearly her life.  News report in EnglishNoticias en español.

[Uruguay Model] “From Uruguay, a model for making abortion safer” [misoprostol – harm reduction instruction method spreading to restrictive jurisdictions, e.g. Uganda and Tanzania.   New York Times editorial.   Relevant 2011 article: Access to Information on Safe abortion, by Joanna Erdman.

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.


Strategic litigation for abortion rights in Latin America

December 20, 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Alba M. Ruibal, a researcher with Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Conicet) who is currently working on a project about federalism and feminist legal mobilization at the subnational level in Argentina, including litigation for abortion rights.  We appreciate her excellent article, recently published in English:

Social movements and constitutional politics in Latin America: reconfiguring alliances, framings and legal opportunities in the judicialisation of abortion rights in Brazil,Contemporary Social Science 10.4(2015): 375-385,  Publication access via academic librariesOpen access to submitted text.

Abstract:  One of the main innovations in the interaction between social movements and the state in Latin America since the democratisation processes is the use of courts as venues for social change and the intervention of social actors in constitutional politics. Drawing from the empirical study of the process of strategic litigation for abortion rights in Brazil, this paper aims to show what type of changes can take place when social actors set out to pursue a legal strategy on a highly controversial matter, and in a transitional context, where courts are in the midst of a redefinition of their institutional role in the political system, and movements have not yet been central actors in judicialisation processes. The study highlights how feminist organisations adapted their framing of the abortion issue and developed new alliances with legal actors in order to pursue a rights strategy and to interact with the constitutional court. It also points out how, when dealing with the abortion controversy, the Brazilian constitutional court (Supremo Tribunal Federal) expanded the legal opportunity for the participation of civil society actors and, in its 2012 decision that liberalised the abortion law, acknowledged the legal arguments advanced by social actors in this field.   Published edition, online via academic librariesOpen access to submitted text.     More about the author. 

Several of Dr. Ruibal’s earlier publications on abortion law strategy in Latin America are available online through SSRN:

“Reform and Backlash in Mexico’s Abortion Law: Political and Legal Opportunities for Mobilization and Countermobilization,”(2014)  English abstract and conference  paper.  
—See also:
Feminism, Religion and Democracy in the Process of Abortion Legalization in Mexico City (2012)  Spanish article online, with abstracts in Spanish and English.

“Movement and Counter-Movement: A History of Abortion Law Reform and the Backlash in Colombia 2006-2014” English article and abstract online.

[Legal Mobilization and Counter-Mobilization. Proposal for Its Analysis in Latin America] (2015)  Spanish article online with abstracts in Spanish and English.

[Feminism Counters Religious Fundamentalisms: Mobilization and Counter-Mobilization in the Field of Reproductive Rights in Latin America](2014) focusing on the cases of Brasil, Colombia and Mexico  Portuguese article, and abstracts in Portuguese, Spanish and English.   Spanish translation of article.

———–
Regarding the Brazilian decision of 2012, mentioned in Dr. Ruibal’s abstract, see also: Luís Roberto Barroso, “Bringing Abortion into the Brazilian Public Debate: Legal Strategies for Anencephalic Pregnancy,” chapter 12 in Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies (U Penn Press, 2014)  258-78.  English edition.   Spanish paperback from FCE, 2016.
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Brazil: Supreme Court panel majority: Criminalization of abortion is incompatible with the Constitution

December 20, 2016

Many thanks to Marta Machado, a professor in the FGV Law School, São Paulo, Brazil, and researcher at the Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP), for summarizing this Brazilian judgment for subscribers of REPROHEALTHLAW:

Habeas Corpus n. 124.306 – Judged by 1st Panel of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court on November 29, 2016.

The decision of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court on November 29, 2016 was unexpected.  Advocates were then focused on the Court’s pending decision in the Zika Virus Case,* originally scheduled for announcement in early December but ultimately delayed until 2017. The November 29th decision held that the criminalization of abortion until the first trimester is incompatible with the Brazilian Constitution.

The November 29 case challenged the pre-trial detention of 5 doctors and nurses accused of having performed consented abortions. While two justices discussed only the absence of conditions for the detention, three others, Justices Luis Roberto Barroso, Rosa Weber and Edson Fachin, forming the majority of three in a five-judge panel, grounded their votes in the questioning of the criminalization of abortion itself.

According to the three-judge majority, criminalization of abortion offends the following fundamental rights of women: (i) autonomy, as women have the right to make their own existential and moral choices without State interference; (ii) physical and psychological health, as women suffer in their own bodies and minds the effects of the pregnancy. In the decision’s wording: “having a child only by determination of criminal law constitutes a serious violation of a woman’s physical and psychological integrity”; (iii) sexual and reproductive rights, as women cannot be obliged by the State to keep an undesired pregnancy; and (iv) gender equality – since men do not get pregnant, the only way to have gender equality is to respect women’s will in this matter.

The three-judge majority held that the criminalization also violates the proportionality principle, in following ways. First, it is not effective in protecting the life of the fetus. The criminalization has no impact on the number of abortions performed; it just prevents them from being done in a safe way. Second, the State can prevent abortion in a number of more effective and rights-compliant ways, such as reproductive health education, distribution of contraceptives and social assistance to women. Finally, criminalization generates social costs (including deaths, in addition to a number of other health problems) that override its alleged benefits. The decision stressed the particular impact of criminalization on poor women’s lives because they can generally only access clandestine clinics and unsafe procedures with high risks of mortality and morbidity.

Although this decision is limited to this particular case, and only reflects the understanding of one panel of judges and not the plenary of the Court, it has persuasive authority that has the potential to influence future cases. It is also the first time that three Brazilian Supreme Federal Court justices stated their positions in favor of decriminalization of abortion.

Official summary of the Nov 29, 2016 decision:  Noticias STF em português

Judge Luis Roberto Barroso’s leading vote online:  voto em português

Comment by Sexuality Policy Watch: online in English.    News report in English.

Summary of the claim in the Zika Virus Case – Direct Action of Unconstitutionality  n. 5581 – Sumario em português.

**Proportionality –  See, e.g.,  Veronica Undurraga, “Proportionality in the Constitutional Review of Abortion Law” chapter 4 in Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014).  Capítulo em português.   Book in English.    Libro en Español.