Brazil: Implementing international human rights to improve obstetric care

October 31, 2018

Congratulations to Alicia E. Yamin, Beatriz Galli and Sandra Valongueiro, whose article is now available in the Latin American-themed October 2018 issue of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, in conjunction with the FIGO World Congress, held October 14-19 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  We are pleased to circulate the abstract in English, and (further below) Brazilian Portuguese:

Alicia E Yamin, Beatriz Galli and Sandra Valongueiro. “Implementing international human rights recommendations to improve obstetric care in Brazil,” by  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 143.1 (October 2018): 114-120    DOI: 10.1002/ijgo.12579.  Download full next now, Free access online for 6 months.

Abstract:  In 2011, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) issued a groundbreaking decision in the case of Alyne da Silva Pimentel Teixeira versus Brazil involving the maternal death of a young Afro‐Brazilian woman. The CEDAW addressed systemic failures in the Brazilian health system that combined to violate Alyne’s rights to life, health, and access to maternal health services. Almost 5 years later, after significant back and forth between the concerned parties, a technical follow‐up commission was created with the support of the Center for Reproductive Rights, and was welcomed by the government of Brazil. The technical follow‐up commission was precedent‐setting, seeking to move beyond identifying gaps in “compliance” and concentrate instead on issues that might catalyze re‐engagement by national level stakeholders, both governmental and non‐governmental, with the aim of advancing CEDAW’s recommendations through not only the creation, but also the effective implementation, of policies and programs that promote women’s sexual and reproductive rights in practice, including their rights to safe motherhood. Here, the human‐rights‐based framework of the technical follow‐up commission is described, in addition to their findings related to legal and policy frameworks, evidence‐based programing, and monitoring and oversight of providers.

Resumo do artigo:  Em 2011, o Comitê das Nações Unidas para a Eliminação de Todas as Formas de Discriminação contra as Mulheres emitiu uma decisão inovadora contra a morte materna de uma jovem afro-brasileira, Alyne da Silva Pimentel Teixeira. O Comitê CEDAW apontou falhas sistêmicas no sistema de saúde brasileiro que violaram os direitos de Alyne à vida, à saúde e ao acesso a serviços de saúde materna. Quase cinco anos depois, uma Comissão de Acompanhamento Técnico foi criada, com o apoio do Centro de Direitos Reprodutivos, sendo recebida pelo Governo do Brasil. Essa Comissão de Acompanhamento Técnico estabeleceu os precedentes e procurou ir além da identificação de lacunas na “conformidade”, concentrando-se em questões que poderiam catalisar o reengajamento de atores em nível nacional, tanto governamentais como não-governamentais, com o objetivo de avançar as recomendações do Comitê CEDAW, por meio não só da criação, mas também da implementação efetiva, de políticas e programas que promovam os direitos sexuais e reprodutivos das mulheres, incluindo direito à maternidade segura. Este artigo descreve o arcabouço baseado em direitos humanos usado pela Comissão de Acompanhamento Técnico e os achados relevantes para provedores vinculados a estruturas legais e de políticas, programação baseada em evidências e monitoramento e supervisão.

Download full next now, Free access to PDF online for 6 months.

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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 – Sept 2018

September 30, 2018

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

[UN – CEDAW and CRPD] “Guaranteeing sexual and reproductive health and rights for all women, in particular women with disabilities,”   Joint statement by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 29 August 2018.  Decriminalize abortion, repeal discriminatory health policies and abortion laws that perpetuate deep-rooted stereotypes and stigma and undermine women’s reproductive autonomy and choice.    PDF online.

CALL FOR PAPERS:

“The Impact of Politics on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights,” for publication in Reproductive Health Matters, May 2019.  Submissions due October 31, 2018.  RHM Call for papers

SCHOLARSHIP:

[abortion law – Brazil]    “Brazilian Supreme Court Public Hearing on the Decriminalization of Abortion:   Antecedents, Contents, Meanings” by Sonia Corrêa  (published by Sexuality Policy Watch, 2018)  27 pages PDF     Direct download.

[abortion law – Brazil]  Testimony by Prof. Rebecca Cook . . .against Unsafe Abortion in the Public Hearing of the Brazilian Supreme Court, caso ADPF 442, Brasilia, August 3, 2018.   English original.    em Portugues do Brasil.   Testimonio – Espanol traducido por CLACAI (Consorcio Latinoamericano contra el aborto inseguro).    Uno otro en Espanol.  

[abortion law – El Salvador] “Physicians’ Challenges under El Salvador’s Criminal Abortion Prohibition,” by Alyson Zureick, Amber Khan, Angeline Chen and Astrid Reyes. forthcoming International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, October2018  Early view PDF.   Submitted text online at SSRN.

[abortion law – Malawi] “The Duty to make abortion law transparent:  A Malawi case study,”  by Godfrey Dalitso Kangaude and Chisale Mhango, forthcoming International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics,     Early view PDF.

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca Cook, Joanna Erdman and Bernard Dickens (Philadelphia: Univ. Pennsylvania Press, 2014) 20% discount code is PH70.  Abstracts of all 16 chapters.   Spanish edition by FCE/CIDE – 16 abstractsAbortion Decisions: Table of Cases in English and Spanish.

[abortion policy] “The Philippines rolls back advancements in the postabortion care policy,” by Melissa Upreti and Jihan Jacob,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 142 (August 2018): 255–256.   PDF onlineSubmitted text  at SSRN.

[abortion policies] “Access to knowledge and the Global Abortion  Policies Database,”  by Joanna N. Erdman and Brooke Ronald Johnson Jr.  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, July 2018; 142: 120–124   PDF at Wiley online.   Submitted text at SSRN.

[Africanness, including sexuality],  What is Africanness?: Contesting nativism in culture, race and sexualities, peer-reviewed book by Charles G. Ngwena (Pretoria University Law Press, 2018) 306 pages.  “Part 3: Heterogeneous Sexualities” – chapter abstracts.    Entire book open access at PULP.     Table of Contents.   Overview, Comments from scholars,  PDFs of all chapters.

[Brazil – obstetric care, maternal mortality /morbidity, Alyne case]  “Implementing international human rights recommendations to improve obstetric care in Brazil,” by Alicia E Yamin, Beatriz Galli and Sandra Valongueiro.   International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 143.1 (October 2018): 114-120    Abstract online in English and Portuguese. English PDF for institutional subscribers.

[CEDAW]”The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women” by Rebecca J. Cook and Cusack, Simone Cusack.  In Tara Van Ho and Nigel Rodley, eds, Research Handbook on Human Rights Institutions and Enforcement (Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, Forthcoming).  Submitted text archived online.

[conscience]  Unconscionable: When Providers Deny Abortion Care  Report of the International Women’s Health Coalition, 2018, based on the first global meeting on the topic of “conscientious objection,” held in Montevideo, Uruguay in August 2017.    8-page report.

[intersex, gender] “Management of intersex newborns: Legal and ethical developments,by Bernard M. Dickens, forthcoming International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2018.   Early View PDF.

[self-managed abortion] “Understandings of self-managed abortion as health inequity, harm reduction and social change,” by Joanna N. Erdman, Kinga Jelinska and Susan Yanow. Forthcoming in Reproductive Health Matters. Early view PDF.

[strategic litigation] Seeking Social Change in the Courts: Tools for Strategic Advocacy, by Mónica Roa with Barbara Klugman (Women’s Link Worldwide, 2018) practical tool for advocates from all social justice fields who are interested in using the courts and understanding “strategic litigation”  160 pages, PDF online..

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHIES:

“The Right to Conscience” – An Annotated Bibliography.   (Toronto: International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program,
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, 2018)  Conscience bibliography

Indications for abortion: new annotated bibliographies:

  • Fetal Anomaly:  Annotated Bibliography on legal aspects of fetal anomaly and their implications for counseling, service delivery and abortion laws and policies (Toronto: International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, 2018).  Fetal anomaly bibliography
  • Rape-related abortion:  Legal and policy dimensions of rape-related abortion services (Court decisions, Treaty resources, policy guidance and publications. ) (Toronto: International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, 2018).  Rape or Incest bibliography 
  • Causal Violacion y/o incesto:  Selección de doctrina y jurisprudencia latinoamericanas sobre Causal violación y/o incesto en casos de aborto (Rape or Incest bibliography in Spanish)  (Toronto: El Programa Internacional de Derecho en Salud Sexual y Reproductivas Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de Toronto, 2018)

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
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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.

 

 

 

 


CEDAW re Northern Ireland abortion laws: grave and systematic violations of women’s rights

April 26, 2018

Many thanks to Professors Claire Pierson of the University of Liverpool,  Kathryn McNeilly of Queen’s University Belfast and Fiona Bloomer of Ulster University, founding members of the Reproductive Health Law and Policy Advisory Group, online here, who kindly commented on the results of CEDAW’s inquiry into Northern Ireland’s abortion laws, based on their 9-page Briefing Document:

Reproductive Health Law and Policy Advisory Group,  Briefing Document: Report of the inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, April 2018.
Briefing on CEDAW’s Northern Ireland inquiry and UK response – (9 pages).

From the late twentieth century onwards, human rights emerged as a significant tool, drawing attention to reproductive health provision for women. In Northern Ireland, however, it is only recently that human rights have stimulated meaningful discussion on local abortion access. The UN CEDAW Committee has become the latest body to engage rights in this way.

In early 2018, the CEDAW Committee completed an Optional Protocol inquiry into Northern Ireland’s abortion laws. CEDAW’s report, online here, found the United Kingdom in violation of several articles of the Convention through maintenance of a criminal framework permitting abortion in Northern Ireland only in circumstances of threat to life or serious and long-term threat to health. These violations were found to be grave and systematic.

The inquiry was undertaken following a 2010 submission by the Family Planning Association for Northern Ireland (FPA), Alliance for Choice and the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform (NIWEP). In 2014, the UK submitted written observations on the submission to CEDAW.  These denied that violation of rights had occurred and outlined that legislative change was not envisaged.  Upon reviewing the UK response and material received by the FPA, Alliance for Choice and NIWEP, CEDAW determined the allegations were reliable and assigned two delegates to conduct an inquiry in 2016.

In addition to the impact of the region’s restrictive criminal law on women’s health and equality, the report highlights concerns with wider access to reproductive and sexual health services, including: post-abortion care, harassment at reproductive health clinics, and a lack of adequate sexual health education. It particularly notes the disproportionate impact of restrictive abortion access on rural and poorer women.

The Committee made 13 recommendations, including repeal of the current criminal law (sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861) and the creation of legislation to allow for abortion under particular grounds.  The UK Government has issued a response outlining that it does not accept that women in Northern Ireland have been subject to grave and systematic violations of rights under the Convention.

A separate legal challenge to the compatibility of Northern Ireland’s law with domestic human rights commitments is being heard by the UK Supreme Court. Pressure is mounting for the UK to seriously consider the rights implications of abortion law in this region.

RELEVANT LINKS:
CEDAW’s Report, see: Committee on the Elimination  of Discrimination against Women,Report of the inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, U.N.  Doc, CEDAW/C/OP.8/GBR/1, February 23, 2018.  CEDAW’s report on abortion law in Northern Ireland, 19 pages

Observations of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the report of the inquiry concerning United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women*  United Kingdom response, 7 pages

The Reproductive Health Law and Policy Advisory Group, discussed above, has issued a  a Briefing Document summarizing both the CEDAW report and the UK government’s response 9-page briefing.


Mandatory Waiting Periods and Biased Abortion Counseling in Central and Eastern Europe

November 30, 2017

Congratulations to Leah Hoctor and Adriana Lamačková of the Centre for Reproductive Rights, whose article has just been published in the Ethical and Legal Issues section of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.  The article addresses the recent retrogressive introduction of mandatory waiting periods and biased counseling and information requirements prior to abortion in Central and Eastern Europe.

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

A number of Central and Eastern European countries have recently enacted retrogressive laws and policies introducing new pre-conditions that women must fulfill before they can obtain legal abortion services. Mandatory waiting periods and biased counseling and information requirements are particularly common examples of these new prerequisites. This article considers these requirements in light of international human rights standards and public health guidelines, and outlines the manner in which, by imposing regressive barriers on women’s access to legal abortion services, these new laws and policies undermine women’s health and well-being, fail to respect women’s human rights, and reinforce harmful gender stereotypes and abortion stigma.

Key words: Abortion; Abortion counseling; Central and Eastern Europe; Discrimination; Human rights; Informed consent; Waiting periods

The published article is online in PDF at Wiley Library.
Full text, as submitted, is online at SSRN.
Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive Health: 80 other concise articles.


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 — July/August 2017

August 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
[Chile] Abortion legalized in three cases: when the woman’s life is at risk, when the fetus will not survive the pregnancy, and in case of rape).  New law ruled constitutional by the Constitutional Court of Chile on August 28, 20176:  STC Rol N° 3729(3751). Requerimientos de inconstitucionalidad presentados por un grupo de Senadores y Diputados, respecto de normas del proyecto de ley que regula la despenalización de la interrupción voluntaria del embarazo en tres causales, correspondiente al boletín N° 9895-11.  Tribunal Constitucional Chile.  Decision in Spanish -295 pagesAccompanying documentsOther Submissions  Newspaper report in English.    Overview by Carlos Herrera, LL.M.
Many Chilean law professors addressed the Court, including:
   Prof. Veronica Undurraga  presentation online.
Prof. Lidia Casas Becerra  
presentation begins at minute 42:00

 

[United Nations – CEDAW] General Recommendation 35,  Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, (CEDAW) concerns gender-based violence against women, updating General Recommendation 19 (1992). e.g.: “Violations of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, such as forced sterilizations, forced abortion, forced pregnancy, criminalisation of abortion, denial or delay of safe abortion and post-abortion care, forced continuation of pregnancy, abuse and mistreatment of women and girls seeking sexual and reproductive health information, goods and services, are forms of gender-based violence that, depending on the circumstances, may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” (Art. 18)  Calls for repeal of ” legal provisions that discriminate against women,”(Art. 31) including “legislation that criminalises abortion” (31a).  Advance Unedited version of Gen. Rec. 35, 24 July 2017

CALL FOR PAPERS:
Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network, for the Law and Society Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, June 7-10, 2018, on the theme: “Law at the Crossroads”  500-word abstracts due Sept 17, 2017 Submission link.   Detailed call for papers  Pre-formed panels or ideas are welcome at:  2018lsacrn at gmail.com.

RESOURCES
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. 
Table with links to many Abortion Decisions.

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 1-5
Tabla de Casos/Jurisprudencia en línea con enlaces a muchas de las decisiones judiciales

[abortion law] Amicus curiae brief on international legal consensus  on abortion law reform, non-arbitrariness and proportionality, and grounds and procedural protections. 20 pp, submitted to the Tribunal Constitucional of Chile by Professors Joanna Erdman and Rebecca Cook, August 10, 2017.   Spanish and English PDF

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

[abortion, Uganda] “Access to safe abortion in Uganda: Leveraging Opportunities through the Harm Reduction Model” by Moses Mulumba, Charles Kiggundu, Jacqueline Nassimbwa and Noor Musisi Nakibuuka, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 138 (Aug. 2017): 231–236. doi:10.1002/ijgo.12190   PDF temporarily online for 12 months Submitted text online at SSRN.

[Africa] “The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the Woman Question”, by Ebenezer Durojaye and O. Oluduro, Feminist Legal Studies (2016) 24: 315-336  Abstract and article.

[conscientious objection] Amicus curiae brief  on conscientious objection by Professor Bernard Dickens submitted to the Tribunal Constitucional of Chile, August 10, 2017  English PDF     Spanish  PDF

NEWS
[abortion drug, Canada]: “Mifegymiso” (a combination of two abortion pills: mifepristone and misoprostol RU-486), approved by Health Canada in 2015, is now available free of charge in Ontario through pharmacies by prescription from physicians and nurse practitioners  News article.

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

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Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.


Northern Ireland: Advocating Abortion Rights – Local and Global Tensions

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

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

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

March 29, 2017

Many thanks to Christina Zampas, a Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, for summarizing this decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  She also presented oral expert testimony in this case during its hearing on 2 May 2016 in San Jose, Costa Rica, focusing on international and regional human rights standards in relation to informed consent to sterilization, and on gender discrimination and stereotyping. (Overview of her testimony.)

Caso I.V. v. Bolivia,   Sentencia de 30  Noviembre de 2016 (Excepciones Preliminares, Fondo, Reparaciones y Costas) Corte InterAmericana de Derechos Humanos  Decision in Spanish.

I.V. v Bolivia concerns the involuntary sterilization in 2000 of an immigrant woman from Peru in a public hospital in Bolivia during a caesarean section.   In its first case alleging forced sterilization and indeed, its first case on informed consent to a medical procedure, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights struck at the heart of such practices by addressing underlying causes of such violations: gender discrimination and stereotyping.

The Court held that the State violated the woman’s rights to personal integrity, personal freedom, private and family life, access to information and rights to found a family, and to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to the dignity of a human being, all contained in the American Convention on Human Rights.  The State had also violated its duties to condemn all forms of violence against women under the Convention of Belem do Pará.   In finding these violations, the Court recognized that sterilization without consent annulled the right to freely make decisions regarding one’s body and reproductive capacity, resulting in loss of control over one’s most personal and intimate decisions, with lasting implications.

While generally agreeing with decisions about forced sterilization of Roma women issued by the European Court of Human Rights and the CEDAW Committee , the Inter-American Court’s decision is groundbreaking in that it uniquely highlighted the transcendent role of state obligations to respect and guarantee the right to non-discrimination in the context of women’s human rights violations. Thus, the Court recognized that the freedom and autonomy of women in sexual and reproductive health, generally, has historically been limited or annulled on the basis of negative and harmful gender stereotypes in which women have been socially and culturally viewed as having a predominantly reproductive function, and men viewed as decision-makers over women’s bodies. The Court recognized that non-consensual sterilization reflects this historically unequal relationship. The Court noted how the process of informed decision-making operated under the harmful stereotype that I.V., as a woman, was unable to make such decisions responsibly, leading to “an unjustified paternalistic medical intervention” restricting her autonomy and freedom.  The Court thus found a violation of the right to non-discrimination based on being a woman. It also stressed the particular vulnerability to forced sterilization facing certain women, based on other characteristics such as socioeconomic status, race, disability, or living with HIV.

The Court ordered both individual reparations and general measures, including ensuring education and training programs for healthcare and social security professionals regarding informed consent, gender-based violence, discrimination and stereotyping.  The Court’s unequivocal articulation of the right of women to make decisions concerning reproductive health, without being subjected to discrimination based on stereotypes or power relations, is important in this first case by an international or regional tribunal addressing this in the context of sterilization.  It could also apply to other reproductive health care contexts, such as the case for abortion.

Links for this case:
Caso I.V. v. Bolivia,   Sentencia de 30  Noviembre de 2016 (Excepciones Preliminares, Fondo, Reparaciones y Costas) Corte InterAmericana de Derechos Humanos  Decision in Spanish
Report on the Merits (2014) in English.
Amicus Curiae brief by Ciara O’Connell, Diana Guarnizo-Peralta and Cesar Rodriguez-Garavito:  in English.

Related decisions, alluded to above:
V.C. v. Slovakia, European Court of Human Rights (Decision 8 November 2011)
N.B. v. Slovakia,  European Court of Human Rights (Decision 12 June 2012)
VC and NB decisions, summarized by Andy Sprung
I.G. and others v. Slovakia  European Court of Human Rights (Decision 13 November 2012).
IG decision, summarized by Andy Sprung

UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
A.S. v. Hungary  (Decision online).
Summary  and documents from CRR.
Analysis by Simone Cusack, OP CEDAW blog.
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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.