Reproductive Autonomy of Women and Girls under the Disabilities Convention

March 30, 2018

Congratulations to Prof. Charles Ngwena of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, whose valuable article has recently been published in the Ethical and Legal Issues section of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. We are pleased to circulate the following abstract:

Reproductive Autonomy of Women and Girls under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,”  by Prof. Charles Ngwena, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 140.1 (Jan. 2018):128-133PDF online for 12 months.          Submitted text at SSRN

Women and girls with disabilities have historically been denied the freedom to make their own choices in matters relating to their reproduction. In the healthcare sector they experience multiple discriminatory practices. Women and girls with intellectual disabilities are particularly vulnerable to coerced or forced medical interventions. The present article considers the contribution the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities makes towards affirming the rights of women and girls with disabilities to enjoy reproductive autonomy, including autonomy related to reproductivehealth, on an equal basis with individuals without disabilities. The Convention is paradigm-setting in its maximal approach to affirming the rights of  individuals with disabilities to make autonomous choices under conditions of equality and non-discrimination.  The Convention is the first human rights treaty to clearly affirm that impairment of decision-making skills is not a justification for depriving a person with cognitive or intellectual disability of legal capacity.

Key words: Abortion; Disability; Equality; Legal capacity; Non-discrimination; Reasonable accommodation; Reproductive autonomy; Reproductive health

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 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.

Africa (Nigeria): ECOWAS Court challenges vagrancy laws that target women

November 30, 2017

Many thanks to Benson Chakaya, an M.Phil candidate in the LL.M./M.Phil (Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Africa) degree program at the Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria.  He also serves as National Coordinator for Right Here Right Now Kenya ​hosted by the ​Network for Adolescents and Youth of Africa.  We thank him for abstracting and commenting on the significance of this case:

Dorothy Njemanze & 3 Ors V Federal Republic of Nigeria, Suit No.: ECW/CCJ/APP/17/14  (ECOWAS Court, Abuja, Nigeria)  Decision of October 12, 2017.

Many countries in Africa have criminal law targeting sex workers, often accompanied by administrative law in many cases municipal bylaws against vagrancy that facilitate arbitrary arrests of women at night. Suspected sex workers (in many cases women) are rounded up by law enforcers and charged with non-criminal offenses such as loitering, vagrancy, congregating for the purposes of prostitution, public indecency, or disorderly behavior.  The recent ruling by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice in the case of Dorothy Njemanze & 3 Ors v. Federal Republic of Nigeria,[1] is significant as it successfully mounts a challenge to vagrancy laws.

On different occasions, Dorothy Njemanze and three other women were abducted, assaulted sexually, physically and verbally, and unlawfully detained by Nigerian law enforcement officers.  They were arrested and accused of being prostitutes on the grounds that they had been found on the streets at night.  The four women, led by Njemanze, a Nollywood actress, filed a case at the West African Regional Court which centered on the violent, cruel, inhuman, degrading and discriminatory treatment the women suffered at the hands of law enforcement agents in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Njemanze case bears some similarities to the Kenyan High Court case of Lucy Nyambura & Another v. Town Clerk, Municipal Council of Mombasa & 2 Others (2011)[2] in that the petitioners in the Kenyan case were also arrested and charged with the offence of “loitering in a public place for immoral purposes,” simply because they were found on the streets at night. The charges essentially criminalize any woman who ventures outdoors after dark. However, in the Kenyan case, the High Court failed to find the action of law enforcers as discriminatory and a violation of the petitioners’ rights.

By contrast, the ECOWAS Court found the arrest of the four petitioners to be unlawful and violated their rights to dignity and liberty, and their right to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The Court affirmed the provisions of the United Nations’ Convention on Elimination All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), when it found that the action of Nigerian law enforcement officers constituted gender-based discrimination. The Court determined from the submissions showing that the operation was systematically directed against only the female gender an indication and evidence of discrimination.   The finding is significant for women because it reiterates State Parties’ obligation and responsibility as codified in CEDAW to adopt laws, administrative and policy measures to prevent gender based discrimination.

According to the Court, “Prostitution is claimed to be a crime in the laws of the Defendant. However, it takes two persons to engage in such criminal activity. There is no law that suggest[s] that when women are seen on the streets at midnight or anytime thereafter, they are necessarily idle persons or prostitutes.  If it were so, it ought to apply to all persons irrespective of sex”.  In this quote, a blow to the discriminatory application of prostitution and vagrancy laws, the Court rejects the narrative, fostering gender inequality, that female commercial sex workers are directly criminally liable, while their male counterparts, if liable at all, can only be so indirectly as accomplices or conspirators. This narrative has often reinforced harmful social prejudices against women.

The judgment also affects commercial sex workers, especially those who work at night. Although the Court did not make a pronouncement on the legality or illegality of commercial sex work, it is significant that it found no crime in women being on the street at night, whether they are sex workers or not.  The Court found the arrest a violation of the Plaintiffs’ right to liberty or free movement which is a fundamental human right.  The Court denounced the gender stereotyping of women found on the street at night as prostitutes and declared that such verbal abuses violated the right of these women to dignity. This denunciation unfortunately perpetuates the stigma that has traditionally been directed against sex workers.

In this context, the Court did not issue a direct order regarding existing laws prohibiting prostitution.  In finding that the Defendant failed to provide sufficient evidence linking the Plaintiffs with prostitution, the Court exposes the difficulty of collecting evidence for the crime of prostitution.  This suggests an opportunity to challenge the law on prostitution in the fact that the law violates the right to privacy.  Given the intimate nature of sex, privacy is a major issue in criminalizing sex work.  Collecting evidence to support sex-work-related charges often involves bedroom snooping and interfering with the privacy of the sex workers and their clients.

A significant milestone that sets the ECOWAS ruling apart is the pronouncement of a violation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), is indeed a first in an International Court. The Court found that there were multiple violations of article 2 calling on States to combat all forms of discrimination against women, article 3 that provides for the right to dignity and to the recognition and protection of women human and legal rights. There was further violation of article 4 on the Rights to Life, integrity and security of the person, article 5(d) on protection of women from being subjected violence, abuse and intolerance. The denial of access to justice and equal protection before the law and access to remedy was a violation of articles 8 and 25 respectively.

This ruling by the ECOWAS Court is important to judges, lawyers and law scholars as it sets the pace for challenging the often vague vagrancy laws.  By finding the action of the law enforcement officers to have violated fundamental human rights, the Court in other words has questioned the legality of vagrancy laws.  The ruling by ECOWAS Court, therefore, piles more pressure on African States to repeal the overly vague and overbroad vagrancy laws that harass and abuse women, including female sex workers. Already, the CEDAW Committee has called upon States Parties to take appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress exploitation of women in sex work.   Overall, the ECOWAS Court’s ruling is a clear call to these States to respect fundamental rights of women to liberty, dignity and self-determination.

[1] Dorothy Njemanze & 3 Ors V Federal Republic of Nigeria: SUIT NO: ECW/CCJ/APP/17/14  (ECOWAS Court, Abuja, Nigeria)  Decision of October 12, 2017.

[2] Lucy Nyambura & Another v. Town Clerk, Municipal Council of Mombasa & 2 Others [2011] eKLR, Petition No. 286 of 2009 Kenya, High Court. Decision online.
Case summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III

Other African cases, summarized online: 
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 updates and links to decisions.

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

South Africa: Expulsion of pregnant students violated constitutional rights

September 29, 2017

Many thanks to Godfrey Kangaude, LL.M. (UFS), LL.M. (UCLA), an LL.D. candidate at the University of Pretoria and Executive Director of Nyale Institute for Sexual and Reproductive Health Governance in Malawi, for summarizing this decision with Y. Kakhobwe in Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts, published by Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) in 2017.  228-pages online     Flyer with Table of Contents.     New online edition with links to decisions and analyses.

Head of Department, Department of Education, Free State Province v. Welkom High School & anotherHead of Department, Department of Education, Free State Province v. Harmony High School & another (CCT 103/12) [2013] ZACC 25, 2013 (9) BCLR 989(CC); 2014 (2) SA 228 (CC) (10 July 2013)   Constitutional Court of South Africa  Decision online.    Case summary by G. Kangaude and Y. Kakhobwe.

Two South African high schools had adopted policies that provided for automatic
exclusion of any student from school if it is found that she is pregnant. When in two separate instances the schools applied the policies to pregnant students, the Head of the provincial department of education intervened in the decisions of the school’s governing bodies and ordered them to ignore the pregnancy policy and reinstate the students. The respondents took the matter to the High Court which ruled that this official had no authority to tell the principals not to implement their adopted policy.  The
Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s decision.  The Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that if school policies were unconstitutional, as these were, the Head of the provincial education department should have intervened, using the proper mechanisms provided by the Schools Act.
The Constitutional Court opined that these pregnancy policies prima facie violated constitutional principles, and violations should be addressed by the scheme of powers under the School Act.  The Court held that, first, the policies unjustifiably discriminated on the basis of pregnancy and sex.  Second, the policies limited the right to education by requiring that the student repeat an entire year.  Third, the policies prima facie violated students’ rights to human dignity, privacy, and bodily and psychological integrity by requiring them to report their own pregnancy or that of others.  Finally, the policies violated the best interests of the child because they failed to take into account the health and other needs of the pregnant student.
The Court did not make a declaration on the constitutional validity of the pregnancy policies since this issue was not placed properly before it, and also because the Court respected the scheme of powers in the School Act. However, the Court ordered the school governing boards to review their pregnancy policies.
The Court’s opinion follows several older African judgments such as Student Representative Council of Molepolole College of Education v. Attorney General [1995] (3) LRC 447), where the Botswana Court of Appeal held that a regulation that required a student to report pregnancy to the authorities, and would be obliged to leave the College or be expelled if this was a second occurrence, was unconstitutional as it was discriminatory on the basis of sex. Similarly, in Mfolo and Others v. Minister of Education,  [1992] (3) LRC 181,Bophuthatswana (South Africa, Supreme Court, Bophuthatswana and General Division), and in Lloyd Chaduka and Morgenster College v. Enita Mandizvidza, Judgment No. SC 114/2001; Civil Appeal No. 298/2000 (Zimbabwe, Supreme Court),   two African Supreme Courts held that regulations that required pregnant students to withdraw from college were unconstitutional.

Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at   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.

Involuntary Sterilization of HIV-Positive Women as Intersectional Discrimination

March 26, 2015

Congratulations to Dr. Ronli Sifris of Monash University’s Faculty of Law, whose forthcoming article in Human Rights Quarterly is already available online through SSRN:

Involuntary Sterilization of HIV-Positive Women:
An Example of Intersectional Discrimination

forthcoming in (2015) 37(2) Human Rights Quarterly

This article considers the involuntary sterilization of HIV-positive women through the lens of intersectional discrimination. It begins by examining the international human right to be free from discrimination before considering involuntary sterilization as a form of discrimination against women. The article then draws on the example of the involuntary sterilization of HIV-positive women to make the point that, in order to truly understand the insidious nature of involuntary sterilization, it must be viewed through the prism of intersectional discrimination.
The full text is online through SSRN.



December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011


Canada: B.C. Polygamy — Supreme Court of British Columbia decision is a resounding affirmation of the need for a criminal prohibition on polygamy.  Reference case re Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada. 2011 BCSC 1588. Newspaper coverageDecision online. 

European Court of Human Rights: R.R. v. Poland decision (pregnant woman denied access to genetic testing of abnormal fetus) is now final.  A panel of five judges of the Grand Chamber decided not to accept the Government’s request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber. Pursuant to Art 44 s. 2 of the Convention, the judgment of 26 May 2011 therefore became final on 28 November 2011. Decision online.

New case: European Court of Human Rights: Gauer v France: Forced sterilisation of 5 women with intellectual disabilities without informed consent and against their wishes.  News articleInterights summary.

European Court of Justice bans patents based on embryonic stem cells  News article.    Decision online (Oct 18, 2011).   Background case: Brüstle v. Greenpeace, CJEU, Opinion of the Advocate General, 10 March 2011 

Legal commentaries on past decisions and developments are online here. 


Gender Justice Uncovered Awards: nominations open Nov 15 2011-April 30, 2012. Submit the worst and best judicial statements on gender rights. These annual awards  reward gold, silver and bronze “gavels” to judicial pronouncements or decisions which promote gender equity, and gives gold, silver and bronze “bludgeons” to the most sexist and regressive decisions Contributions become part of the Gender Justice Observatory database, online here.

United Nations -OHCHR – Request for input – Technical guidance tools – Reducing preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, deadline Dec 15, 2011.  More info.

“Calls for Proposals re funding re sexual/repro health/rights projects offered by the European Union. E-neus ¬Nov 28 edition.  now online.


Canada – Health Law, Ethics and Policy Fellowships for LL.M. or doctoral study at one of 4 Canadian law schools, now accepting applications from Canadian and international LLM or doctoral applicants.  Admission info.   Brochure.   Website.

Health Rights Litigation course, Global School on Judicial Enforcement of Economic, Social, and Cultural (ESC) Rights, offered by The Health Rights of Women and Children Program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University, June 18-22 2012 in Boston, MA, USA.  More info. 

 South Africa – Fellowship: Access to Justice- Past and Present: Promoting Access to Justice for the Marginalised and Vulnerable Groups. Call for Internal and External Participants. Centre for Criminal Justice, University of KwaZulu Natal, RSA Closing date: February 5, 2012.  More info


[abortion, Ireland] – U.N. Committee against Torture: Concluding observations on Ireland’s initial report – download here.
—Ireland Must Ensure Access to Lawful Abortion.  CRR press release

[abortion, Kenyan constitution, US] Foreign Assistance: Clearer Guidance Needed on Compliance Overseas with Legislation Prohibiting Abortion-Related Lobbying GAO-12-35 October 13, 2011.   SSRN article

[abortion, Latin America, book in Spanish] Aborto y Justicia Reproductiva: contextos, modelos regulatorios y argumentos para su debate, comp. Paola Bergallo. Editorial Editores del Puerto
 2011.  528 paginas.   book info in Spanish,

[abortion, personhood] On Abortion and Defining a ‘Person’ Op-ed By Gary Gutting, philosophy professor at University of Notre Dame.  health blog.

 [abortion, Poland] Stigmatisation and Commercialisation of Abortion Services in Poland: Turning Sin into Gold, Agata Chelstowska, Reproductive Health Matters, 19.37, pp. 98-106, 2011. SSRN article

[access to medicines, patents] ACTA – Risks of Third-Party Enforcement for Access to Medicines by Brook K. Baker, American University International Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2011.  SSRN article

[access to medicines, patents] Abbott, Frederick M., Intellectual Property and Public Health: Meeting the Challenge of Sustainability by Frederick M. Abbott, working paper, Nov 2011.  SSRN article 

 [assisted repro] Rethinking Sperm-Donor Anonymity: Of Changed Selves, Non-Identity, and One-Night Stands by Glenn I. Cohen, Georgetown Law Journal.  SSRN article 

 [assisted repro] Regulating Reproduction: The Problem with Best Interests, by I. Glenn Cohen. Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 96, p. 101, 2011.  Article

[assisted repro, Israel ] Egg freezing for non-medical uses: the lack of a relational approach to autonomy in the new Israeli policy and in academic discussion, Journal of Medical Ethics. Article

[cross-border] Circumvention Tourism, by I. Glenn Cohen, Cornell Law Review, Vol. 97, 2012. SSRN article

“Cross-Border Reproductive Care”  Reproductive Biomedicine Online, Vol. 23.  Symposium Issue

[assisted repro] Cross-border assisted reproduction care in Asia: implications for access, equity and regulations, by Andrea Whittaker, Reproductive Health Matters 19.37 (May 2011): abstract/press release.  Article .

[discrimination in access] Multiple Discrimination in Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health: Experiences from Latin America and the Caribbean, by Ximena Casas,  65 U. Miami L. Rev. 955.
proofs online.

[discrimination] European Commission: Compendium of practice on NonDiscrimination/Equality Mainstreaming- now in English, soon in German & French, 64 pp.   Publication

[discrimination] The Reflection of the Non-Discrimination Principle in ECHR Jurisprudence, by Roxana Alina Petraru, working paper.

[discrimination] Structures of Discrimination, by Rebecca J. Cook Macalester International Journal, Vol. 28, pp. 33-60, Spring 2011.  Article.

European Portal for Action on Health Inequalities.  Portal.

Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives, by Rebecca Cook and Simone Cusack, U Penn Press, 2010. English paperback edition -cite 20% discount code: 0B1.  Now available:  Spanish edition (2011)

HIV Testing of Pregnant Women: An Ethical Analysis, by Kjell Arne Johansson et al. 11.3 Developing World Bioethics 109-119 (Dec 2011)  Article

[India – surrogacy] ‘You Can Use My Uterus’- New Horizons of Law Relating to Surrogacy, by Preeti Chaturvedi, Preeti et al.  Working paper

[infanticide] Murder, Medicine and Motherhood, by Emma Cunliffe. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011. Book info 

[Latin America] Sexual and reproductive health and rights in Latin America: an analysis of trends, commitments and achievements, by Emma Richardson & Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Reproductive Health Matters. 2011 Nov;19.38:183-96.  Article.   

Litigating Health Rights: Can Courts Bring More Justice to Health? Ed. Alicia Ely Yamin & Siri Gloppen, Contributors: Paola Bergallo, Octavio Luiz Motta Ferraz, Roberto Gargarella, Ottar Maestad, Ole Fritjof Norheim, Sharanjeet Parmar, Oscar Parra-Vera, Lise Rakner, Mindy Jane Roseman, Namita Wahi, Bruce M. Wilson Harvard University Press, Sept 2011.   Book info

Marriage and Divorce in a Multicultural Context: Multi-Tiered Marriage and the Boundaries of Civil Law and Religion, ed. Joel A. Nichols, Cambridge University Press, 2012; [interdisciplinary and international in scope] Table of Contents and Introduction online at SSRN

Maternal Pedagogies: In and Outside the Classroom edited by Deborah L. Byrd and Fiona J. Green.Demeter Press, 2011 15 North American scholars theorize about how cultural views of motherhood and personal experiences of mothering affect the processes of teaching and learning.  Book info

[prostitution, sex work] How to Argue About Prostitution, by Michelle Madden Dempsey. Criminal Law & Philosophy, 2011.  SSRN article

Repoliticizing sexual and reproductive health and rights.  Report of a global meeting, Langkawi, Malaysia, 3-6 August 2010, (published by Reproductive Health Matters and ARROW, 2011).  Report covers macroeconomic influences on health, public health education, essential medicines for SRH, human rights, funding policies and influences on the global agenda on the part of those in power. 74 pages.  Report online
or email Pathika Martin for a print copy.

Reproductive Health Matters, Nov 2011  issue, “Repoliticising sexual and reproductive health and rights”  is now online.  Table of Contents

[Russia] Jon O’Brien comments on recent erosion of reproductive rights for Russians   Op-ed article

[same-sex marriage] The Impacts on Education and Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage and Lessons from Abortion Jurisprudence, by Lynn D. Wardle. Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal, Vol. 2011, No. 2.  SSRN online

Sex Selection Abortion in Kazakhstan: Understanding a Cultural Justification. Developing World Bioethics 11 (3):154-160.   Article

[sex-trafficking] Labelling the Victims of Sex Trafficking: Exploring the Borderland between Rhetoric and Reality, by Michelle Madden Dempsey et al. Social & Legal Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, p. 313, 2011.  SSRN online here 

[sex-trafficking] Researching Trafficked Women: On Institutional Resistance and the Limits to Feminist Reflexivity by Michelle Madden Dempsey et al., Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 17, p. 769, 2011.  SSRN online here

[sex-trafficking] Widening Our Lens: Incorporating Essential Perspectives in the Fight Against Human Trafficking, by Jonathan Todres, Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 33, pp. 53-76, 2011. SSRN online here

Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Public Health Perspective, edited by Paul F.A. Van Look, H. Kristian Heggenhougen and Stella R. Quah. Academic Press, 2011. Includes article on Reproductive Rights by Joanna Erdman and Rebecca Cook.  Book info.

Surrogacy for the Single, Gay Man, by Tawia B. Ansah & Sharona Hoffman. Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, 22.1, 2012. SSRN abstract article

US: Reproductive Rights Prof Blog provides US-focused scholarship and news.  Subscribe here:

Africa: New “Integration” Partnership Merges Education, HIV, Reproductive Health for Young in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania аnd Zambia. IPPF news item.

[Argentina, update on campaign] For The Right To Legal, Safe And Free Abortion. AWID news analysis 

[Chile] Constitutional Court rejects gay marriage appeal However bill now moving through legislature that regulates de facto unions, including same-sex.  News article

[homosexuality] Global campaign to decriminalise homosexuality to kick off in Belize court. News article

[Mexico, abortion] Mifepristone registered in Mexico.  Ipas news

Nigeria: ‘Same Gender’ Marriage Ban Would Attack Rights Bill Would Invade Privacy, Threaten Broad Range of Activists – Human Rights Watch news 

Pakistan – “Anti-Women Practices Bill” passes Lower House – (to protect women against forced marriage, denial of inheritance).  video report

[surrogacy] South African court sets out guidelines for surrogacy arrangements.  News article

UK: Chair of British HIV Association criticizes law stopping visitors and asylum seekers from getting HIV drugs. News article  

UK pledges £35m for family planning for poor countries.  News article

UK Supreme Court upholds gene patent –for no specific use.  Bionews item.   AMRC policy blog

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Structures of Discrimination

December 9, 2011

Congratulations to Rebecca Cook, Co-Director of our International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme, whose keynote speech at the international symposium held in October 2010 at Macalester College was recently published, and is now online at SSRN here.  


by Rebecca J. Cook
Macalester International Journal, Vol. 28, pp. 33-60, Spring 2011

This essay argues that, in order for women and men to be fully equal, we need to understand the structures of discrimination; that is, the forms of the subordination that are deeply rooted in how we stereotype women and men in ways that deny them benefits or impose burdens. The essay explores how gender stereotypes have contributed to: the failure of the criminal justice system to investigate the disappearances of young women; women�s unequal access to reproductive health services; and discrimination in polygamous family structures.

Conditions for stratification and subordination of women exist when wrongful gender stereotypes are socially pervasive across sectors, and persistent over time. In understanding how restrictive stereotypes of women are pervasive and persistent in criminal law, health law and family law, one is better equipped to dismantle structures of discrimination more generally.

The complete text of this article  is now available in PDF format through SSRN.  Article on SSRN

Rebecca Cook recently co-authored Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives, with Simone Cusack, published in English by University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010, and in Spanish by Profamilia.  More info on English edition.    Spanish edition.

REPROHEALTHLAW listserve, Oct 22, 2011

October 23, 2011



Canadian Supreme Court – historic decision for harm reduction – Ministry of Health ordered to exempt Insite (safe injection site for drug users to reduce HIV transmission) from federal drug laws.  Canada (Attorney General) v. PHS Community Services Society, 2011 SCC 44, Docket  33556
decision online 

CEDAW –  maternal death in Brazil:   Alyne da Silva Pimentel Teixeira (deceased) v Brazil, CEDAW, UN Doc CEDAW/C/49/D/17/2008 (2011)  decision online  Commentary

Mexican Supreme Court dismisses unconstitutionality claim against constitutional amendments in 2 states protecting life from moment of conception. News item

New Zealand Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.  Abortion Supervisory Committee v. Right to Life New Zealand Inc.  [2011] NZCA 246.  Decision online    Commentary


[fellowship] Petrie-Flom Academic Fellowship 2012-2014, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics,  Harvard Law School, USA, Apply by Nov 14, 2011.  More info

[fellowship] John Peters Humphrey Fellowship in International Human Rights, 2012, for students in Canadian law & political science (or equivalent) faculties. Apply to Nov 15, 2011  More info

[papers] Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, special issue on public health law research.  submit paper by Mar 15, 2012. More info

[project funding] Calls for Proposals re funding re sexual/ repro health/rights projects offered by the European Union.  E-neus: Oct 17 edition  online here


(Canada) Reference Re Assisted Human Reproduction Act: Implications of the Supreme Court’s Decision,  symposium, November 4-5, 2011, Bennett Lecture Hall, Flavelle House, Faculty of Law,University of Toronto,Canada.  More info


Indonesia: Safe abortion hotline launched by Women on Waves.  More info

 Mexican president wants change in abortion stance under 1981 Pact of San Jose on Human Rights .  More info


[abortion] Access to Information on Safe Abortion: A Harm Reduction and Human Rights Approach, by Joanna Erdman, Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, Vol. 34, pp. 413-462, 2011 . online at SSRN
[abortion, in Spanish] Special issue on abortion in “Cuestión de Derechos” with articles by Mercedes Cavallo and Paola Bergallo. online here

[access to medicines] IDPC Drug Policy Guide – global evidence & best practices on policy & program design
Executive Summary: English, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, French, ItalianRussian & Spanish
Full text (124 pages): English, French, Spanish, Russian, Georgian & HTML. .

[access to medicines, patents, India] “Freedom under TRIPS: India as an Example. By Cynthia M. Ho, in book: Access to Medicine in the Global Economy: International Agreements on Patents and Related Rights, Oxford University Press, 2011 online at SSRN
[access to medicines, patents, Latin America]
—The Influence of the Andean Intellectual Property Regime on Access to Medicines in Latin America, by Laurence R Helfer & Karen J. Atler, in book: Balancing Wealth and Health: Global Administrative Law and the Battle over Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines in Latin America, ed. Rochelle Dreyfuss, César Rodríguez Garavito, 2011. online at SSRN

—-The Rights-Based Approach to Intellectual Property and Access to Medicine: Parameters and Pitfalls, by Smita Narula, in book: Balancing Wealth and Health: Global Administrative Law and the Battle over Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines in Latin America, ed. Rochelle Dreyfuss, César Rodríguez Garavito, 2011.  online at SSRN

[Africa] Health Care Challenges in Africa: Is Millennium Development Goal 8 an Adequate Panacea? (2011 working paper by Obiajulu Nnamuchi  & Simon Uche Ortuanya, suggests solutions to structural/operational difficultlies re international assistance). online at SSRN

[Conscience – individual, institutional]  Whose Conscience Counts? by Elizabeth Sepper, (2011).  working paper online

[homosexuality -Botswana,India,South Africa, US, Zimbabwe] Morality Tales in Comparative Jurisprudence: What the Law Says About Sex by Allison L. Jernow, analyzes use of public morality justifications in constitutional challenges to laws that criminalize same-sex sexual relationships, use of privacy and equality as counter-arguments to morality. AmsterdamLaw Forum, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 4, 2011 .  online

Legal Perspectives on Gender and Sexual Equality, Amsterdam Law Forum, Vol 3, No 2 (2011). online

[rape] The Crime of Rape Under the Rome Statute of the ICC (with a Special Emphasis on the Jurisprudence of the Ad Hoc Criminal Tribunals) by Nicole Brigitte Maier, Amsterdam Law  Forum, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 146, 2011 . online 

[same-sex rights] The Miraculous Year 2010 in United States’ Gay Rights Law: Anomaly or Tipping Point? By Arthur S. Leonard,  Amsterdam Law Forum, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 176, 2011 .  online

Same-Sex Relationships in Europe: Trends Toward Tolerance?  By Ian Curry-Sumner,   Amsterdam Law Forum, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 43, 2011 .  online

[same-sex marriage] The Institution of Marriage and Other Domestic Relations [re flaws of legalizing same-sex marriage] by Lynn D. Wardle, Amsterdam Law Forum, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 160, 2011.  online

[sex-trafficking, Africa] Human Slavery’s New Era in Sub-Saharan Africa: Combating the Trafficking of Women and Girls for Sexual Exploitation, Report of Findings for Equality Now-Nairobi (August 13, 2010). By Kimberly Marie Brown   Online.

[sex work – India]  Legal Measures Towards Mainstreaming Indian Sex Workers: Would the Swedish Model Work in India? Working paper by Ankita Gulati online

Sexual And Reproductive Rights: More Than Just Health – analysis of Anand Grover’s report to the UN General Assembly, which  focuses on women’s freedom, decision-making, process, and autonomy – by Sandra Dughman Manzur with Shareen Gokal  Online analysis

Unequal in Exile: Gender Equality, Sexual Identity and Refugee Status(2011). By Dale Buscher,  Amsterdam Law Forum, Vol. 3, No. 2, p. 92, 2011 .  Online

 [VAW during wars] Contextualizing Sexual Violence Committed During the War on Terror: A Historical Overview of International Accountability [evolution of international norms re rape & sexual violence] by Alexa Koenig, Ryan S Lincoln & Lauren Groth. University of San Francisco Law Review, Vol. 45, No. 4, p. 911, 2011. online at SSRN

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