Uruguay: Gender stereotypes in the abortion law

April 22, 2019

Congratulations to Lucía Berro Pizzarossa, LL.M., a doctoral candidate in International Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, who has published several articles about abortion law.  We are pleased to circulate the abstract of her latest article, and links to some others by the same author.

Lucía Berro Pizzarossa,‘“Women are Not in the Best Position to Make These Decisions by Themselves”: Gender Stereotypes in the Uruguayan Abortion Law’ (2019) University of Oxford Human Rights Hub Journal 25-54.  Article online.

Abstract:     Efforts to protect women’s rights can cast dark shadows. Dangerous and often unnoticed stereotypes can motivate and infiltrate legal reforms. Recent changes to the law on abortion in Uruguay have been held out as a best practice model in South America.  Recognising the power of the law to shape our understandings of how people are and should be, this article aims to unpack the stereotypes on women seeking abortions in the Uruguayan legal discourse and map how the law on abortion gives legal force to these harmful stereotyped ideas.  This article analyses the parliamentary proceedings on the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy Act. It asks: Do the debates on abortion in Uruguay reveal a cultural shift? Do members of parliament’s arguments hinge on harmful stereotypes?

In asking these questions, this article explores the extent to which a fairly liberal and widely praised domestic abortion law complies with the national and international human rights obligations to eradicate harmful gender stereotypes. Mining the rhetoric used in the parliament debates reveals the stereotyped images of women that seek abortion services that—rather than reflecting the true complexity and diverse experiences of women that seek abortion—are grounded in women’s perceived degree of deviance from gendered stereotypes, particularly those surrounding motherhood. Uruguayan abortion law, while seemingly protecting women’s rights, in fact hinges on traditional gender attitudes and stereotypes. This article provides the foundations to further develop sophisticated legal and political strategies for fulfilling women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Other articles authored by Lucía Berro Pizzarossa:

Here to Stay: The Evolution of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in International Human Rights Law,” by Lucía Berro Pizzarossa, Laws, 7.3 (2018): 1-17. Open Access Article.

Realising the right to sexual and reproductive health: Access to essential medicines for medical abortion as a core obligation.” by Katrina Perehudoff, Lucía Berro Pizzarossa and Jelle Stekelenburg BMC International Health and Human Rights, 18.1 (2018) [8 pages]. Article online.

Legal barriers to access abortion services through a human rights lens: the Uruguayan experience,” by Lucía Berro Pizzarossa, Reproductive Health Matters 26:52(2018): 151-158.  Abstract and article.

“Global Survey of National Constitutions: Mapping Constitutional Commitments to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights,” by Lucía Berro Pizzarossa and Katrina S. Perehudoff,  Health and Human Rights 19.2 (2017): 279-293. Abstract and Article.  Also published in Healthcare as a Human Rights Issue: Normative Profile, Conflicts and Implementation, ed. Sabine Klotz, Heiner Bielefeldt, Martina Schmidhuber, Andreas Frewer (Bielefeld, Germany:  Transcript Verlag, 2017) 321-346  Open Access chapter.

See also:
Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives, by Rebecca J. Cook and Simone Cusack, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010),  Book in English.
Spanish edition online: PDF

Compiled by the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca   See Program website for our PublicationsInformation resources, and Reprohealthlaw Commentaries Series.
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“What is Africanness?” Contesting nativism in race, culture and sexualities, new book by Prof. Charles Ngwena

September 30, 2018

Congratulations to Professor Charles G. Ngwena from the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, whose peer-reviewed monograph is now freely available for download through the open-access Pretoria University Law Press.

Charles Ngwena,  What is Africanness?  : Contesting nativism in culture, race and sexualities,  (Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2018) 306 pages.
Detailed Table of Contents, Overview, Comments from scholars, and PDFs of all chapters.

This important book contributes to the ongoing scholarly conversation about who is African and what is African.  It aims to implicate a reductive sameness in the naming of Africans (‘nativism’) by showing its teleology and effects, then offers an alternative liberating and decentred understanding of Africa as the land of diverse identifications.   As the author states in the opening chapter: “The intention of this book . . . is to offer a discourse on how Africans can name themselves in the present and in the future without succumbing to nativist impulses requiring a homogeneous past and establishing a transcendental ontology as essential elements of Africanness.  The book seeks to develop a plausible account of African identifications, but ultimately leaves the question Who/what is African? open to debate.”  (p.17)  Accordingly, the book ends with an epilogue, rather than a conclusion.

The book has three major parts:



The third part of the book “comprises three chapters organised around interrogating representations of African sexualities and ultimately suggesting a philosophical way forward in the manner sexual citizenship is contested.” (p. 14)  The REPROHEALTHLAW Blog is pleased to circulate brief overviews of these chapters, as excerpted from the author’s introduction to the book:

Chapter 6.   Representing African Sexualities: Contesting Nativism from Without     PDF online 
This chapter “speaks to nativism from without. It highlights that narratives which represent African sexualities should always be understood as being culturally and historically situated. They are representations constructed within the knowledge and power system(s) of a given polity at a particular historical time and location, together with a social and political dynamics for social stratification, domination and status subordination. The chapter uses the representation of African sexualities in colonial discourses to make this point. I do not argue that colonial discourses tell us everything we need to know about African sexualities or that, historically, they are the single most important archive on the representation of African sexualities.
“Rather, the value of colonial discourses lies in their stubbornly persistent power, which continues to summon ‘Africans’ into place. In many ways, the construction of stereotypical representations of African sexualities is anchored in the nativisation of African cultures by colonial discourses. The argument in this chapter draws in part on Edward Said’s ‘orientalism’ and Mahmood Mamdani’s ‘nativism’. The works of Said and Mamdani serve as important resources in implicating ‘surface regularities’ in colonial discourses and their effects in typologising Africans as ‘natives’.
“I argue in this chapter for the importance of understanding the representation of Africanness in colonial discourses as an effect of the construction of colonial whiteness.”  (pp. 14-15)

Chapter 7.  ‘Transgressive’ Sexualities:  Contesting Nativism from within and Overcoming Status Subordination.      PDF online
“[F]rom time to time, ‘African values’ are invoked by political and cultural authorities to continentalise sexuality and to prescribe a regimented and homogenised African sexuality that specifically excludes sexualities outside heterosexuality and, more specifically, delegitimises non-heteronormative and same-sex sexualities. I advance counter-arguments to the legitimacy of claims that heterosexuality is the only culturally acceptable sexuality for Africans. The chapter develops a framework for recognising diversities of sexuality in ways that are informed by a transformative understanding of sexuality and, ultimately, of an inclusive equality. The framework seeks to deconstruct scripted knowledge about sexuality in order to build an understanding that reveals the complexity, diversity and ultimately political nature of sexuality. I argue that recognising difference in the realm of sexuality requires a radical epistemology that is capable of moving beyond the raw physicality of the body, the genitalia, biological impulse and a capacity for language in order to take cognisance of how sexuality is socially constructed in historical time and place. Necessarily, representations of African sexualities ought to acknowledge that norms and frameworks which give coherence to heterosexuality and its congruent gender binaries are but one cultural variant that exists in juxtaposition with pluralistic articulations of sexualities.” (pp. 15-16)

Chapter 8. Mediating Conflicting Sexuality Identifications through Politics and an Ethics of Pluralism.   PDF online.
This chapter “concludes Part 3 with a discussion of how we might mediate conflicting sexuality identifications through first promoting an understanding of the politics and ethics of pluralism. The discussion is predicated on an assumption, regardless of contradictory praxis, that African states in their independence as well as post-independence constitutions formally commit themselves to political pluralism. Against this backdrop the overarching premise is that in political communities committed to liberal democracy, differences are an ordinary part of our political lives.  Even if we agree as to how we should be governed and share political space, it is not necessary or warranted that we should also reach agreement on all moral issues, including conceptions of our sexual and reproductive selves.
“Chapter 8 builds its arguments partly by appropriating to the concept of ‘equality’ two political notions: the notion of an ‘overlapping consensus’ as advocated by John Rawls, and the notion of ‘dissensus’ as advocated by Nicholas Rescher.  In part the chapter builds its arguments by linking equality with participatory democracy using mainly Iris Young’s argument for recognising difference in a heterogeneous public in which there is mutual recognition between different sexuality identifications, and Hannah Arendt’s concept of citizenship in a plural political community.
“The main thesis in Chapter 8 is that overcoming an impasse which arises where there is strong communitarian opposition to a given sexuality does not lie in dismissing such opposition as without a rational political foundation. Rather, it lies in accepting the legitimacy of the opposition through a democratic polity that  is committed to non-hierarchical inclusiveness and relations of cooperation in matters of moral and religious controversy.”   (pp. 16-17)

Detailed overview of the entire book, with comments by legal specialists,  a complete Table of Contents and links to PDF chapters are available here from the Pretoria University Law Press.

Recent publications by Prof. Charles Ngwena:
“Reproductive Autonomy of Women and Girls under the Disabilities Convention.”  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 140.1 (Jan. 2018): 128-133.  Article abstract.

“Taking Women’s Rights Seriously: Using Human Rights to Require State Implementation of Domestic Abortion Laws in African Countries with Reference to Uganda,” Journal of African Law 60.1 (Feb 2016): 110-140.   Article abstract

“Human Rights Advances in Women’s Reproductive Health in Africa” by Charles G. Ngwena, Eunice Brookman-Amissah,  and Patty Skuster,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 129.2 (May 2015): 184-187.    Article download from SSRN.  Article online.

“Reforming African Abortion Laws and Practice: The Place of Transparency,” (in Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) Article abstract.

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

“A Commentary on LC v Peru: The CEDAW Committee’s First Decision on Abortion.” Journal of African Law, 57.2 (Oct 2013): 310-324;   available online here.”  Abstract online.

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.




Argentina: Historic opportunity to legalize abortion

April 26, 2018
Many thanks to Mercedes Cavallo, a doctoral student at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, for updating REPROHEALTHLAW subscribers about current developments in her home country of Argentina, based on the Opinion piece she published in Clarin, a Spanish periodical, on March 10, 2018. Op-ed  in Spanish

In Argentina, since 1921, abortion is only legal when the health or life of the woman is in danger, or when the pregnancy results from rape. Although efforts to guarantee access to legal abortion under these three grounds were implemented in the last decade, estimates show that between 370,000 and 520,000 clandestine abortions are performed annually in Argentina. Unsafe illegal abortion has been the leading cause of maternal morality for the past 30 years, amounting to an annual average of 47 maternal deaths due to unsafe abortion.
This year, after six failed attempts to make the Congress debate a bill to decriminalize and legalize abortion on request until the 14th week of gestation, a bill is finally being debated. During April and May 2018, public hearings are being held, where speakers in favour and against the bill present their viewpoints before legislators. After that, the bill will be formally debated in Congress. Hopefully, by the end of the year, Argentina will join the group of countries that respect reproductive and sexual rights.

In her Opinion piece entitled “Aborto legal, oportunidad histórica,” Mercedes Cavallo cogently argues that the parliamentary debate should not hinge on personal opinions about the morality of the practice. Instead the Argentine Congress should focus on whether abortion should remain criminalized or not. Given the practical absurdity of prosecuting 370,000 to 520,000 women and their helpers as criminals every year, and the State’s longstanding commitments to non-discrimination and gender equality under international law, she argues that Argentina should decriminalize abortion under 14 weeks’ gestation to honor the republican principle of equality.

The Opinion piece by Mercedes Cavallo, published in Clarin, March 10, 2018 is online here in Spanish.

An updated Spanish version is online here. Revised Spanish op-ed. 



Brazil: Conservative mobilization and adolescent pregnancy in Latin America

November 30, 2017

Many thanks to scholars  Camila Gianella, Marta R. de Assis Machado, and Angélica Peñas Defago, for sharing their research with readers of the Reprohealthlaw Blog.

On September 27, 2017, the Brazilian Supreme Court – in a 6 to 5 judgmentdecided that public schools can have “confessional” (Catholic) religious teaching in their curriculum. The constitutional case had been proposed by the Attorney General, who argued that current practice – that privileges Roman Catholic indoctrination – would violate the separation between Church and State as well as religious freedom. Although the judgment brings severe consequences to education rights in Brazil, it is only one example of the recent battles by conservative religious groups to influence Brazilian public education. The Catholic church has a long history of interference in Roman Catholic countries, aiming to block comprehensive sex education in schools. More recently, other churches and conservative groups have adopted similar strategies to influence educational policies in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America.

In 2011, a school booklet advocating “Schools without Homophobia,” prepared by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, was recalled after strong pressure from conservative movements, evangelical and Catholic leaders. It was denounced as an instrument to promote homosexuality among children and to destroy families. In 2014, the debate over Brazil’s National Education Plan was the battlefield of conservative and religious groups against what they called “gender ideology”.  Supported by civil society mobilization,  including a organization (ironically) called Escola sem Partido [Schools without Politics] conservative members of congress overruled a clause in the Brazilian National Education Plan that stated, among the goals of the public educational system, overcoming educational inequalities, with emphasis in the promotion of equality among races, regions, genders and sexual orientations. Vocal critics of anti-discriminatory public policies in education also applied political pressure during the discussion and passing of state and municipal education plans.

Brazil is only one example of a new wave of conservative mobilization that is sweeping Latin America, characterized by the gathering of powerful old economic elites and religious conservative groups.  Among its central political strategies, this new wave fights against the inclusion of a gender equality approach in public policies, including school curricula among their principal battlegrounds.   Across the region, this movement has won many major disputes with significant impact.  They have succeeded on blocking gender approaches and comprehensive sexual education not only in Brazil, but in the Argentinian provinces of Mendoza and Entre Rios, in Monterrey (Mexico), Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and even in the most secular country in the region, Uruguay.

As our forthcoming letter to the Editor of The Lancet (2017) explains, this new wave of conservative mobilization has tangible health effects. By opposing sexual education in the schools as well as the introduction of a gender equality approach within the school curricula, they hinder a core element of public health strategies to empower girls and adolescents, and consequently to prevent teenage pregnancies, which have a devastating negative impact on women, by, for example, contributing to female poverty.

Latin America is already the only region in the world where adolescent pregnancies are not decreasing.  A recent analysis of global health progress, published by The Lancet, has shown that if the current trends continue, Latin American countries will not be able to reach their Sustainable Development Goals for reduction of teen pregnancy.  The adolescent fertility rate in Latin America (73.2 per 1000) is very high when compared with the worldwide rate of 48.9 and even the rate in developing countries (52.7).

The new wave of conservative mobilization in Latin America aggravates this situation and must therefore be taken seriously by those interested in preventing and reducing female poverty, and promoting gender equality not only in Latin America, but worldwide.  If there is something to be learned from Latin America, it is that the battle against gender equality can be strategically used by political groups aiming to gain or retain political power.   In this scenario, public health advocates must shift the discussion to public policies rather that moral battles, and urge governments to implement measures to empower women of all ages and grant girls and adolescents reproductive autonomy, which includes access to information through public education.

About the authors: 
Camila Gianella, M.Sc, Ph,H. has worked as researcher and consultant for projects on sexual and reproductive rights, the right to health, tuberculosis, mental health and transitional justice. She has been a counselor in HIV and Tuberculosis services, and also worked with asylum seekers.   She now works as a researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), Bergen, Norway,

Marta Rodriguez de Assis Machado has Master’s (2004) and PhD (2007) degrees  in Philosophy and Theory of Law at University of Sao Paulo.  Since 2007, she has served as full time professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation Law School in Sao Paulo, researcher at the Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP); and global fellow at the Centre on Law & Social Transformation (CMI) at the University of Bergen, Norway.

María Angélica Peñas Defago obtained her PhD in Law and Social Sciences at the National University of Cordoba (UNC), Argentina, where he is now Assistant Professor of Legal Sociology, and a  Researcher and Professor in the Sexual and Reproductive Rights Program, School of Law, UNC, Post-doctoral Fellow of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research, Argentina (CONICET / CIJS-UNC).
Related resources: 
Maria Jose Rivas Vera, “Sexuality Education in Paraguay: Using Human Rights and International Policies to Define Adolescents’ Right to Sexuality Education” (LL.M. thesis, University of Toronto, 2015) thesis online.   

Julieta Lemaitre, “Catholic Constitutionalism on Sex, Women, and the Beginning of Life,” Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman, and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) pp 239-257, notes pp. 430-434. Abstract in English.   Resumen en espanolLibro en español.


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.


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

June 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Claire Murray, “The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013: Suicide, Dignity and the Irish Discourse on Abortion“, published in Social and Legal Studies 2016,  25(6): 667-698     PDF and abstract     Accepted text.

The REPROHEALTHLAW Blog is compiled by the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Canada,  reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca.   For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here.
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REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – June 2017

June 29, 2017

 SUBSCRIBE TO REPROHEALTHLAW: To receive these updates monthly by email, enter your address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Links to employers in the field of Reproductive and Sexual Health Law are online here


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

REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – May 2017

May 26, 2017

 SUBSCRIBE TO REPROHEALTHLAW: To receive these updates monthly by email, enter your address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Northern/Irish Feminist Judgments: Judges’ Troubles and the Gendered Politics of Identity, edited by Máiréad Enright, Julie McCandless and Aoife O’Donoghue (Oxford: Hart, 2017)   re-imagines, re-writes and comments on 26 court decisions from feminist perspectives.  Our commentsTable of Contents and details

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

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


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


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

Links to other employers in the field of Reproductive and Sexual Health Law are online here

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