“Theorizing Time in Abortion Law” by Joanna N. Erdman

June 29, 2017

Congratulations and thanks to Alicia Ely Yamin, Paola Bergallo, and Marge Berer, guest editors of the Health and Human Rights Journal, issue 19.1,  for their wide-ranging special section on “Abortion and Human Rights” (Table of Contents below), including this article by Prof. Joanna Erdman, MacBain Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law:

Joanna N. Erdman, “Theorizing Time in Abortion Law and Human Rights,” Health and Human Rights 19.1 (June 2017): 29-40. HTML | PDF

The legal regulation of abortion by gestational age, or length of pregnancy, is a relatively undertheorized dimension of abortion and human rights. Yet struggles over time in abortion law, and its competing representations and meanings, are ultimately struggles over ethical and political values, authority and power, the very stakes that human rights on abortion engage. This article focuses on three struggles over time in abortion and human rights law: those related to morality, health, and justice. With respect to morality, the article concludes that collective faith and trust should be placed in the moral judgment of those most affected by the passage of time in pregnancy and by later abortion—pregnant women. With respect to health, abortion law as health regulation should be evidence-based to counter the stigma of later abortion, which leads to overregulation and access barriers. With respect to justice, in recognizing that there will always be a need for abortion services later in pregnancy, such services should be safe, legal, and accessible without hardship or risk.  At the same time, justice must address the structural conditions of women’s capacity to make timely decisions about abortion, and to access abortion services early in pregnancy.

“Abortion and Human Rights” section in Health and Human Rights Journal 19.1:
Contents page.

Narratives of Essentialism and Exceptionalism: The Challenges and Possibilities of Using Human Rights to Improve Access to Safe AbortionAlicia Ely Yamin and Paola Bergallo  HTML | PDF

Abortion Law and Policy Around the World: In Search of Decriminalization  (Discussion) by Marge Berer   HTML | PDF

Theorizing Time in Abortion Law and Human Rights,   Joanna N. Erdman

The Dublin Declaration on Maternal Health Care and Anti-Abortion Activism: Examples from Latin America,  Lynn M. Morgan   HTML | PDF

Regulation of Conscientious Objection to Abortion: An International Comparative Multiple-Case Study,  Wendy Chavkin, Laurel Swerdlow, and Jocelyn Fifield  HTML | PDF

The Role of International Human Rights Norms in the Liberalization of Abortion Laws Globally, Johanna B. Fine, Katherine Mayall, and Lilian Sepúlveda   HTML | PDF

Pregnancy and the 40-Year Prison Sentence: How “Abortion is Murder” Became Institutionalized in the Salvadoran Judicial System,  Jocelyn Viterna and Jose Santos Guardado Bautista   HTML | PDF

Pregnancies and Fetal Anomalies Incompatible with Life in Chile: Arguments and Experiences in Advocating for Legal Reform,  Lidia Casas and Lieta Vivaldi   HTML | PDF

Legal Knowledge as a Tool for Social Change: La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres as an Expert on Colombian Abortion Law, Ana Cristina González Vélez and Isabel Cristina Jaramillo   HTML | PDF

The Battle Over Abortion Rights in Brazil’s State Arenas, 1995-2006, by Marta Rodriguez De Assis Machado and Débora Alves Maciel    HTML | PDF

Abortion Rights Legal Mobilization in the Peruvian Media, 1990–2015, by Camila Gianella   HTML | PDF

The Moderating Influence of International Courts on Social Movements: Evidence from the IVF Case Against Costa Rica, by Julieta Lemaitre and Rachel Sieder   HTML | PDF

Why is a “Good Abortion Law” Not Enough? The Case of Estonia,  by Liiri Oja   HTML | PDF

Macro- and Micro-Political Vernaculizations of Rights: Human Rights and Abortion Discourses in Northern Ireland  by Claire Pierson and Fiona Bloomer  HTML | PDF

Exploring Legal Restrictions, Regulatory Reform, and Geographic Disparities in Abortion Access in Thailand  by Grady Arnott, Grace Sheehy, Orawee Chinthakanan, and Angel M. Foster    HTML | PDF

Decriminalization and Women’s Access to Abortion in Australia, by Barbara Baird   HTML | PDF

Australia: Abortion and Human Rights, by Ronli Sifris and Suzanne Belton   HTML | PDF

PERSPECTIVE Abortion Care in Nepal, 15 Years after Legalization: Gaps in Access, Equity, and Quality, by Wan-Ju Wu, Sheela Maru, Kiran Regmi, and Indira Basnett   HTML | PDF


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