Malawi: The duty to make abortion law transparent

January 14, 2019

Congratulations to Godfrey Dalitso Kangaude, LL.M., a doctoral candidate in Law at the University of Pretoria, and Dr. Chisale Mhango, former Director of Reproductive Health Services in Malawi’s Ministry of Health, for their recent publication in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.   We are pleased to circulate the abstract and links below:

Godfrey Dalitso Kangaude and Chisale Mhango, “The duty to make abortion law transparent: A Malawi case study,” International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 143.3 (Dec. 2018): 409–413     PDF at Wiley onlineSubmitted text at SSRN.

Abstract:    Despite adopting a progressive legal and policy framework informed by internationally recognized human rights norms and values, Malawi has not complied with the obligation to explain its abortion law in accordance with legal and human rights standards. In 1930, the colonial government adopted a Penal Code derived from English criminal law, containing provisions regulating access to abortion, but has not undertaken measures to explain when abortion is lawful. What constitutes legal abortion has never been clarified for health providers and potential clients. Consequently, eligible girls and women fail to access safe and legal abortion. The Malawi Law Commission, following its review of the colonial abortion law, has proposed liberal changes which, if implemented, would expand access to safe abortion. However, the immediate step the government ought to take is to clarify the current abortion law, and not to wait for a new law expected to materialize in the indeterminate future.

Keywords: abortion law in Malawi, Colonial abortion law, Health and human rights, Implementing abortion law, Lawful abortion, Transparency in abortion law

Download this publication here: free access for only 12 months.
Submitted typescript, before publication:  is available here at SSRN.

Related resources:

Charles G. Ngwena, “Reforming African Abortion Laws and Practice: The Place of Transparency” 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 166-186, notes 419-422.      Article abstract online.   Abortion Law book Table of Contents and abstracts.   Book in Spanish.

“Achieving Transparency in Implementing Abortion Laws” by R.J. Cook, J.N. Erdman and B.M. Dickens (2007) 99 International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 157-161.  Article and abstract online.

88 other concise IJGO articles on Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive Health 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.

 


Understandings of self-managed abortion as health inequity, harm reduction and social change

January 14, 2019

Congratulations to Joanna N. Erdman, Kinga Jelinska and Susan Yanow, whose commentary was published in November issue of Reproductive Health Matters entitled “SRHR for all? Exploring inequities within countries.”  Professor Erdman is  Associate Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Dalhousie; Kinga Jelinska, a cultural anthropologist, works with Women Help Women; and Susan Yanow, founding executive director of the Abortion Access Project, consults with non-governmental organizations.  We are pleased to circulate the abstract:

Joanna N. Erdman, Kinga Jelinska & Susan Yanow (2018): Understandings of
self-managed abortion as health inequity, harm reduction and social change, Reproductive Health Matters 26.54 (Nov. 2018): 13-19.   Article online.

“This commentary explores how self-managed abortion (SMA) has transformed understandings of and discourses on safe abortion and associated health inequities through an intersection of harm reduction, human rights and collective activism. The article examines three primary understandings of the relationship between SMA and safe abortion: first SMA as health inequity, second SMA as harm reduction, and third SMA as social change, including health system innovation and reform. A more dynamic understanding of the relationship between SMA, safe abortion and health inequities can both improve the design of interventions in the field, and more radically reset reform goals for health systems and other state institutions towards the full realisation of sexual and reproductive health and human rights.”

The full text of this 6-page article is online here.

Related Resources:

Reproductive Health Matters 26.54  “SRHR for all? Exploring inequities within countries.”  (Nov. 2018)  Table of Contents online.

“A tough job: recognizing access to abortion as a matter of equality. A commentary on the views of the UN Human Rights Committee in the cases of Mellet v. Ireland and Whelan v. Ireland,” by Katarzyna Sękowska-Kozłowska,  Reproductive Health Matters 26.54 (Nov. 2018): 25-31.  Article online.

“Federalism, two-level games and the politics of abortion rights implementation in subnational Argentina, by Alba Ruibal, Reproductive Health Matters 54 (Nov. 2018): 137-144.  Article 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.


Physicians’ Challenges under El Salvador’s Criminal Abortion Prohibition

September 30, 2018
Congratulations to Alyson Zureick and her colleagues Amber Khan, Angeline Chen and Astrid Reyes at New York University for their new publication in the Ethical and Legal Issues section of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.  A PDF of the published text is now online.  We are pleased to circulate the abstract to REPROHEALTHLAW subscribers.
Alyson Zureick, Amber Khan, Angeline Chen and Astrid Reyes “Physicians’ Challenges under El Salvador’s Criminal Abortion Prohibition.” International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 143 (Oct. 2018) : 121–126.
Early view PDF online.   Submitted text  at SSRN.

El Salvador’s criminal abortion law—one of the few in the world that prohibits all abortions and that is actively enforced against women—harms women’s health and undermines the ethical duties of Salvadoran physicians and the standing of the medical profession. Under the criminal abortion regime, physicians are incentivized to disclose their patients’ confidential medical information, in violation of their ethical duties, and public health care facilities have become sites of criminal investigation. These investigations target women not only for illegal abortions but also for miscarriages and obstetric emergencies. The ban further prevents physicians from providing medical care that is often necessary to preserve a woman’s life or health. Finally, by criminalizing women’s pregnancy outcomes, the regime undermines the country’s recent public health improvement efforts and compounds the marginalization of women and girls from its most vulnerable communities, in violation of the state’s international human rights obligations.

Keywords: Abortion legislation; Criminalization, El Salvador, International human rights, Medical ethics, Reproductive health, Public hospitals.

Full text PDF is now accessible:   Early view PDF online.

Submitted text  can be downloaded through SSRN.

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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.


Access to knowledge and the Global Abortion Policies Database

September 30, 2018

Congratulations to Joanna N. Erdman and Brooke R. Johnson Jr., who recently published an article in the Ethical and Legal Issues section of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.  Prof. Joanna Erdman teaches Law at Dalhousie University and Brooke R. Johnson the World Health Organization’s Department of Health and Research and manages the WHO’s Global Abortion Policies Database.

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

Research shows that women, healthcare providers, and even policy makers worldwide have limited or inaccurate knowledge of the abortion law and policies in their country. These knowledge gaps sometimes stem from the vague and broad terms of the law, which breed uncertainty and even conflict when unaccompanied by accessible regulation or guidelines. Inconsistency across national law and policy further impedes safe and evidence‐based practice. This lack of transparency creates a crisis of accountability. Those seeking care cannot know their legal entitlements, service providers cannot practice with legal protection, and governments can escape legal responsibility for the adverse effects of their laws. This is the context for the newly launched Global Abortion Policies Database—an open‐access repository that seeks to promote transparency and state accountability by providing clear and comprehensive information about national laws, policies, health standards, and guidelines, and by creating the capacity for comparative analysis and cross‐referencing to health indicators, WHO recommendations, and human rights standards.

The published article  can temporarily be downloaded in PDF at Wiley online.
Full text, as submitted, is online at SSRN.
Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive Health: 85+ 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 – December 2016

December 20, 2016

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

DEVELOPMENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCHOLARSHIP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS

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

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

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

JOBS

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

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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.


Call for Papers on Abortion and Human Rights

June 15, 2016

The Health and Human Rights Journal is calling for papers to be published in a special section in June 2017 on abortion from a human rights perspective. The special section will be edited by Alicia Ely Yamin and Paola Bergallo.  Papers must be submitted by 31 October 2016.
Topics could include:

  • Conceptual and theoretical analysis of the developments on abortion law and human rights in international and constitutional law throughout the world.
  • Socio-legal studies of legal mobilization and counter-mobilization on abortion rights exploring the role of actors such as the women’s and the human rights movement, health providers, conservative and religious groups, legal support structures, and political players. The studies could focus in the dynamics of national, sub-national, regional, transnational or international struggles for and against the right to abortion.
  • The challenges of implementing abortion reforms through high impact litigation, abortion guidelines, or social mobilization strategies such as the hotlines providing access to information on medical abortion or the damage reduction model put forward by physicians.
  • The effects and impacts—for example, in women, groups, public opinion, policies, rules and other contexts—of the different legal strategies for abortion deployed by progressive and conservative movements. The impact of policies criminalizing abortion and other reproductive rights in women’s life and health.
  • A critical examination of the experience and policies of particular countries as they have attempted to expand access to abortion trough legal reforms and health policies.
  • Comparisons of health and legal abortion reforms adopted in different countries of the world. Sub-national comparisons within countries or between sub-national experiences of different countries.

About the Journal: The Health and Human Rights Journal is a peer-reviewed, open access journal under the editorship of Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer. It is published twice yearly by Harvard University Press, with new issues released in June and December. There are no publication fees unless authors can use open access publication grants.

Submission Details:

  • Papers must be submitted by 31 October 2016
  • Papers have a maximum word length of 7,000 words, including references.
  • Author guidelines are available here.
  • Editorial style guide is online here.

Questions about this special section on “Abortion and Human Rights”  can be directed to: Alicia Ely Yamin (ayamin@hsph.harvard.edu), Paola Bergallo (paola.bergallo@gmail.com) or Carmel Williams, Executive Editor, Health and Human Rights Journal (HHRsubmissions@hsph.harvard.edu).


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates: Publications, News and Jobs

November 26, 2015

 REPROHEALTHLAW-L
November 26, 2015

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.

PUBLICATIONS

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective:  Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman and Bernard M. Dickens, 16 chapters.  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014, 482 pages. Introduction by the editors. Table of Cases online  Table of ContentsPurchase from U Penn PressAhora disponible en español.

[abortion, South Africa]  Abortion Under Apartheid: Nationalism, Sexuality, and Women’s Reproductive Rights in South Africa, by Susanne Klausen,  (Oxford University Press, 2015) the first full-length scholarly study of the history of abortion in an African context.    Table of Contents and overview from OUP.   Abstract from OUP Canada    Review in The Daily Maverick.

[abortion rights] “How to talk about abortion: A guide to rights based messaging” by IPPF. 32-page guide.

[Africa]  Litigating the Right to Health in Africa  Challenges and Prospects,  ed.  Ebenezer Durojaye  (Ashgate: London 2015).  Abstract, Table of Contents and Introduction (“Look Inside”)   50% discount code:  50CZP15N

Colombia – plan to decriminalize abortion within 12 weeks’ gestation.  Article Nov 11, 2015.

[conscience] Drawing the Line:  Tackling tensions between religion and equality, by INCLO.  56-page report

Spanish resources available online:
—Estereotipos de Género:  Perspectivas Legales Transnacionales, por Rebecca J. Cook y Simone Cusack  (Bogota: Profamilia, 2010)   Libro Espanol en PDF.     Tabla  de Contenido     [English:] Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives

Salud reproductiva y derechos humanos: Integración de la medicina, la ética y el derecho, por Rebecca J. Cook, Bernard M. Dickens y Mahmoud F. Fathalla (Bogota, Profamilia, 2004) Libro Espanol en PDF[English:] Reproductive Health and Human Rights: Integrating Medicine, Ethics and Law  (Oxford, 2003).

Other Spanish publications from the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law programme.

[sterilization] Robbed of Choice:   Forced and coerced sterilization experiences of women living with HIV in Kenya, by F. Kasiva
48-page report.  10 minute video.

[violence against women] ‘Bridging the Divide’: An Interview with Professor Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women – Springer.  Abstract and interview text: Temporary open access.

NEWS:

Australian home-based medical abortion now available  Tabbot website.

China ends one-child policy after 35 years.  Guardian newspaper.

Ireland:  Labour to seek cross-party consensus on abortion legislation — Proposal to repeal eighth amendment (equal rights for fetus) to be key demand for party after general election.  Irish Times article.

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

JOBS

Guttmacher Institute (Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights  through research, policy analysis and public education) is hiring:  State Issues Assistant, Research Assistant, and Communications Associates.  Guttmacher jobs

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

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