REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – Feb. 2017

February 14, 2017

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AB and Surrogacy Advisory Group v. the Minister of Social Development (Centre for Child Law as Amicus Curiae)  CCT 155/15, decided November 29, 2016 (Constitutional Court of South Africa).  Genetic link to one parent is required, and constitutional.   Surrogacy decision.   Summary by Ronaldah Lerato Karabo Ozah.


Meeting: INROADS (International Network for the Reduction of Abortion Discrimination and Stigma), African regional members’ gathering in Lusaka, Zambia, 29-30 May 2017.  Free membership. Free registration.   Financial support for travel expenses: apply by Wed March 8, 2017.

CFP: Sexual and reproductive health and rights in humanitarian crises, especially essays re heightened risk and vulnerability, interventions and responses, and legal and policy issues, for Reproductive Health Matters 26:51.   Submit by May 31, 2017. Call for papers.

Call for volunteer experts in sexual and reproductive health rights to review and validate country-specific data for the “National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database.” Contact person and Countries where expertise needed.   About the database.    About the Sexual Rights Initiative.

[abortion law] “Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights”  Social and Legal Studies: an international journal, 25.6 (2016): 6-166. Online for institutional subscribers.
— Introduction, by editor Siobhan Mullally
— The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013: Suicide, Dignity and the Irish Discourse on Abortion, by Clare Murray
— Gender in Constitutional Discourses on Abortion: Looking at Spain from a Comparative Perspective, by Blanca Rodríguez-Ruiz
— Advocating Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland: Local and Global Tensions, by Catherine O’Rourke
— Killing ‘Unborn Children’? The Catholic Church and Abortion Law in Poland Since 1989, by Dorota Szelewa
— Abortion Rights as Human Rights, by Rachel Rebouché
–Talking about Abortion [in the U.S.], by Carol Sanger
 Online for institutional subscribers.

[abortion – Ireland]  “Fatal Fetal Abnormality, Irish Constitutional Law and Mellet v. Ireland,” by Fiona de Londras, Medical Law Review (2016) 24 (4): 591-607.  Article – 17 pages.

[abortion – Ireland]  “Invisible Women:  Ireland and the Fight to Access Safe and Legal Abortion,” by Chiara Cosentino, Medicina nei Secoli Arte e Scienza (Journal of History of Medicine) 28/2 (2016) 413-434.  Online for institutional subscribers.

[African court decisions]  Legal Grounds:  Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts, Volume III:  54 African court cases summarized and analyzed by Godfrey Kangaude, Onyema Afulukwe, Guy-Fleury Ntwari, et. al (Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2017) 228 pages from PULP.   Overview including previous volumes.

[conscientious objection] “Conscientious objection to abortion provision: Why context matters” by Laura Florence Harris, Jodi Halpern, Ndola Prata, Wendy Chavkin, Caitlin Gerdts,  Global Public Health 12 September 2016; Online for institutional subscribers

[conscientious objection] “Freedom of Conscience, Medical Practitioners and Abortion in South Africa,” by  Shaun Alberto de Freitas, International Journal for Religious Freedom, 4.1 (2011) Abstract and Article

“Conscience and Agent-Integrity: A Defence of Conscience-Based Exemptions in the Healthcare Context” by Mary Neal and Sara Fovargue,  Medical Law Review  (2016) 24 (4): 544-570. Online for institutional subscribers.

Conscientious Objection and Conscientious Commitment – publications by Bernard M. Dickens et al., and recommended reading.  Conscientious Objection publications

[embryos] The Use and Disposal of Stored Embryos, by Bernard M. Dickens.  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 134 (2016) 114–117. Abstract and Article.

[Inter-American Human Rights] “Women’s Reproductive Rights and Reparations: Lessons from the Inter-American System of Human Rights,” by Ciara O’Connell, in Inter-American Human Rights Network, Moving Beyond the Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What to Learn From International Human Rights Systems?” Ghent, Belgium (29-30 January 2016). Conference paper.

[Uruguay model] “Reducing Maternal Mortality by Preventing Unsafe Abortion: The Uruguayan Experience.” ed. Anibal Faúndes,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 134, Sup 1 (Aug 2016). Articles include surveys before and after legalization, reduction in maternal deaths, role of medical abortion, barriers of conscientious objection and replication of the model in Buenos Aires province, Argentina.  IJGO Supplement

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


Abortion News Without the Stigma: breaking news on abortion rights.  New website tool

[Canada] “Mifegymiso” – abortion pill now available to Canadian women  Newspaper article

[Sicily, Italy] Valentina Milluzzo, aged 32, 5 months pregnant with twins when she miscarried, fell ill and died from sepsis.  Her death has reignited debate about the high number of gynaecologists and obstetricians who refuse to provide abortions.   Guardian newspaper.  Article by Elizabeth Canitano, gynecologist from “Vita di Donna” (Lives of Women)


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 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.


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


[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.


[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.


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 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.

Forced sterilization case against Bolivia: expert testimony by Christina Zampas

June 15, 2016


I.V. v Bolivia is the first case the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has heard on informed consent to medical treatment and the first case alleging forced sterilization. It is only the second reproductive rights case considered by this Court.

This case concerned the involuntary sterilization in 2000 of an immigrant woman from Peru in a public hospital in Bolivia during a caesarean section.  The doctors decided that a future pregnancy would be dangerous for I.V. and performed a tubal ligation, claiming that this was necessary in order to prevent a future pregnancy. They also noted that they had obtained I.V.’s consent while on the operating table. When I.V. learned that she had been sterilized she felt devastated, and has been seeking justice ever since.

In 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights referred this case to the Inter-American Court for a decision, after having concluded that Bolivia was responsible for the violation of Articles 5.1, 8.1, 11.2, 13, 17, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and Article 7 of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará). The Commission’s report is online here.

Christina Zampas, a Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Fellow at the University of Toronto’s International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, presented oral expert testimony before the Court during its hearing on 2 May 2016 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Christina Zampas has studied forced sterilization issues since 2002, when at the Center for Reproductive Rights, she worked with the Center for Civil and Human Rights (Poradňa), Slovakia, to document the forced sterilization of Roma women in Slovakia, and co-authored Body and Soul: forced sterilization and other assaults on Roma reproductive freedom in Slovakia, online here.   Since then, she has engaged in advocacy and litigation before UN and regional human rights and intergovernmental bodies, calling for accountability on the issue. She has also co-chaired Open Society Foundation’s Working Group on Sterilization and has been instrumental in the development of health and medical association standards on the topic, including the World Health Organization (WHO) UN Inter Agency statement on forced and coerced sterilization (2014) online here, and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics’  guidelines on female sterilization (2011), pages 122-126.

In her recent testimony before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Zampas focused on international and regional human rights standards in relation to informed consent to medical care generally, and to sterilization specifically.  In her presentation, she explained United Nations and European Court of Human Rights standards and case law on the subject, including on the numerous cases against Slovakia concerning forced sterilization of Roma women, as well as international health and ethical standards.  She emphasized that international and regional health and human rights standards are clear: sterilization for prevention of future pregnancy cannot be justified on grounds of medical emergency, which would permit departure from the general principle of informed consent.  Even if a future pregnancy might endanger a person’s life or health, alternative contraceptive methods can be used to ensure that the individual does not become pregnant immediately. The individual must be given the time and information needed to make an informed choice about sterilization. The provision of information, counseling and sterilization under the stressful conditions of childbirth are not only a violation of the right to information but also violate the right to privacy, physical integrity and human dignity and are a gross disregard for an individual’s autonomy, rising to the level of inhuman and degrading treatment.

Zampas’s testimony also urged the Court to address the gender stereotypes and the intersectionality of gender with other characteristics, such as race and ethnicity, disability, HIV and migrant status, often underlying the practice. These stereotypes deem women incapable of making rational decisions about their reproductive capacity, stripping them of decision-making regarding their own bodies and lives. They assume that men and people in positions of authority—such as doctors who perform medical procedures, male family members, or society at large—are better positioned to make decisions for women. Human rights bodies have recognized the power imbalances in doctor-patient relationships and how this can lead to serious abuses, including in the use of the medical necessity doctrine. She noted that such notions, prevalent in society, can lead to violations of the right to be free from discrimination.

Zampas’s testimony set forth potential individual and structural (general) remedies, including compensation and an apology, law and policy reform that is in line with human rights standards, training and education of all health care staff, adoption of ethical guidelines to address informed consent and gender stereotyping, and monitoring of public and private health centers to ensure accountability, and guarantee an effective remedy when violations do occur.

Amicus briefs in this case were filed by Women’s Link Worldwide and the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School, Ciara O’Connell and Diana Guarinzo-Peralata at University of Sussex, and the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic at CUNY Law School and Women Enabled International. Expert written testimony was provided by Luisa Cabal, in her capacity as a lawyer and expert on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and Ana G. Cepin, MD, Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The decision is expected within the next year.

Relevant publications:

Christina Zampas is co-author with Adriana Lamačková, a former LLM student in the program, of “Forced and Coerced Sterilization of Women in Europe,” International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics (2011), Forced and Coerced Sterilization.

Sterilization: list of program resources, including articles, theses, and further reading .   Sterilization resources.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive and Sexual Health, written or edited by Rebecca Cook and Bernard Dickens, published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics – Ethical/Legal articles  online.