Northern Ireland: Advocating Abortion Rights – Local and Global Tensions

April 25, 2017
Congratulations to Dr. Catherine O’Rourke of the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, Northern Ireland.  Her useful journal article was recently published in a special issue of Social & Legal Studies,  guest-edited by Siobhan Mullally, on “Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights”:

Catherine O’Rourke “Advocating Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland: Local and Global Tensions,” Social and Legal Studies 25 (6). pp. 716-740.
Published PDF       Submitted text (accepted after minor revisions)

Abstract:       It is frequently claimed that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is more significant for the cultural, rather than legal, work that it does in reframing locally contested gender issues as the subject of international human rights. While this argument is well developed in respect of violence against women, CEDAW’s cultural traction is less clear in respect of women’s right to access safe and legal abortion. This article examines the request made jointly by Alliance for Choice, the Family Planning Association Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform to the CEDAW Committee to request an inquiry under the CEDAW Optional Protocol into access to abortion in the jurisdiction. The study found that the CEDAW framework was useful in underpinning alliances between diverse pro-choice organizations but less effective in securing the support of ‘mainstream’ human rights organizations in the jurisdiction. The article argues that the local cultural possibilities of CEDAW must be understood as embedded within both the broader structural gendered limitations of international human rights law and persistent regressive gendered sub-themes within mainstream human rights advocacy.
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For full text of this article, see:
“Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights”:  special issue of Social & Legal Studies, ed. Siobhan Mullally and Clare Murray:  Table of Contents
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El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias

October 27, 2016

      
libro-aborto-portada

por Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman

y Bernard M. Dickens, (editores)
(México, FCE/CIDE 2016).

El debate jurídico y judicial sobre el aborto ha tenido, a lo largo del siglo XX y principios del XXI, importantes revoluciones en su abordaje teórico y práctico, que son expresión de estrategias de sectores sociales, religiosos y políticos que en ocasiones resultan contrapuestas.

Éste es un completo balance dinámico sobre las nuevas transiciones actuales y posibles y los desarrollos jurídicos más significativos a nivel transnacional en el tema del aborto, y da cuenta del nuevo desarrollo conceptual que concibe la idea de que no sólo la sanción penal, sino también la amenaza de la sanción penal, ponen en riesgo derechos fundamentales de las mujeres.

“…. Libro de gran actualidad y de avanzada … los autores tratan el tema del aborto con maestría desde las más variadas vertientes como pobreza, marginación, exclusión social, salud pública, penalización y derechos humanos….es y seguirá siendo lectura obligada para operadores jurídicos, sociólogos, economistas, políticos pero sobre todo para cualquier persona interesada en el tema.”

Olga Sánchez Cordero,  Ministra en retiro de la
Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (México)

Introducción y Prólogo a la edición en español,  y  Índice General en línea

Tabla de Casos/Jurisprudencia en línea con enlaces a muchas de las decisiones judiciales

De venta en línea y en librerías del Fondo de Cultura Económica.

Oportunidad: Si desea escribir una reseña para alguna revista académica latinoamericana,  por favor escriba a  reprohealth . law @ utoronto . ca para solicitar una copia del libro.

SUMARIO:

Prólogo a la edición en espanol, por Víctor Abramovitch

Introducción, por Rebecca J. Cook,  Joanna N. Erdman, y Bernard M. Dickens

VALORES CONSTITUCIONALES Y REGÍMENES NORMATIVOS

La constitucionalización del aborto, por Reva B. Siegel     Resúmen aqui

El aborto en Portugal. Nuevas tendencias en el constitucionalismo europeo, por Ruth Rubio Marín     Resúmen aqui      PDF en português.

Los derechos de las mujeres en las sentencias sobre aborto del Tribunal  Constitucional de Eslovaquia, por Adriana Lamačková   Resúmen aqui

El principio de proporcionalidad en el control de constitucionalidad de las normas sobre aborto, por Verónica Undurraga   Resúmen aqui   y PDF em português

Un enfoque funcionalista al derecho comparado del aborto, por Rachel Rebouché  Resúmen aqui

JUSTICIA PROCESAL Y ACCESO LIBERALIZADO

El giro procesal: el aborto en el Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos, por Joanna N. Erdman

La lucha contra las normas informales que regulaban el aborto en la Argentina, por Paola Bergallo

El papel de la transparencia en la reforma de leyes y prácticas del aborto en África, por Charles G. Ngwena

INTERPRETACIÓN Y REIVINDICACIÓN DE LOS DERECHOS

El marco de referencia médico y el aborto medicamentoso temprano en el Reino Unido.  ¿Cómo puede un Estado ejercer control sobre la ingesta de una píldora? por Sally Sheldon

El derecho a la conciencia, por Bernard M. Dickens

El sexo, las mujeres, y el inicio de la vida humana en el constitucionalismo católico, por Julieta Lemaitre Ripoll

El aborto en el debate público brasileño. Estrategias jurídicas del embarazo anencefálico, por Luís Roberto Barroso

Nepal, hacia una igualdad transformativa. El fallo Lakshmi Dhikta, por Melissa Upreti

 NARRATIVAS Y SIGNIFICADO SOCIAL

El tratamiento de las narrativas del sufrimiento inocente en el litigio transnacional del aborto, por Lisa M. Kelly

Narrativas sobre la personalidad jurídica del no nacido en la regulación del aborto, por Alejandro Madrazo

Significados estigmatizados del derecho penal sobre el aborto, por Rebecca J. Cook

Tabla de Casos/Jurisprudencia (en línea)

Tabla de legislación, tratados y otros instrumentos internacionales relevantes

 


REPROHEALTHLAW – Decisions, Courses and Resources

February 26, 2015

REPROHEALTHLAW
February 26, 2015

DECISIONS:

CEDAW:  Ángela González Carreño v. Spain – decision of July 18, 2014, held the State responsible for gender violence and negligence that led to child’s murder.  Decision now available in 6 languagesCase overview and details.

European Commission:  Historic decision Jan 8, 2015 from the European Commission grants 120 million women access to ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) emergency contraception over-the-counter without prescription throughout the European Union,  Europe press release.     Ministry of Health in Poland will allow sales over-the-counter, including to teens over 15 (age of consent).   Poland press release.  So far, only Hungary insists on prescriptions.  Hungary press release.

COURSES:
“Women and International Human Rights Law” Intensive course taught by Elizabeth Abi-Mershed and Rebecca Cook
“Mujeres y el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos” por Monica Roa y Julissa Mantilla
Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington DC, USA,  program runs May 26 to June 12, 2015, brochure online.
This Advanced Progam includes 16 other English or Spanish intensive courses taught by more than 40 prominent human rights scholars and practitioners.  Apply by May 1, 2015 using this link.

RESOURCES

[abortion – new book] Good Catholics: The Battle over Abortion in the Catholic Church, by Patricia Miller, University of California Press, 2014, 344 pp.  Description and Table of Contents3 reviews in Conscience Magazine.

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: online through SSRN. Book reviewers should contact Gigi Lamm (glamm {a} pobox. upenn. edu) Includes 16 chapters, Table of Legislation, Table of Cases, also online here, with links to abortion-related decisions in English and/or other languages). Table of Contents online here. Purchase info: link to U Penn Press.

—Why I Edited This Book, Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies  Blog post by Joanna Erdman.

[abortion] Reproductive Health Matters  special issue “Law and the Courts” (Vol. 22, Issue 44)Available online to institutional subscribers.
Issue Highlights:
—“Contesting the cruel treatment of abortion-seeking women,” by Ruth Fletcher
—“Abortion in Chile: the practice under a restrictive regime” by Lidia Casas and Lieta Vivaldi
—“The shifting politics in multilateral development and human rights negotiations and the absence of accountability,” by Stuart Halford and Sandeep Prasad
—“Can a restrictive law serve a protective purpose? The impact of age-restrictive laws on young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health services” by Elizabeth Yarrow, Kirsten Anderson, Kara Apland, and Katherine Watson
—” Gender inequality in Russia: the perspective of participatory gender budgeting” by Venera Zakirova

[Africa – new book]  Strengthening the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the African region through human rights, ed. Charles Ngwena and Ebenezer Durojaye (Pretoria, South Africa:  Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2014) 12 chapters, 365 pages.   Entire book PDF   Overview and Table of Contents.

[Africa: Nigeria/Global]  Comparative Health Law and Policy:   Critical Perspectives on Nigerian and Global Health Law,  ed. Irehobhude O. Iyioha and Remigius N. Nwabueze (UK:  Ashgate 2015), 335 pages.  summary and table of contents.

[Conscience]  “Making Decisions About Decision-Making: Conscience, Regulation and the Law,” José Miola, University of Leicester School of Law Research Paper No. 15-02. Online through SSRN.

“Litigating Reproductive Health Rights in the Inter-American System: What Does a Winning Case Look Like?” by Ciara O’Connell, (2015). Health and Human Rights Journal 16(2) (2014); RegNet Research Paper No. 2015/62. Article online through SSRN.

New Resources in Spanish:

[Human Rights to assisted reproduction] “El derecho humano a contar con asistencia médica para fundar una familia,” by Bernard Dickens,  in Bioética, reproducción y familia,  ed. Fernando Zegers H.  & Sofía P. Salas, (Santiago: Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, 2014), 83-115.  Spanish overview of the book

[Conscientious Objection and Compromise] “Objeción de conciencia y compromiso en conciencia,” by Bernard Dickens in Bioética, reproducción y familia,  ed. Fernando Zegers H.  & Sofía P. Salas, (Santiago: Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales, 2014), 145-182.  Spanish overview of the book

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

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.


WHO: new “Safe Abortion: Technical & Policy Guidance”

June 25, 2012

Congratulations to our esteemed colleagues of the World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, who have just published an eagerly-awaited second edition of their

Safe Abortion: Technical and Policy Guidance for Health Systems

This updated guide provides policy-makers, program managers and health-service providers with the latest evidence-based guidance on clinical care. It also includes information on how to establish and strengthen services, and outlines a human-rights-based approach to laws and policies on safe, comprehensive abortion care. This second edition of Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems reflects changes in methods of abortion and related care, service delivery as it applies to the availability and use of new methods, and information on human rights and how they relate to policy-making and legislation related to abortion. It also includes the latest data on the scale of the problem of unsafe abortion.

Chapter 4  “Legal and policy considerations,” on pages 86-103, usefully provides information about:

  •    Women’s health and human rights
  •    Laws and their implementation within the context of human rights, and
  •    Creating an enabling environment to ensure that every woman who is legally eligible has ready access to safe abortion care

The entire document (132 pages) can be downloaded here.


Abortion Restrictions, Involuntary Sterilisation, & the Convention on Torture or CIDT

April 12, 2012

Congratulations to Dr. Ronli Sifris, who successfully completed her Ph.D. thesis on “Conceptualising Restrictions on Abortion and Involuntary Sterilisation Procedures as Torture or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment” at the Faculty of Law in Monash University.  Prof. Rebecca Cook, Co-Director of our International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme, at University of Toronto’s law school, served as external examiner of the thesis.  Dr. Sifris is now a lecturer at Monash University’s Faculty of Law.   She can be reached at:  Ronli.sifris&at&monash.edu.  We thank her for contributing the following abstract.

CONCEPTUALISING RESTRICTIONS ON ABORTION AND INVOLUNTARY STERILISATION PROCEDURES AS TORTURE OR CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT

Ph.D. thesis, by Ronli Sifris, Faculty of Law, Monash University , Australia

Abstract: The notion that international law is a gendered legal system which prioritises those matters that disproportionately affect men above those matters that disproportionately affect women provides the context for this thesis, which contemplates a gendered approach to the right to be free from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (CIDT). Accordingly, this thesis challenges the essentialism inherent in the traditional, male-centric conceptualisation of torture and CIDT by conceptualising restrictions on women’s reproductive freedom within the framework of the right to be free from torture and CIDT. Consequently, this thesis contributes to a feminist understanding of international human rights by examining restrictions on reproductive freedom through the lens of the right to be free from torture and CIDT.

In order to achieve this objective, this thesis asks and answers the following key question: Can restrictions on reproductive freedom be categorised as torture? It answers this question by analysing each element of the definition of torture set out in article 1 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. After concluding that both restrictions on abortion and involuntary sterilisation procedures frequently fall within each element of the article 1 definition of torture, this thesis proceeds to consider whether, if one of the elements of torture is not established in a given situation, restrictions on reproductive freedom can be categorised as CIDT. Ultimately, it concludes that in many cases, all of the elements of the definition of torture will be established in the case of both restrictions on abortion and involuntary sterilisation procedures. However, it also acknowledges that in some cases, an element will be missing. Where the missing element is the element that distinguishes torture from CIDT, the conduct in question will constitute CIDT. Where a different element is missing, the conduct will constitute degrading treatment if it is particularly humiliating. If the necessary level of humiliation is absent, then it will not constitute torture, inhuman treatment or degrading treatment.

Through this analysis, this thesis makes a significant contribution to international legal scholarship. While there have been indications at the international human rights level that at least some restrictions on reproductive freedom violate the prohibition of torture and CIDT, there has been no thorough, systematic analysis of how, why and which restrictions on reproductive freedom constitute torture or CIDT. This thesis provides such an analysis and constructs a normative framework thereby extending the current trajectory of incorporating women’s concerns into the international legal framework along its logical path. In addition, while the scholarship to date has traditionally viewed restrictions on abortion and involuntary sterilisation procedures as completely separate issues, to be addressed in different ways and fora, this thesis adds to the literature by demonstrating the commonalities between both of these forms of restrictions on reproductive freedom and by considering them through the lens of the right to be free from torture and CIDT.