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.

DEVELOPMENTS

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  Decision download 

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

CALLS

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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

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.

RESOURCES

“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.

REPORTS

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

JOBS

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

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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.


Kenya: High Court halts HIV+ data collection, upholding dignity & privacy

May 26, 2017

Many thanks to Professor Ebenezer Durojaye of the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights at the University of the Western Cape, for abstracting this significant judgment for REPROHEALTHLAW subscribers.  Prof. Durojaye can be reached at  ebenezerdurojaye19 at gmail.com

Kenya Legal and Ethical Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN) & 3 others v Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Health & 4 others [2016] eKLR Petition 250 of 2015. (High Court at Nairobi)  Decision online.

This case centres on a directive issued by Kenyan President Kenyatta requesting that the names of school-going HIV positive children, their guardians and HIV-positive pregnant women and their addresses be compiled for the purpose of assisting the government to respond and provide appropriate service and support to the children living with HIV/AIDS. The said information should include the number of children infected with HIV, number of guardians or caregivers infected with HIV, number of expectant mothers that are HIV positive and number of breastfeeding mothers who are HIV positive.

This directive was challenged by KELIN and others claiming that it violated the rights and privacy of people living with HIV as guaranteed in the Constitution and the “HIV Prevention and Control Act.” The Court agreed with this submission and found that the disclosure of school-going children’s HIV status will undermine the rights to dignity and privacy of children. While the intention of the government may be laudable, however, the implication of the directive will no doubt infringe on the rights of people living with HIV in general and HIV-positive children in particular. The International Guidelines on HIV provide that data and information about the HIV status of a person should be collected without linking the information to an individual.   This decision is significant in the sense that it not only protects the privacy and dignity of HIV positive persons (especially HIV positive children) but also addresses the implication of this for HIV related stigma and discrimination. It is a known fact that people living with HIV experience human rights abuses arising from stigma and discrimination. It is hoped that this decision will send a strong message to governments across Africa to desist from encroaching on right to privacy of HIV-positive persons, particularly HIV-positive children.

The full decision is online here.

Case Commentary by JURIST

Related Resources:

Kenyan constitutional  right to privacy was also upheld in this 2015 decision:
AIDS Law Project v. Attorney General and 3 Others [2015] eKLR, Petition No. 97 of 2010 (High Court of Kenya at Nairobi), declared not only that the criminal provision in Kenya’s HIV/AIDS Act was overbroad, vague, and therefore unconstitutional, but also that enforced disclosure of HIV status to sexual contacts violated constitutional right to privacy.   Decision online,  summarized and discussed in Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts   pp. 171-176).  CRR press release.

Legal Grounds III:  Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts (Pretoria: PULP, 2017 ) [Discusses 54 court decisions 2008-2017, including 12 cases on “HIV”] Free PDF

Jacinta Nyachae and Paul Ogendi, “Litigating the right to health in Kenya: an analysis of selected cases,”  in: Litigating the Right to Health in Africa: Challenges and Prospects, ed. Ebenezer Durojaye (London, Routledge, 2015) Book information.

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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.
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 – April 2017

April 25, 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.

DEVELOPMENT

[Croatia, abortion] Constitutional Court reaffirmed that women’s access to abortion is protected under their constitutional rights to liberty, personality, and privacy.  Rješenje Ustavnog Suda Republike Hrvatske, broj: U-I-60/1991 i dr. od 21.veljace 2017.
Decision online in Croatian     Amicus brief in English by CRR

CALLS FOR PAPERS:

“Women’s Human Rights” including theory and activism, for special issue of Canadian Woman Studies/Les cahiers de la femme, guest edited by: Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, Alda Facio, Angela Lytle, Angela Miles, and Patricia Nyaundi.  Submit by April 30, 2017    Detailed call for papers.   Submission guide.

Anti-Discrimination Law Review, newly launched, peer reviewed journal.  Submit papers 6,000-10,000 words. Information for authors.

Call for abstracts  “1997-2017: 20 years after the Oviedo Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine: What are the achieved gains and its potential? international conference at European University (December 8-9, Nicosia, Cyprus)  Submit 300 word abstract by July 1, 2017.  Flyer with Call for abstracts.    Conference details.

Conference:  “Difficult Conversations: Thinking and talking About Women, Genders and Sexualities Inside and Outside the Academy”  The Seventeenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders and Sexualities.  Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., U.S.A.,  June 1-4, 2017

COURSES:

Summer “Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law,”
Academy of Human Rights, Washington College of Law, American University, Washington D.C.  Classes start May 30, 2017.  Apply by May 1, 2017.  Details.  Choose from 20 Courses, 9 in English and 11 in Spanish.  Course list.

Summer school on Health Law and Ethics (1 or 2 weeks) The Erasmus Observatory on Health Law / Institute of Health Policy & Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam)  Course details and registration.

RESOURCES

[abortion] “Taking Abortion Rights Seriously: Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt” by Kate Greasley,  The Modern Law Review 80.2 (March 2017): 325-338.  Open access article.

[abortion law – Australia] Children by Choice website highlights Australian abortion law and practice –  Links to recent legal reform bills

[abortion law] Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), now also in paperback, 20% discount code PH70.  Available from U Penn Press.

[abortion law – Spanish]    El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias,  ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman y Bernard M. Dickens (Mexico: FCE/CIDE, 2016)   De venta: Fondo de Cultura Económica Libreria CIDE.

[abortion policy] “Towards a non-ethics-based consensual public policy on abortion,” by David Alvargonzález, (philosophy professor in Spain).  The International Journal of Health Planning and Management 32.1 (Jan-Mar 2017): e39-46. Article or Abstract.

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

NEWS

[abortion, Brazil] Petition to Supreme Court of Brazil March 7, 2017, seeks decriminalization of abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The petition was filed by the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), with support from Anis – Institute of Bioethics.  Press release.

[abortion, Canada – coverage]  Expert panel endorses public coverage for abortion pill (mifepristone + misoprostol), under brand name “Mifegymiso”.  Newspaper reportExpert recommendations and reasoning

[abortion – Kenya]  Recent cases of women dying while procuring abortion, clinic proprietor arrested. Safe Abortion update.

[abortion, Uruguay]  Judge denies termination of 10-week pregnancy, siding with ex-boyfriend.  Woman miscarried due to stress, mistreatment and public exposure; she plans to sue judge.  News media.    Update from Safe Abortion campaign.

[conscience, Canada]  Doctors, pharmacists push back on medical abortion rules    Colleges of physicians and pharmacists suggest off-label workaround for Health Canada’s restrictions on dispensing the abortion drug Mifegymiso   CMAJ News

[conscience, Canada]  Christian Medical and Dental Society v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). objecting to rules requiring Ontario doctors to refer patients seeking abortions, etc.  Hearings scheduled June 13-15, 2017   Newspaper report.

[conscience, Ghana] Provider obstruction: a major threat to critical maternal health services in Northern Ghana, Global Doctors for Choice-Ghana study results.

[conscience, Italy]:  UN Human Rights Committee Concluding Observations CCPR/C/ITA/CO/6 criticizes Italy for lack of non-objecting doctors.  HRC report in English.
Parliamentary study found that 70% object.  Hospital in Rome advertises for non-objecting doctors. CRUX Catholic newsletter

[conscience, Sweden]: Swedish court upholds ruling against midwife (Grimmark) claiming conscientious objection.  Midwife is funded by wealthy US prochoice alliance  Article by Safe Abortion Women’s Right

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.


AFRICA: Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts – 54 case summaries

February 14, 2017

2017_legal_grounds

by: Godfrey Kangaude, Onyema Afulukwe, Guy-Fleury Ntwari, et al.
Foreword by Prof. Charles G. Ngwena
PULP (Pretoria University Law Press) 2017
228 page book onlinePrevious volumes.
Printable flyer with Table of Contents

Reproductive and sexual rights, which are guaranteed in constitutions and in international and regional human rights treaties, have no impact if they are not recognized and enforced by national-level courts. Legal Grounds: Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts Volume III continues to provide much-needed information about whether and how national courts of African countries apply constitutional and human rights to protect reproductive and sexual rights. The case summaries, significance sections, and thematic highlights serve as useful resources for those seeking to further develop litigation, advocacy, and capacity- building strategies.

Like its predecessors, Legal Grounds: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts – Volume III is a tool for organizations, individuals, and institutions of learning. The scope of this third volume has been widened beyond Commonwealth African countries to include cases from Francophone countries, while focusing more exclusively on court decisions related to reproductive and sexual health. This compelling publication contributes towards a knowledge base of court decisions that bear directly or indirectly on the exercise of reproductive and sexual health as constitutional and human rights in Africa.
228 page book onlinePrevious volumes Printable flyer with Table of Contents.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Foreword, Introduction, Acknowledgments
Children and Adolescents
—Child, Forced and Early Marriage
—Female Genital Mutilation legal-grounds/
—Sexual Abuse, Assault and Violence
—Consensual Sexual Conduct
—Student Pregnancy
—Maternal Health Care and Services
Abortion and Fetal Interests
—Abortion
—Wrongful Birth or Life
Adoption and Surrogacy
—Adoption
—Surrogacy
Gender, Sexuality, Women and Discrimination
—Rape
—Disability, Sexuality and Criminal Law
—Women and Criminal Law
—Legal Recognition of Intersexuality
—Gender Identity
—Sexual Orientation
—Recognition of LGBTIQ Advocacy and Groups
HIV
—Access to Treatment
—Criminalisation of Transmission
—Forced Sterilization
—Discrimination in Employment
Francophone Africa / L’Afrique Francophone
—Adultery, Polygamy, Infanticide
Appendices – Table of Cases, Online Resources, Endnotes

HIGHLIGHTS BY AFRICAN AUTHORS:
Child Marriage: Legal and Socio-Cultural Aspects, by Godfrey Kangaude
Adolescent Consensual Sexual Conduct, by Godfrey Kangaude
Sexual Abuse, Assault and Violence, by Victoria Balogun
Maternal Health Care and Services, by Tinyade Kachika
Abortion and Fetal Interests, by Onyema Afulukwe
Adoption and Surrogacy, by Ronaldah Lerato Karabo Ozah
Gender, Sexuality, Women and Discrimination, by MaryFrances Lukera
Criminalisation of HIV Non-Disclosure, Exposure and Transmission, by Jacinta Nyachae
Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women Living with HIV, by Ebenezer Durojaye
Towards Respect for Human Diversity, by Godfrey Kangaude

COUNTRIES:  Benin, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda,  Zambia, Zimbabwe

228 page book online.  Previous volumes.
Printable flyer with Table of Contents.


African Courts recognize sexually diverse persons and LGBTI advocates

December 20, 2016

Many thanks to Godfrey Kangaude, author of a highlight commentary “Towards Respect for Human Diversity,” in  Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts (forthcoming February 2017).  We are pleased to provide the following excerpt for REPROHEALTHLAW subscribers:

. . . Many governments have adopted constitutions that recognise human dignity and equality. Yet in The Attorney General of Botswana v. Thuto Rammoge and 19 Others, the Attorney General of Botswana tried to argue that the Constitution of Botswana did not apply to persons of non-heterosexual orientation. This reflects a pervasive attitude in governments driven by politicians who do not believe in the human dignity and equality stipulated by their own constitutions.

Persons of non-heterosexual orientation, or whose gender identity and expression does not conform to some traditional gender notions, continue to face government-sponsored hate and victimization.  Sometimes this has been indirect, for instance through a refusal to recognise the rights to association and expression such as in the Thuto Rammoge cases in Botswana [1, 2], the Gitari case [3] and Ex-parte Transgender Education and Advocacy case [4] in Kenya, and the Kasonkomona case [5] in Zambia. Apart from criminalizing sexual conduct, governments deploy other laws to prevent LGBTI persons from enjoying their right to association and expression. In the Kasonkomona case, the government used vagrancylaws to try and deny persons the right to talk freely about LGBTI rights.

In all the above mentioned cases, however, the courts applied human rights norms to the issues raised before them and vindicated the claims that LGBTI persons are deserving of human rights because they are in the first place, human beings. However, the case of C.O.L. & G.M.N.,[6] where the Kenyan Court upheld the constitutionality of the law compelling anal examinations in order to prove homosexual behaviour, indicates that there is a great deal that has to be done to secure enjoyment of rights of all persons including decriminalization of sexual conduct involving non-heterosexual intimacy, and also recognition of gender diversity.  The victories in these cases are significant as they are beacons of light in the midst of pervasive discrimination against LGBTI persons. The positive judgments refresh the obligations of governments to be faithful to their own constitutions to respect the fundamental values of human dignity and equality of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. This negative judgement, though, calls for vigilance to realise human rights for everyone.

[1]  Thuto Rammoge & 19 Others v. The Attorney General of Botswana  [2014] MAHGB-000175-13  (Botswana, High Court). [Homosexual rights advocacy society received official recognition.]   Decision online.   Short abstract by Michelle HaymanCase summary for Legal Grounds III.

[2] Attorney General of Botswana v. Thuto Rammoge & 19 Others  [2016] CACGB-128-14 (Botswana, Court of Appeal at Gaborone).  [Appeal dismissed]   Decision onlineCase summary for Legal Grounds III.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] 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.

[6]  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 exams to prove crime of homosexuality].  Decision online.   Case summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III.

__________________________
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.


“Obstetric violence”: maternal mistreatment in healthcare settings

November 24, 2016

Congratulations to Carlos Herrera Vacaflor, LL.M., a visiting scholar at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, whose article, partly based on his Master of Laws thesis,* was recently published in Reproductive Health Matters’ special section on abuse and mistreatment in healthcare settings.  The author can be reached at charlie.herrera {at} mail, utoronto, ca.

Obstetric violence: a new framework for identifying challenges to maternal healthcare in Argentina, by Carlos Herrera Vacaflor, Reproductive Health Matters 24.47(May 2016):65-73.  Full text and abstracts in English, French and Spanish.

Abstract:  Argentina has recognized women’s right to not be subjected to obstetric violence, the violence exercised by health personnel on the body and reproductive processes of pregnant women, as expressed through dehumanizing treatment, medicalization abuse, and the conversion of natural processes of reproduction into pathological ones.  Argentina’s legislative decision to frame this abuse and mistreatment of women under the rubric of gender-based violence permits the identification of failures in both the healthcare system and women’s participation in society. This article examines how applying the Violence Against Women framework to address issues of abuse and mistreatment of women during maternal health care provides a beneficial approach for analyzing such embedded structural problems from public health, human rights, and ethics perspectives. The framework of Violence Against Women seeks to transform existing harmful cultural practices, not only through the protection of women’s reproductive autonomy, but also through the empowerment of women’s participation in society.

Further Reading:
Obstetric Violence in Argentina: a Study on the Legal Effects of Medical Guidelines and Statutory Obligations for Improving the Quality of Maternal Health,  by Carlos Alejandro Herrera Vacaflor, LL.M. Thesis, Graduate Department of the Faculty of Law University of Toronto, 2015 abstracted here.

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  Article in press online.

Other articles from this issue of Reproductive Health Matters, Vol. 24, Issue 47 (May 2016)

Two South African articles about this emerging issue are now online:

  • Eliminating abusive’care’, : A criminal law response to obstetric violence in South Africa by Camilla Pickles. South African Crime Quarterly 54(2015): 5-16.  abstract and full text
  • Obstetric violence in South Africa,”  by Rachelle Joy Chadwick,South African Medical Journal 106.5 (2016): 423-24. [also reviews concept and term]   2-page text.

Autonomy and pregnancy: A comparative analysis of compelled obstetric intervention, by Samantha Halliday (Routledge 2016) draws on law from the U.K., U.S. and Germany, in “circumstances in which courts have declared medical treatment lawful in the face of the pregnant woman’s refusal of consent.”  Autonomy & Pregnancy book.

Relevant Kenyan and South African decisions are available online, with case summaries prepared for Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts, forthcoming in 2017.

  • Millicent Awuor Omuya alias Maimuna Awuor & Another v The Attorney General & 4 Others [2015], Petition No. 562 of 2012, (High Court of Kenya at Nairobi (Constitutional and Human Rights Division)). [Detaining women for failing to pay for maternal health services violated their constitutional rights]  Case summary.    Decision online.
  • Ntsele v MEC for Health, Gauteng Provincial Government [2012] ZAGPJHC 208 (South Gauteng High Court, South Africa)  [Medical negligence during labour]  Case summaryDecision online.

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Kenyan High Court: Anti-Counterfeit Act threatened access to generic medicines

June 14, 2016

Many thanks to Godfrey Kangaude, LL.M. (UFS), LL.M. (UCLA), an LL.D. candidate with the University of Pretoria and Executive Director of Nyale Institute for Sexual and Reproductive Health Governance in Malawi, for composing or editing dozens of analytical summaries of African court decisions for our forthcoming volume, Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts.   Earlier volumes in the series, published in 2005 and 2010 by the Center for Reproductive Rights, are freely available in print or electronic form.  Legal Grounds online.

Several recent African court decisions resolve legal issues that affect public health in many nations.  For instance, in Patricia Asero Ochieng and Two Others v. The Attorney General & Another [2012] (Petition No. 409 of 2009),  a High Court of Kenya (at Nairobi) asked the government to remove a fundamental ambiguity in new legislation, the Anti-Counterfeit Act, which jeopardized citizens’ constitutional right to health.

Godfrey Kangaude’s summary of the decision shows how the Act’s ambiguous definition of “counterfeit” threatened to restrict access to low-cost generic medicines for HIV AIDS .  As he concludes, “The Court found that the Act’s conflation of counterfeit and generic drugs creates a possibility for misinterpretation by officials, who might seize legitimate generic drugs, which would have a disastrous impact on persons who rely upon them, such as the petitioners. It emphasised that such ambiguity is not permissible, especially where any misinterpretation would impact on the constitutionally guaranteed rights of individuals.

“It further said that the protection of the rights of persons to health and access of medicines is more critical than the protection of intellectual property rights, so that the protection of the rights of the petitioners should take precedence. The Court buttressed its reasoning with General Comment No. 17 where the ESCR Committee [United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights] said that states parties should prevent the use of scientific progress for purposes contrary to human rights, for instance by excluding patentability where commercialisation of innovations would jeopardise enjoyment of human rights.” [2]

NOTES:
[1] Patricia Asero Ochieng and 2 Others v The Attorney General & Another [2012], Petition No. 409 of 2009 (High Court of Kenya at Nairobi) Decision online.
[2] Godfrey Kangaude, Case summary,  Patricia Asero Ochieng and 2 Others v The Attorney General & Another [2012], Case summary Godfrey Kangaude.

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Legal Grounds: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in African Commonwealth Courts
   (up to 2008) Volumes I and II can be downloaded here.  Our update will be published early in 2017.  Decisions already identified for Volume III  are online here.  New case summaries are added every month.   If you can suggest other cases, please do!   How You Can Help.