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

February 14, 2017


by: Godfrey Kangaude, Onyema Afulukwe, Guy-Fleury Ntwari, et al.
Foreword by Prof. Charles G. Ngwena
PULP (Pretoria University Law Press) 2017
Download entire 228 page book online.
Online edition with links to decisions
Printable flyer with Table of Contents
Previous volumes

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.

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
—Wrongful Birth or Life
Adoption and Surrogacy
Gender, Sexuality, Women and Discrimination
—Disability, Sexuality and Criminal Law
—Women and Criminal Law
—Legal Recognition of Intersexuality
—Gender Identity
—Sexual Orientation
—Recognition of LGBTIQ Advocacy and Groups
—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

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.

REPROHEALTHLAW Updates: Developments, Calls, Resources and News

June 6, 2014


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.


United Kingdom:  Doctors will be able to approve abortions after conducting consultations over the phone or by Skype, according to new guidance  News article.

United Kingdom: A British high court judge ruled that a 13-year-old girl was mentally capable of deciding to abort her baby  News article.


Call for Abstracts: Overcoming Obstacles – Towards the effective implementation of the rights of women with disabilities in Africa, Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa, Tues/Wed Nov 4-5, 2014, Submit abstract by June 15, 2014.    Call for abstracts online.

“Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution”
August 7-8,  2014 at the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada  preliminary program   more info.


Harvard Course on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Litigation. 3-day intensive course Nov. 3-5, plus invitation to “Sexual and Reproductive Rights ‘Lawfare’ in International Tribunals,” 2-day international symposium,  on November 6-7, 2014.  Apply by July 1, 2014.  Course details online.


Abortion Care, ed. Sam Rowlands, forthcoming, Cambridge University Press,  August 2014.  Paperback.  Further details.   Chapters include:
~  Abortion in international human rights law, by Joanna N. Erdman
~  the Australian experience, by Kerry Petersen
~  Stigma and issues of conscience, by Kelly R. Culwell and Caitlin Gerdts

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective:  Cases and Controversies,  ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman and Bernard M. Dickens, 16 chapters.  Forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press, August 2014.  To receive details when it is published, email reprohealth. law\at/ utoronto. ca with subject “abortion book flyer”.

[abortion – adolescents] “Sixteen and Pregnant: Minors’ Consent in Abortion and Adoption,” by Malinda L. Seymore. Yale Journal of Law & Feminism 25.1 2013. Abstract and Article.

[abortion advocacy strategy] “Using Aikido to Change the Abortion Conversation” (using quotes from bible & saints for pro-choice purposes)   by Valerie Tarico, RH Reality Check article.

[abortion – European Court of Human Rights]    “[The Judgement A, B and C v. Ireland and the Question of Abortion: A ‘New Departure’ in the European Court of Human Rights on Consensus and Margin of Appreciation?] 
= La sentencia A, B y C contra Irlanda y la cuestión del aborto: ¿Un ‘punto de inflexión’ en la jurisprudencia del Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos en materia de consenso y margen de apreciación nacional?”   by Francisco Javier Mena Parras,  Anuario de Derechos Humanos No. 8, 2012, pp. 115-124.   Abstracts in Spanish and English,   Article in Spanish.

[abortion – sex selection.] “Replacing Myths with Facts: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws in the United States.”  by the International Human Rights Clinic of the University of Chicago, in partnership with National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). (2014)   Abstract and 46-page report.

[conscience] “Religion as a Legal Proxy” by Micah Schwartzman, forthcoming,  San Diego Law Review,  Abstract and article online.

“Conscientious objection and refusal to provide reproductive healthcare: A white paper examining prevalence, health consequences, and policy responses,” by Wendy Chavkin, Liddy Leitman, and Kate Polin, for Global Doctors for Choice  69-page paper in English. now also in Spanish.
—“ ‘Dishonourable disobedience’ – Why refusal to treat in reproductive healthcare is not conscientious objection” by Christian Fiala and  Joyce H. Arthur, forthcoming  in Woman – Psychosomatic Gynaecology and Obstetrics, proofs online
—Followup blogpost: “Competing Rights: Exploring the Boundaries of ‘Conscientious Objection” by Wendy Chavkin online at RH Reality Check.

[divorce – Philippines] “Reintroduction of Divorce in the Philippines,” LL.M. thesis by Jihan Jacob.  Abstract online, with author’s contact information

Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive Health – 65 articles published in the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics  available online, including Reducing Stigma in Reproductive Health, and  Noninvasive pre-natal genetic diagnosis .

[Poland] 6th Congress of Women, May 9-10, 2014, Warsaw, Poland, 10 demands include:  “Recognition of women’s rights to make decisions concerning reproduction, including right to sex education for everyone introduced in primary school.” presented to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.  Demands online.

[sterilization] Eliminating forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization – An interagency statement by OHCHR, UN Women, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO, May 2014, 17 page report

[women’s rights] “Women’s Charters and Declarations: Building Another World,” by Rashida Manjoo (United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women)  (London: Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), 2013)  89-page report 

[wrongful birth – Canada] “Supressing Damages in Involuntary Parenthood Actions: Contorting Tort Law, Denying Reproductive Freedom, and Discriminating Against Mothers” by Bruce Feldthusen, (working paper, May 5, 2014).


[child marriage – Pakistan] Bill prohibiting child marriage now a law.  News report

Chile Might Change One Of The Most Restrictive Abortion Laws In The World.    News Article.  Later article.

[embryos] European Commission will not stop financing activities that destroy embryos.  Reply to “One of Us” initiative, may 28, 2014.  Press release in many languages.

[Guyana]  Plans being refined to offer abortion service at public hospitals – Chief Medical Officer says.  News article.

Jamaican MP, Dayton Campbell, a medical doctor and lawyer, advocates reform of “ancient” abortion laws –  June 1, 2014  newspaper article.

[polygamy – Kenya]   President Uhuru Kenyatta Signs controversial law legalizing the longstanding customary practice of polygamy.
BBC Report .  CNN Report.

[Senegal]  11-year-old girl, refused abortion after rape, gives birth prematurely to twins. News article.

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


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.




December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011


Canada: B.C. Polygamy — Supreme Court of British Columbia decision is a resounding affirmation of the need for a criminal prohibition on polygamy.  Reference case re Section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada. 2011 BCSC 1588. Newspaper coverageDecision online. 

European Court of Human Rights: R.R. v. Poland decision (pregnant woman denied access to genetic testing of abnormal fetus) is now final.  A panel of five judges of the Grand Chamber decided not to accept the Government’s request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber. Pursuant to Art 44 s. 2 of the Convention, the judgment of 26 May 2011 therefore became final on 28 November 2011. Decision online.

New case: European Court of Human Rights: Gauer v France: Forced sterilisation of 5 women with intellectual disabilities without informed consent and against their wishes.  News articleInterights summary.

European Court of Justice bans patents based on embryonic stem cells  News article.    Decision online (Oct 18, 2011).   Background case: Brüstle v. Greenpeace, CJEU, Opinion of the Advocate General, 10 March 2011 

Legal commentaries on past decisions and developments are online here. 


Gender Justice Uncovered Awards: nominations open Nov 15 2011-April 30, 2012. Submit the worst and best judicial statements on gender rights. These annual awards  reward gold, silver and bronze “gavels” to judicial pronouncements or decisions which promote gender equity, and gives gold, silver and bronze “bludgeons” to the most sexist and regressive decisions Contributions become part of the Gender Justice Observatory database, online here.

United Nations -OHCHR – Request for input – Technical guidance tools – Reducing preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, deadline Dec 15, 2011.  More info.

“Calls for Proposals re funding re sexual/repro health/rights projects offered by the European Union. E-neus ¬Nov 28 edition.  now online.


Canada – Health Law, Ethics and Policy Fellowships for LL.M. or doctoral study at one of 4 Canadian law schools, now accepting applications from Canadian and international LLM or doctoral applicants.  Admission info.   Brochure.   Website.

Health Rights Litigation course, Global School on Judicial Enforcement of Economic, Social, and Cultural (ESC) Rights, offered by The Health Rights of Women and Children Program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University, June 18-22 2012 in Boston, MA, USA.  More info. 

 South Africa – Fellowship: Access to Justice- Past and Present: Promoting Access to Justice for the Marginalised and Vulnerable Groups. Call for Internal and External Participants. Centre for Criminal Justice, University of KwaZulu Natal, RSA Closing date: February 5, 2012.  More info


[abortion, Ireland] – U.N. Committee against Torture: Concluding observations on Ireland’s initial report – download here.
—Ireland Must Ensure Access to Lawful Abortion.  CRR press release

[abortion, Kenyan constitution, US] Foreign Assistance: Clearer Guidance Needed on Compliance Overseas with Legislation Prohibiting Abortion-Related Lobbying GAO-12-35 October 13, 2011.   SSRN article

[abortion, Latin America, book in Spanish] Aborto y Justicia Reproductiva: contextos, modelos regulatorios y argumentos para su debate, comp. Paola Bergallo. Editorial Editores del Puerto
 2011.  528 paginas.   book info in Spanish,

[abortion, personhood] On Abortion and Defining a ‘Person’ Op-ed By Gary Gutting, philosophy professor at University of Notre Dame.  health blog.

 [abortion, Poland] Stigmatisation and Commercialisation of Abortion Services in Poland: Turning Sin into Gold, Agata Chelstowska, Reproductive Health Matters, 19.37, pp. 98-106, 2011. SSRN article

[access to medicines, patents] ACTA – Risks of Third-Party Enforcement for Access to Medicines by Brook K. Baker, American University International Law Review, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2011.  SSRN article

[access to medicines, patents] Abbott, Frederick M., Intellectual Property and Public Health: Meeting the Challenge of Sustainability by Frederick M. Abbott, working paper, Nov 2011.  SSRN article 

 [assisted repro] Rethinking Sperm-Donor Anonymity: Of Changed Selves, Non-Identity, and One-Night Stands by Glenn I. Cohen, Georgetown Law Journal.  SSRN article 

 [assisted repro] Regulating Reproduction: The Problem with Best Interests, by I. Glenn Cohen. Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 96, p. 101, 2011.  Article

[assisted repro, Israel ] Egg freezing for non-medical uses: the lack of a relational approach to autonomy in the new Israeli policy and in academic discussion, Journal of Medical Ethics. Article

[cross-border] Circumvention Tourism, by I. Glenn Cohen, Cornell Law Review, Vol. 97, 2012. SSRN article

“Cross-Border Reproductive Care”  Reproductive Biomedicine Online, Vol. 23.  Symposium Issue

[assisted repro] Cross-border assisted reproduction care in Asia: implications for access, equity and regulations, by Andrea Whittaker, Reproductive Health Matters 19.37 (May 2011): abstract/press release.  Article .

[discrimination in access] Multiple Discrimination in Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health: Experiences from Latin America and the Caribbean, by Ximena Casas,  65 U. Miami L. Rev. 955.
proofs online.

[discrimination] European Commission: Compendium of practice on NonDiscrimination/Equality Mainstreaming- now in English, soon in German & French, 64 pp.   Publication

[discrimination] The Reflection of the Non-Discrimination Principle in ECHR Jurisprudence, by Roxana Alina Petraru, working paper.

[discrimination] Structures of Discrimination, by Rebecca J. Cook Macalester International Journal, Vol. 28, pp. 33-60, Spring 2011.  Article.

European Portal for Action on Health Inequalities.  Portal.

Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives, by Rebecca Cook and Simone Cusack, U Penn Press, 2010. English paperback edition -cite 20% discount code: 0B1.  Now available:  Spanish edition (2011)

HIV Testing of Pregnant Women: An Ethical Analysis, by Kjell Arne Johansson et al. 11.3 Developing World Bioethics 109-119 (Dec 2011)  Article

[India – surrogacy] ‘You Can Use My Uterus’- New Horizons of Law Relating to Surrogacy, by Preeti Chaturvedi, Preeti et al.  Working paper

[infanticide] Murder, Medicine and Motherhood, by Emma Cunliffe. Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2011. Book info 

[Latin America] Sexual and reproductive health and rights in Latin America: an analysis of trends, commitments and achievements, by Emma Richardson & Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Reproductive Health Matters. 2011 Nov;19.38:183-96.  Article.   

Litigating Health Rights: Can Courts Bring More Justice to Health? Ed. Alicia Ely Yamin & Siri Gloppen, Contributors: Paola Bergallo, Octavio Luiz Motta Ferraz, Roberto Gargarella, Ottar Maestad, Ole Fritjof Norheim, Sharanjeet Parmar, Oscar Parra-Vera, Lise Rakner, Mindy Jane Roseman, Namita Wahi, Bruce M. Wilson Harvard University Press, Sept 2011.   Book info

Marriage and Divorce in a Multicultural Context: Multi-Tiered Marriage and the Boundaries of Civil Law and Religion, ed. Joel A. Nichols, Cambridge University Press, 2012; [interdisciplinary and international in scope] Table of Contents and Introduction online at SSRN

Maternal Pedagogies: In and Outside the Classroom edited by Deborah L. Byrd and Fiona J. Green.Demeter Press, 2011 15 North American scholars theorize about how cultural views of motherhood and personal experiences of mothering affect the processes of teaching and learning.  Book info

[prostitution, sex work] How to Argue About Prostitution, by Michelle Madden Dempsey. Criminal Law & Philosophy, 2011.  SSRN article

Repoliticizing sexual and reproductive health and rights.  Report of a global meeting, Langkawi, Malaysia, 3-6 August 2010, (published by Reproductive Health Matters and ARROW, 2011).  Report covers macroeconomic influences on health, public health education, essential medicines for SRH, human rights, funding policies and influences on the global agenda on the part of those in power. 74 pages.  Report online
or email Pathika Martin for a print copy.

Reproductive Health Matters, Nov 2011  issue, “Repoliticising sexual and reproductive health and rights”  is now online.  Table of Contents

[Russia] Jon O’Brien comments on recent erosion of reproductive rights for Russians   Op-ed article

[same-sex marriage] The Impacts on Education and Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage and Lessons from Abortion Jurisprudence, by Lynn D. Wardle. Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal, Vol. 2011, No. 2.  SSRN online

Sex Selection Abortion in Kazakhstan: Understanding a Cultural Justification. Developing World Bioethics 11 (3):154-160.   Article

[sex-trafficking] Labelling the Victims of Sex Trafficking: Exploring the Borderland between Rhetoric and Reality, by Michelle Madden Dempsey et al. Social & Legal Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, p. 313, 2011.  SSRN online here 

[sex-trafficking] Researching Trafficked Women: On Institutional Resistance and the Limits to Feminist Reflexivity by Michelle Madden Dempsey et al., Qualitative Inquiry, Vol. 17, p. 769, 2011.  SSRN online here

[sex-trafficking] Widening Our Lens: Incorporating Essential Perspectives in the Fight Against Human Trafficking, by Jonathan Todres, Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 33, pp. 53-76, 2011. SSRN online here

Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Public Health Perspective, edited by Paul F.A. Van Look, H. Kristian Heggenhougen and Stella R. Quah. Academic Press, 2011. Includes article on Reproductive Rights by Joanna Erdman and Rebecca Cook.  Book info.

Surrogacy for the Single, Gay Man, by Tawia B. Ansah & Sharona Hoffman. Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, 22.1, 2012. SSRN abstract article

US: Reproductive Rights Prof Blog provides US-focused scholarship and news.  Subscribe here:

Africa: New “Integration” Partnership Merges Education, HIV, Reproductive Health for Young in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania аnd Zambia. IPPF news item.

[Argentina, update on campaign] For The Right To Legal, Safe And Free Abortion. AWID news analysis 

[Chile] Constitutional Court rejects gay marriage appeal However bill now moving through legislature that regulates de facto unions, including same-sex.  News article

[homosexuality] Global campaign to decriminalise homosexuality to kick off in Belize court. News article

[Mexico, abortion] Mifepristone registered in Mexico.  Ipas news

Nigeria: ‘Same Gender’ Marriage Ban Would Attack Rights Bill Would Invade Privacy, Threaten Broad Range of Activists – Human Rights Watch news 

Pakistan – “Anti-Women Practices Bill” passes Lower House – (to protect women against forced marriage, denial of inheritance).  video report

[surrogacy] South African court sets out guidelines for surrogacy arrangements.  News article

UK: Chair of British HIV Association criticizes law stopping visitors and asylum seekers from getting HIV drugs. News article  

UK pledges £35m for family planning for poor countries.  News article

UK Supreme Court upholds gene patent –for no specific use.  Bionews item.   AMRC policy blog

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