Rethinking human rights and criminal law on sexuality, gender & reproduction

April 22, 2019

Congratulations to the editors and authors of this new book, which examines the ways in which recourse to the criminal law is featured in work by human rights advocates regarding sexuality, gender, and reproduction. It also presents a framework for considering if, when, and under what conditions, recourse to criminal law is compatible with human rights. We are pleased to circulate links and the full Table of Contents:

Beyond Virtue and Vice:  Rethinking Human Rights and Criminal Law
ed.  Alice M. Miller and Mindy Jane Roseman,  Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019)  360 pages.
Book abstract and information.    Intro and excerpts from pp. 3-55 online.


Introduction, by Alice M. Miller and Mindy Jane Roseman with Zain Rizvi, pp. 1-16. mostly online.

1.  Janet Halley in conversation with Aziza Ahmed: Interview,. 17-38.  mostly online.
2.  Seismic Shifts: How prosecution became the go-to tool to vindicate rights, by Alice M. Miller with Tara Zivkovic, 39-53. 2 random pages online.
3.  The Harm principle meets morality offences: Human rights, Criminal Law, and the regulation of sex and gender, by Alli Jernow, 54-74  2 initial pages online.
4.  Reflections of a human rights activist, by Widney Brown,  75-90


5.   Virtuous Rights: On prostitution exceptionalism in South Korea, by Sealing Chen, and Ae-Ryung Kim, 93-113
6.   Brazilian Sex Laws: Continuities, ruptures and paradoxes, by Sonia Correa and Maria Lucia Karam, 114-133
7.   The Reach of a skirt in Southern Africa: Claims to law and custom in protecting and patrolling relations of gender and sexuality, by Oliver Phillips, 134-157.
8.   Abortion as treason: Sexuality and Nationalism in France, by Mindy Jane Roseman,  158-170


9.  Wanja Muguongo in Conversation with Alice M. Miller: Interview, pp. 173-184
10.  Criminal law, activism, and sexual and reproductive justice: What we can learn from the sex selection campaign in India, by Geetanjali Misra and Vrinda Marwah, 185-198
11.  Poisoned Gifts: Old moralities under new clothes? by Esteban Restrepo Saldarriaga. 199-219
12.  The Filth they bring: Sex panics and racial others in Lebanon, by Rasha Moumneh, 220-232.
13.   Objects in political mirrors may not be what they appear, by Scott Long,  233-247
14.   Harm Production: An Argument for Decriminalization, by Joanna N. Erdman, 248-268.
Notes, List of Contributors, Index, and Acknowledgments.

Beyond Virtue and Vice:  Rethinking Human Rights and Criminal Law
ed.  Alice M. Miller and Mindy Jane Roseman,  Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019)  360 pages.
Book abstract.    Intro and excerpts from pp. 3-55 online.

Related resources:

Stigmatized Meanings of Criminal Abortion Law’ by Rebecca J. Cook, in: RJ Cook, JN Erdman and BM Dickens (eds), Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies (University of Pennsylvania Press 2014).  Article abstract.  Table of Contents.

[U.K.]”The Decriminalisation of Abortion: An Argument for Modernisation,” by Sally Sheldon.  Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 36, No. 2 (2016), pp. 334–365   Institutional Access
Compiled by: the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at   See Program website for our PublicationsInformation resources, and Reprohealthlaw Commentaries Series.
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Africa (Nigeria): ECOWAS Court challenges vagrancy laws that target women

November 30, 2017

Many thanks to Benson Chakaya, an M.Phil candidate in the LL.M./M.Phil (Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Africa) degree program at the Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria.  He also serves as National Coordinator for Right Here Right Now Kenya ​hosted by the ​Network for Adolescents and Youth of Africa.  We thank him for abstracting and commenting on the significance of this case:

Dorothy Njemanze & 3 Ors V Federal Republic of Nigeria, Suit No.: ECW/CCJ/APP/17/14  (ECOWAS Court, Abuja, Nigeria)  Decision of October 12, 2017.

Many countries in Africa have criminal law targeting sex workers, often accompanied by administrative law in many cases municipal bylaws against vagrancy that facilitate arbitrary arrests of women at night. Suspected sex workers (in many cases women) are rounded up by law enforcers and charged with non-criminal offenses such as loitering, vagrancy, congregating for the purposes of prostitution, public indecency, or disorderly behavior.  The recent ruling by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice in the case of Dorothy Njemanze & 3 Ors v. Federal Republic of Nigeria,[1] is significant as it successfully mounts a challenge to vagrancy laws.

On different occasions, Dorothy Njemanze and three other women were abducted, assaulted sexually, physically and verbally, and unlawfully detained by Nigerian law enforcement officers.  They were arrested and accused of being prostitutes on the grounds that they had been found on the streets at night.  The four women, led by Njemanze, a Nollywood actress, filed a case at the West African Regional Court which centered on the violent, cruel, inhuman, degrading and discriminatory treatment the women suffered at the hands of law enforcement agents in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Njemanze case bears some similarities to the Kenyan High Court case of Lucy Nyambura & Another v. Town Clerk, Municipal Council of Mombasa & 2 Others (2011)[2] in that the petitioners in the Kenyan case were also arrested and charged with the offence of “loitering in a public place for immoral purposes,” simply because they were found on the streets at night. The charges essentially criminalize any woman who ventures outdoors after dark. However, in the Kenyan case, the High Court failed to find the action of law enforcers as discriminatory and a violation of the petitioners’ rights.

By contrast, the ECOWAS Court found the arrest of the four petitioners to be unlawful and violated their rights to dignity and liberty, and their right to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The Court affirmed the provisions of the United Nations’ Convention on Elimination All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), when it found that the action of Nigerian law enforcement officers constituted gender-based discrimination. The Court determined from the submissions showing that the operation was systematically directed against only the female gender an indication and evidence of discrimination.   The finding is significant for women because it reiterates State Parties’ obligation and responsibility as codified in CEDAW to adopt laws, administrative and policy measures to prevent gender based discrimination.

According to the Court, “Prostitution is claimed to be a crime in the laws of the Defendant. However, it takes two persons to engage in such criminal activity. There is no law that suggest[s] that when women are seen on the streets at midnight or anytime thereafter, they are necessarily idle persons or prostitutes.  If it were so, it ought to apply to all persons irrespective of sex”.  In this quote, a blow to the discriminatory application of prostitution and vagrancy laws, the Court rejects the narrative, fostering gender inequality, that female commercial sex workers are directly criminally liable, while their male counterparts, if liable at all, can only be so indirectly as accomplices or conspirators. This narrative has often reinforced harmful social prejudices against women.

The judgment also affects commercial sex workers, especially those who work at night. Although the Court did not make a pronouncement on the legality or illegality of commercial sex work, it is significant that it found no crime in women being on the street at night, whether they are sex workers or not.  The Court found the arrest a violation of the Plaintiffs’ right to liberty or free movement which is a fundamental human right.  The Court denounced the gender stereotyping of women found on the street at night as prostitutes and declared that such verbal abuses violated the right of these women to dignity. This denunciation unfortunately perpetuates the stigma that has traditionally been directed against sex workers.

In this context, the Court did not issue a direct order regarding existing laws prohibiting prostitution.  In finding that the Defendant failed to provide sufficient evidence linking the Plaintiffs with prostitution, the Court exposes the difficulty of collecting evidence for the crime of prostitution.  This suggests an opportunity to challenge the law on prostitution in the fact that the law violates the right to privacy.  Given the intimate nature of sex, privacy is a major issue in criminalizing sex work.  Collecting evidence to support sex-work-related charges often involves bedroom snooping and interfering with the privacy of the sex workers and their clients.

A significant milestone that sets the ECOWAS ruling apart is the pronouncement of a violation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), is indeed a first in an International Court. The Court found that there were multiple violations of article 2 calling on States to combat all forms of discrimination against women, article 3 that provides for the right to dignity and to the recognition and protection of women human and legal rights. There was further violation of article 4 on the Rights to Life, integrity and security of the person, article 5(d) on protection of women from being subjected violence, abuse and intolerance. The denial of access to justice and equal protection before the law and access to remedy was a violation of articles 8 and 25 respectively.

This ruling by the ECOWAS Court is important to judges, lawyers and law scholars as it sets the pace for challenging the often vague vagrancy laws.  By finding the action of the law enforcement officers to have violated fundamental human rights, the Court in other words has questioned the legality of vagrancy laws.  The ruling by ECOWAS Court, therefore, piles more pressure on African States to repeal the overly vague and overbroad vagrancy laws that harass and abuse women, including female sex workers. Already, the CEDAW Committee has called upon States Parties to take appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress exploitation of women in sex work.   Overall, the ECOWAS Court’s ruling is a clear call to these States to respect fundamental rights of women to liberty, dignity and self-determination.

[1] Dorothy Njemanze & 3 Ors V Federal Republic of Nigeria: SUIT NO: ECW/CCJ/APP/17/14  (ECOWAS Court, Abuja, Nigeria)  Decision of October 12, 2017.

[2] Lucy Nyambura & Another v. Town Clerk, Municipal Council of Mombasa & 2 Others [2011] eKLR, Petition No. 286 of 2009 Kenya, High Court. Decision online.
Case summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III

Other African cases, summarized online: 
Legal Grounds III: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts  (Pretoria, Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2017), and previous volumes.
Printed edition of Legal Grounds III available from PULP.
Previous volumes PDF online at CRR.
Legal Grounds III, online edition with updates and links to decisions.

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.

Decision, Calls, Conferences, Resources & Jobs

January 16, 2014

January 16, 2014

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Canada:  Supreme Court Strikes Down Canada’s Prostitution Laws, unanimous decision.  Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72, Case #34788.  Struck down:  “over-broad” and “grossly disproportionate” laws prohibiting brothels, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating in public with clients.  Parliament has one year (if it wishes) to pass new law as Criminal Code provisions remain in place
Supreme Court decision of Dec. 20, 2013 is online here.
Printable PDF version of 83-page decision is online here.
Legal analysis by Ranjan K. Agarwal, Intervenor
News coverage, key points and context by CBC


“Population, Environment and Sustainable Development,” call for papers for Reproductive Health Matters journal, May 2014 – still accepting submissions.  RHM Call for papers online here.

“Using the Law and the Courts,” call for papers for Reproductive Health Matters journal Nov 2014.   RHM Call for papers-scroll down.

Call for Papers,  “Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution.”  Conference: August 7-8,  2014 at the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada, submit abstract by Jan 31, 2014.
PEI call for papers online here.


“Task sharing in unwanted pregnancy” FIAPAC bi-annual conference for abortion and contraception professionals,” October 3-4,  2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia   Online poster with list of topics.

FIGO World Congress 2015, Vancouver, BC,  Canada,  Oct 4-9, 2015 [sic].  12-page brochure online here.


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, 2014.  To receive details when it is published, email reprohealth. law\at/ utoronto. ca with subject “abortion book flyer”.

[abortion, Australia] ‘A Woman’s Right to Choose: Human Rights and Abortion in Australia’ in Paula Gerber and Melissa Castan (eds), Contemporary Human Rights Issues in Australia (Thomson Reuters, 2013) 251-273.   Book description.

[abortion, CEDAW] “A Commentary on L.C. v Peru: The CEDAW Committee’s First Decision on Abortion,” by Charles G. Ngwena,  Journal of African Law 57(2): 310-324.   Abstract and link online here.

[abortion stigma] New abortion stigma network:  INROADS, the International Network for the Reduction of Abortion Discrimination and Stigma –   To learn more, contact:  info\AT/
New abortion stigma website online here.

[abortion, surrogacy, ova donation] “Reproductive Technologies and Reproductive Justice,” theme of special issue guest-edited by Mytheli Sreenivas in Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies  34.3, 2013 [includes articles re abortion law advocacy in Taiwan, U.S.A. and elsewhere]
Repro Technologies issue online here.

[CEDAW effectiveness]   “International Women’s Convention, Democracy, and Gender Equality” by Seo-Young Cho, forthcoming Social Science Quarterly  Abstract and article online.

Conscientious Objection to the provision of reproductive healthcare – special issue, International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, vol 123, Supp. 3 (Dec. 2013), Conscientious Objection issue, online here, includes:.

— Editorial by Wendy Chavkin, Global Doctors for Choice

–Conscientious objection and refusal to provide reproductive healthcare: A White Paper examining prevalence, health consequences, and policy responses, by Wendy Chavkin, Liddy Leitman, Kate Polin.

— Conscientious objection or fear of social stigma and unawareness of ethical obligations, by Anibal Faúndes, Graciana Alves Duarte, Maria José Duarte Osis.

— Conscientious objection to provision of legal abortion care, by Brooke R. Johnson, Eszter Kismödi, Monica V. Dragoman, Marleen Temmerman.

— Legal and ethical standards for protecting women’s human rights and the practice of conscientious objection in reproductive healthcare settings   by Christina Zampas.
All are in Conscientious Objection issue, online here.

[Conscientious objection]  A list of our Program publications on Conscientious Objection, with links where available, is online here.

[Course syllabi] Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Course syllabus for a course taught by Rebecca Cook and Joanna Erdman, based on the textbook Reproductive Health and Human Rights: Integrating Medicine, Ethics and Law (Oxford University Press, 2003) is licensed for free adaptation by law instructors anywhere in the world.   This RSH Law course syllabus will remain online until August 2014. See also:  Women’s Rights in Transnational Law 2013 course syllabus by Rebecca Cook.  More teaching resources are online here.

[human rights]  The American Convention on Human Rights:  Crucial Rights and their Theory and Practice by Cecilia Medina (Mortsel, Belgium: Intersentia, 2013).  Book description online.

[LGBTQ] World map shows countries where consensual same-sex sexual conduct is criminalized  UNAIDS Info Graphic online.

Reproductive Freedom, Torture and International Human Rights: Challenging the Masculinisation of Torture, by Ronli Sifris.  (Oxford: Routledge, 2014) Book description.

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


Program Officer, Safe Abortion and Advocacy, Latin America and the Caribbean, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere.  Job requires Master’s degree or equivalent in Social Sciences, Law, Political Science, Public Health. IPPF job details here.

Program Associate for Latin America and the Caribbean,  Center for Reproductive Rights.  Apply by Jan. 24, 2014.   CRR job details here.

Other jobs at the Center for Reproductive Rights
Internship at the Nepal office, apply by Jan. 17, 2014
Manager of Policy and Advocacy Research, apply by Jan. 17.
Senior Attorney for Judicial Strategy, apply by Jan. 31.
List and links are online here.

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

The REPROHEALTHLAW Blog is compiled monthly by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, University of Toronto, Canada.  Email:  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 account to confirm the subscription.

Nigeria: HIV, Prostitution, and Drug Use

July 31, 2012

Congratulations to Dr. Babafemi Odunsi, an LL.M. graduate of our International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program who now teaches law at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.  We thank him for sending the following abstract of his recently published article.  The author can be reached at:  femiodunsi 2002 at yahoo*com.


By Babafemi Odunsi

Malawi Law Journal 4.2 (2010): 215-232.

This article examines the interplay between prostitution, injection drug use and the spread of HIV/Aids in Nigeria. It also considers how Nigerian criminal law and the unfriendly social attitude to prostitution and illicit drug use vitiate the control of HIV/Aids. The article stresses the need for Nigerian criminal law to maintain a ‘soft stance’ on sex workers and drug users in order to accommodate their needs and vulnerabilities relating to HIV/AIDS. It underscores the need to put the overall public health interest in effectively controlling the spread of HIV over and above the social aversion to prostitution and illicit drug use – an aversion which Nigerian criminal law reflects and reinforces.

Court Decisions, Filings, Resources & News

April 12, 2012


April 12, 2012


Australia, New South Wales:  Family Court lacks power to stop abortion at father’s request.  Newspaper article

Canada:  Ontario Court of Appeal upholds legalization of prostitution in Ontario.   Provisions prohibiting common bawdy-houses and living off the avails of prostitution, are both unconstitutional in their current form.  The Court suspended legalization of brothels for one year, giving Parliament time to draft another law, if it chooses.
Newspaper article        Newspaper analysis      AWID news item

Chile:  Inter-American Court of Human Rights:  Case of Atala Riffo and Children v. Chile.    First use of the American Convention of Human Rights re sexual orientation.  Case of discrimination against lesbian mother when custody of children was given to father
Decision online in Spanish     Summary online in English

El Salvador abortion ban:  Center for Reproductive Rights Files Case Revealing the Horrifying Reality of El Salvador’s Ban on Abortion.  Petition filed March 21, 2012 with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by the Center for Reproductive Rights and local Salvadoran organization Colectiva de Mujeres para el Desarrollo Local (Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto Ético, Terapéutico y Eugenésico de El Salvador).   Press release


Global Health Challenges & the Role of Law, 2102 National Health Law Conference.
May 4-5 2012, Toronto, Canada.    Program online

Sexuality, Gender, and Rights Institute: Exploring Theory and Practice
Istanbul, Turkey, July 7-15, 2012.  Apply by April 25.   Details online.


“The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive rights,” by Victoria Balogun and Ebenezer Durojaye. African Human Rights Law Journal 11.2 (2011) pp. 368-395  Abstract online.

“CEDAW Article 12, “Health” commentary by Rebecca Cook and Veronica Undurraga, demonstrates how art. 12 has been and could be applied to discriminatory health situations.  In: The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: A Commentary, ed. Marsha A. Freeman, Christine Chinkin, and Beate Rudolf (Oxford University Press, 2012) 792pp.  Book info online.

The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuses by Geoffrey Robertson (Penguin Special, 2010)
New Spanish translation launched in Mexico.  Spanish edition.
English comments by Spanish publisher

Failure to protect woman against domestic violence a violation of CEDAW (A.T. v. Hungary).  OP CEDAW blog

International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme, annual report 2011  Abridged web version now online

Sexual Rights and the Universal Periodic review: A toolkit for Advocates. [includes abortion] SRI and IPPF, 52pp.  Info and download.

Reproductive Health and Human Rights: Integrating Medicine, Ethics and Law, By Rebecca J. Cook, Bernard M. Dickens and Mahmoud F. Fathalla (Oxford UP, 2003)   Translations to French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese.    5 Case studies in English (scroll down).   Arabic edition.   Download Spanish edition (546 pp, 2.5MB)

Whose Right to Life?: Women’s Rights and Prenatal Protections under Human Rights and Comparative Law. 18-page report

US:   Reproductive Rights Prof Blog provides US-focused scholarship and news. View or subscribe here.


Morocco: suicide of under-age rape victim married to rapist spurs national debate against both under-age marriage and legal exemption for rapists who marry their under-age victims.   News article.

Rwanda: Abortion Might Be Legalized in Certain Cases, But Crucial Report not Made Public.  News article.
First-ever national study on abortion in Rwanda released.  News article.


Researcher on Women’s Rights, based in Middle East and North Africa (“MENA”) region, for the Women’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch.  Apply by April 20, 2012.    Job description

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

International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme – Website


January 6, 2012

January 6, 2012


Argentina – “LMR” case – Argentina sentenced by the United Nations Human Rights Committee for not providing a legal abortion This 2011 decision (Communication No. 1608/2007 of 28 April 2011) is now online in Spanish and English;  Listserve commentary by Mercedes Cavallo, LL.M., is now online here:

L.C. v. Peru -[abortion in case of rape]: Peru must relax restrictions on abortion.  CEDAW decision is now online in Spanish and English ;  CRR press release


“Women’s Human Rights Education Institute” (6 weeks) with feminist jurist and activist Alda Facio Toronto, Canada, May 21–June 28, 2012. More info here


[Canadian] National Health Law Conference: Global Health Challenges & the Role of Law May 4 & 5, 2012, Metropolitan Hotel, Toronto, Canada.  Register online here.

[UK] “Pills in Practice: ‘Is abortion and contraception policy meeting women’s needs?'” BPAS public conference, Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK, May 11, 2012.  More info here.


[abortion] Africa’s Abortion Wars by Alexis Okeowo  (New York Times commentary)

[assisted repro] Baby-Making: What the new reproductive treatments mean for families and society  by Bart Fauser, Paul Devroey, Oxford UP, 2011.  Book info.

[Europe, abortion] Current legislation and trends relating to termination of pregnancy across the EU explored in new study.  BJOG press release
Paper is called  “Terminations of Pregnancy in the European Union” online here.

Kenya:“160 Girls” legal initiative to achieve justice and protect Kenyan girls from sexual violence. More info.

Litigating health rights. Can courts bring more justice to health?  by Alicia Ely Yamin and Siri Gloppen (2011) Harvard UP, 2011, 435 p.  Book Info.

[stigma] Understanding the Mark: Race, Stigma, and Equality in Context by R.A. Lenhardt, (2004). New York University Law Review, Vol. 79, p. 803, 2004; Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper.  online at SSRN

[prostitution] Prohibiting Sex Purchasing and Ending Trafficking: The Swedish Prostitution Law, by Max Waltman. Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 33, pp. 133-157, 2011. online at SSRN:

Reproductive Choices and Informed Consent: Fetal Interests, Women’s Identity and Relational Autonomy, by Pamela Laufer-Ukeles, American Journal of Law and Medicine, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2011. Online at SSRN

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

————— Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme, For Programme publications and resources, see our website:


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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