“Female Circumcision” by Dr. Mahmoud Fathalla

March 15, 2019

Congratulations and thanks to Dr. Mahmoud F. Fathalla, professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Assiut University in Egypt, whose useful article on “Female Circumcision” in the Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics is now available online.  We are pleased to circulate the abstract:

Mahmoud F. Fathalla, “Circumcision, Female,” in:  Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics, ed. Henk ten Have  (Switzerland: Springer International, 2016)  Article onlineEncyclopedia of Global Bioethics.

Female circumcision (otherwise called as female genital mutilation or female genital cutting) refers to all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where the practice is concentrated. The procedure varies from an insignificant cut to a major mutilation. However, it has been shown to have no health benefits, can harm girls and women, and therefore raises ethical concerns about the right of the child and dignity of the woman. In its cultural context, ensuring that a daughter undergoes genital cutting as a child or teenager is a parental loving act meant to make certain of her marriageability. This is particularly important in societies where there is little economic viability for women outside marriage. The health profession faces ethical issues and challenges about medicalization of the procedure, medical alternative rituals, obstetric care for women who have had the procedure, and responding to requests for resuturing after delivery. The elimination of this harmful traditional practice may be promoted less effectively by insensitive enforcement of criminal laws than by the counseling and education of patients and communities.
The full text is online here.


Female genital mutilation/cutting in Africa: A complex legal and ethical landscape,” by Satang Nabaneh and Adamson S. Muula,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2019; 145: 253–257,  PDF at Wiley Online. Submitted text at SSRN.

Female Genital Cutting (Mutilation/ Circumcision): Ethical and Legal Dimensions,” by  R. J. Cook,  B.M. Dickens, and M.F. Fathalla (2002) 79 International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics : 281-287. Abstract and article.  

—-Turkish translation:  Kadın Sünneti (Sakatlama/Sünnet): Etik ve Hukuki Boyutlar,” trans. Mustafa Erçakıca, Beykent Üniversitesi Hukuk Fakültesi Dergisi, Volume II, No: 4, December 2016, p. 111-121.  Turkish translation  online.

Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive Health“: 90 concise articles are online here.
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.


Developments, Resources, Opportunities and Jobs

March 31, 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.


[Canada] Supreme Court upholds sexual assault conviction of man who pierced girlfriend’s condoms to impregnate her. The “condom sabotage constituted fraud … the result that no consent was obtained,” in R. v. Hutchinson, decision of March 7, 2014, 2014 SCC 19, docket no. 35176
56-page decision online.   News coverage.

[Europe – Italy – abortion – conscientious objection] European Committee on Social Rights on the merits of the complaint International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN) v. Italy, Complaint No. 87/2012, re women’s difficulties accessing termination of pregnancy under Italian legislation which amount, according to the complainant organisation, to a breach of the right to health as guaranteed by the European Social Charter.  Health facilities do not effectively compensate for the deficiencies in service provision caused by health personnel who  invoke their right of conscientious objection.  IPPF complaint (30 pages);  Decision on the merits (67 pages).  Summary of Decision (4 pages), IPPF press release.

[Europe – parental leave and surrogacy] Court of Justice of the European Union.  Judgment in Cases C-167/12 C. D. v S.T. and C-363/12 Z. v A Government Department and the Board of Management of a Community School.  EU law does not require that a mother who has had a baby through a surrogacy agreement should be entitled to maternity leave or its equivalent.  The Pregnant Workers Directive merely lays down certain minimum requirements in respect of protection, although the Member States are free to apply more favourable rules for the benefit of such mothers. Official Press Release.   Decisions in English and French.

[CEDAW] Statement of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on sexual and reproductive health and rights: Beyond 2014 ICPD review, 57th session, 10 – 28 February 2014. CEDAW statement.

The Airlie Declaration on Safe and Legal Abortion, 27 March, 2014,  Virginia.  Outcome of a 2-day meeting co-sponsored by Ipas, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.  Political, health and human rights leaders from over 30 countries took part in the event. About the meeting.    Declaration and signatories.  

Morocco reforms its rape law, January 8, 2014,  Article 475 of the Criminal /penal Code allowed rapists to escape prosecution if they married their victim, justifying the traditional practice of pressuring the victim to marry her rapist to preserve “family honor.”   New amendment removes the second paragraph of the article, lifting the immunity of the rapist and preventing him from marrying his victim.  WLP Press release.

South Africa is launching their new Contraception and Fertility Plannning guidelines.  Contraception guidelines.

Zimbabwe Supreme Court: Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association successfully sued Government for raped woman denied abortion, Mildred Mapingure was awarded compensation for her and the resulting child.  Zimbabwe news.


“Task Sharing in Abortion Care,” (FIAPAC) International Federation of Professional Abortion and Contraception Associates  bi-annual conference  for health care professionals working in the field of abortion care and contraception, Ljubljana, Slovenia,  October 3-4, 2014.  FIAPAC conference details.

“Histories on the Edge” Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, May 22-25, 2014, Toronto, Canada ( includes panel discussion “Pregnant Bodies As Conflict Zones: Abortion Politics in Transnational Context” with Grace Millar Sarah B. Rowley, Katrina Ackerman, Shannon Stettner, Lori A. Brown, Barbara Baird, Catherine Elizabeth Kevin, Discussants: Karissa Haugeberg and Rebecca Cook, May 25).  Preliminary Program.


Fellowships for MA Social Determinants of Health, Doctoral, Post-Doctoral, Research Associate, and Senior Academic at the Comparative Program on Health and Society, University of Toronto 2014-15.  Supporting documents must arrive by May 27, 2014.  Call for Applications 2014/2015CPHS website.

Health Law Fellowships at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, USA, 2014-15, working on academic legal research and scholarly projects in health law, beginning Fall 2014, 65K for one year plus benefits, Apply by April 25, 2014.  Overview online here.   O’Neill Application.

3-day intensive course on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Litigation, The Global School on Socioeconomic Rights,  Harvard University  Boston MA, USA,  November 3-5, 2014, Apply by July 1, 2014.  Health Rights Litigation course


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] “My Body My Rights,” new Amnesty International campaign – 7-page report

On Abortion: Exploring Psychological Meaning and Attitudes in a Sample of Mexican Gynecologists, Ma. Luisa Marván, Asunción Álvarez del Río and Zaira Campos, Developing World Bioethics 14.1 (April 2014): 29–36.     Abstract or download article.

[abortion – Africa] “Facilitating women’s access to misoprostol through community-based advocacy in Kenya and Tanzania,” by Francine Coeytaux, Leila Hessini, Nondo Ejano, Albert Obbuyi, Monica Oguttu, Joachim Osur, Kristen Shuken, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 125.1(April 2014): 53-55. Abstract or download article.

[abortion – Ireland] “Human Rights and Abortion Law Reform in Ireland’ IFPA seminar held last December in Dublin Ireland, panel of national and international experts analysed abortion law in Ireland through the lens of equality, criminalisation, human rights and stigma, and explored ways forward to advance Irish abortion law reform.  Speakers included: Dr Ruth Fletcher, Prof. Rebecca Cook, Julie Kay, Lead Counsel in A, B and C v Ireland, Prof. Siobhán Mullally, and Mark Kelly.  Highlights:  9-minute video.

[abortion – Israel] “The effect of a policy change on late termination of pregnancy in Israel,” by Amir Aviram, Ami Fishman, Maya Steinberg, Ido Solt, Rami Aviram, Corresponding author contact information, E-mail the corresponding author.  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics  Abstract online.

[abortion – Nigeria] “Acceptability and feasibility of medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol in Nigeria,” by Friday Okonofua, Oladapo Shittu, Tara Shochet, Ayisha Diop and Beverly Winikoff, International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 125.1 (April 2014): 49-52.  Abstract or download article.

[abortion – Pakistan]  The Rules for Abortion and Causing Miscarriage: Isqat-i-Haml and Isqat-i-Janin in the Pakistan Penal Code, by Imran Ahsan Nyazee, Islamabad School of Law, 19-page working paper online

[abortion and domestic violence] “Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Termination of Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,”  by Megan Hall, Lucy C. Chappell,  Bethany L. Parnell, Paul T. Seed, and  Susan Bewley,  PLOS Medicine,  January 07, 2014,  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001581.  Article onlineNewsmedia comment.

[abortion ship] New film about Women on Waves: “Vessel”   “Vessel” film website.

“Abortion, Libertarianism, and Evictionism: A Last Word,” by Jakub Bożydar Wiśniewski, Libertarian Papers 5, 1 (2013). 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 online.

[conscientious objection] “The Scope of the Conscience-Based Exemption in Section 4(1) of the Abortion Act 1967: Doogan and Wood v NHS Greater Glasgow Health Board [2013] CSIH 36,” by Mary Neal, Medical Law Review doi: 10.1093/medlaw/fwt041 (pre-published online 20 January 2014)  Abstract online.

[Europe – human rights]  Shaping Rights in the ECHR:  The Role of the European Court of Human Rights in Determining the Scope of Human Rights, ed. Eva Brems and Janneke Gerards (Cambridge UP, 2014) pp 137-161.  (Abortion discussed in chapter 7  “Procedural Protection” by Eva Brems.)  Ebook through university librariesTable of Contents.   Book details from Publisher.

[Ireland]  “Refusal of Emergency Caesarean Section in Ireland: A Relational Approach.” by Katherine Wade, Medical Law Review 22.1(Winter 2014): 1-25.   Abstract online.

[Eastern Europe]  “Status of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Central and Eastern Europe (ASTRA)  4-page fact sheet online.

The ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report – now online (large file)UN Secretary-General’s report.

[maternal mortality]  “Accountability in the Provision of Quality Health Care for Women: Alyne da Silva Pimentel [in Brazil]”, by Mónica Aranga Olaya and Valentina Montoya Robledo, Policy in Focus 27 (March 2014): 8-9.  Issue online, see pages 8-9.

[maternal mortality – Uganda] A Global Social Contract to Reduce Maternal Mortality: The Human Rights Arguments and the Case of Uganda, by Gorik Ooms, Mulumba Moses, Rachel Hammonds, Laila Abdul Latif, Attiya Waris, and Lisa Forman, Reproductive Health Matters, Vol. 21, No. 42, November 2013, pp 129-138. Abstract online.

[stigma] “Reducing stigma in reproductive health,” by Rebecca J. Cook and Bernard M. Dickens, International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 124.2(February 2014): 134-138.  Abstract and article online.

“Substantive Equality and Reproductive Rights: A Briefing Paper on Aligning Development Goals with Human Rights Obligations,” published by Center for Reproductive Rights, 30-page briefing paper.

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


[abortion – Ireland]  Second woman challenges Ireland’s abortion laws at the UN re fetal abnormality.  Guardian news article.

[abortion – Turkey]Abortion banned in Turkish state hospitals, health group claims.    News report.

[abortion – UK]  Abortion provider BPAS fined £200,000 for data breach.  BPAS did not know that its website was storing the name, address, date of birth and telephone number of people who requested a callback for advice on pregnancy issues. Hacker caught before damage done.  BBC news report.


Regional Director for Europe – based in Geneva, Switzerland, Center for Reproductive Rights. Apply by April 18, 2014.  CRR job details.

Program Associates, Global Development and Population Program, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Menlo Park Calif. USA. Hewlett job details.

Program Officer, Safe Abortion Advocacy, Latin America and Caribbean Countries, International Planned Parenthood Federation.  Job at IPPF-WHR.

Director, Special Projects, Ipas, Chapel Hill, NC, USA, Master’s degree required.  Ipas job details.

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 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.

Calls, Resources, News and Jobs

June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012


Call for papers: “Making progress in realizing women’s human rights: the role of the CEDAW Commitee and other international human rights monitoring bodies’,  Call for articles for the Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies  (Journal for Gender Studies). Send outlines for articles in English or Dutch (400 – 500 words) before 15 July 2012 to Fleur van Leeuwen (FC_van_Leeuwen@hotmail.com) \
For details in English, click here, then click “Oproep door artikelen” and scroll to the bottom.


[abortion -adolescents] Parental Involvement Laws and New Governance  Rachel Rebouché, 34 Harv. J. L. & Gender 175 (2011).     Abstract online.

[abortion & prenatal genetic testing] Mixed Messages: The Intersection of Prenatal Genetic Testing and Abortion, by Rachel Rebouché & Karen H. Rothenberg,  Howard Law Journal, Vol. 55, No. 3, 2012; U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-26.  Abstract online.

[abortion & prenatal protections] “Whose Right to Life?: Women’s Rights and Prenatal Protections under Human Rights and Comparative Law. Toolkit from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

[abortion – Dominican Republic] “Resolving Conflicts of Constitution: Inside the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Ban on Abortion” by Mia So (2011) 86:2 Indiana Law Journal 714-32.  Article online.

[abortion, Uruguay] “The Politics of Reproductive Health Rights in Uruguay: Why the Presidential Veto to the Right to Abortion is Illegitimate” Oscar A. Cabrera, Martin Hevia, Fanny Gómez-Lugo & Analia Banfi-Vique,  (2011). Revista de Direito Sanitário, São Paulo – Journal of Health Law, July 2011.  Article online.

[adolescents] United Nations Commission on Population and Development, Draft Resolution on “Adolescents and Youth”,  April 27, 2012.   Draft Resolution, online here, includes:

  •   the ICPD list of reproductive health services including safe abortion (OP27);
  •   ICPD language on reproductive rights (PP15)
  •   Sexual Rights” as adopted in Beijing para 96 (human rights and sexuality) applied to adolescents and youth (OP7)
  •   Eliminating harmful traditional practices, including early and forced marriages (OP9)
  •   Access to contraception for women living with HIV and AIDS (PP17)
  •   Gender equality (PP13, OP16)

[Africa: HIV & stigma]  “The Impact of Routine HIV Testing on HIV-Related Stigma and Discrimination in Africa” by Ebenezer Tope Durojaye(2011). International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, Vol 11, No. 4, pp. 187-200, 2011. Abstract online.

Stereotyping Updates newsletter, by Simone Cusack, May 2012,
is now online.
Significant decisions on gender stereotyping over recent months include:

  •  European Court of Human Rights (Konstantin Markin v. Russia), Parental leave for servicemen
  •  Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Atala Riffo and daughters v. Chile), Lesbian mother allowed custody of children after divorce
  •  U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (Macy v. Holder). Transgender employee discrimination


Chile:  Review of a Study by Koch et al. on the Impact of Abortion Restrictions on Maternal Mortality in Chile,  Guttmacher Advisory,
May 2012.  Online here.

Chile, anencephaly:  Women forced to be ‘human coffins’ – new campaigns to change legislation.  News item.

China: one-child policy leads to forced abortions, mothers’ deaths.
News item.

Nepal:  “Safe and affordable abortion: Women’s right”  by Melissa Upreti.  News item.

Rwanda: MPs to Harmonise Abortion Act with Article 14 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (“Maputo” Protocol).  News item.

Rwanda: MPs passed the draft Penal Code. Majority voted in favour of legal abortions in cases of rape, incest, forced marriage, or jeopardy to health of the woman or the fetus. Code now goes to the Senate for approval.  News item.

Sri Lanka:  Abortion laws – another view  – authorities considering abortion law reform for cases of ‘underage’ rape and incest.
Published letter by Ramya Kumar et al.

Turkey:  Europe must fight Turkish abortion restrictions, by Lilian Sepulveda.  Article online

Zambia:  The term “conception” in the Zambian constitution is ambiguous. News item.


Associate, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington DC USA.  Apply by July 31, 2012.  More information online

Links to employers in the field of Reproductive and Sexual Health Law
are online in right sidebar of this blog.

For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here.