REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – March 2019

March 15, 2019

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DEVELOPMENTS:

[El Salvador] Supreme Court ordered release of another three women serving 30 years for alleged abortions.  News report, March 7, 2019.   Report from Safe Abortion.

[Germany]  In February 2019, the Bundestag revised the Criminal Code provision that prohibits the so-called “advertising” of abortions. Providers can now publicly announce, e.g. on websites, that they provide abortion care. News report, Feb 21, 2019.

[Isle of Man] In January 2019, the Abortion Reform Act 2019 allows abortion on a woman’s request in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.  Abortion at 15-23 weeks’ gestation in cases of sexual assault, severe fatal impairment, or risk to the woman’s health.  effective May 2019.  Abortion Reform Act 2019.

Kenyan High Court upholds human and constitutional rights to maternal dignity and reproductive healthcare:   J O O (also known as J M) v Attorney General & 6 others [2018] Petition No 5 of 2014, (High Court of Kenya at Bungoma).  March 22, 2017.  Case summary by Naitore Nyamu.     Court decision.    Legal Grounds III online.

Pakistan Court Orders Implementation of Measures to Address Obstetric Fistula
CRR Press Release.

SCHOLARSHIP:

Mahmoud F. Fathalla, “Abortion and Public Health Ethics,” in: The Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics, ed.  Anna C. Mastroianni, Jeffrey P. Kahn, and Nancy E. Kass, Oxford Handbooks Online,  February 2019.  Article online.

[abortion law, Argentina]  “Constitutional Dialogues and Abortion Law Reform in Argentina: What’s Next?” by Paola Bergallo, featured on I-CONnect Blog, Feb. 27, 2019.  Article online.

[female circumcision]  “Circumcision, Female,” by Mahmoud F. Fathalla,  Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics, ed. Henk ten Have  (Switzerland: Springer International, 2016)  Abstract and article.   Encyclopedia of Global Bioethics.

[HIV transmission, stigma] “Expert Consensus Statement on the Science of HIV in the Context of Criminal Law” by F. Barré-Sinoussi et al.  Journal of the International AIDS Society  21 (2018): e25161  Expert Consensus Statement.      Overview in JIAS editorial.

JOBS

Links to 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.

 

 

 

 


Abortion Across Borders: Transnational Travel and Access to Abortion Services

March 15, 2019

Congratulations to the editors and authors of a new book, Abortion across Borders Transnational Travel and Access to Abortion Services, who examine how restrictive policies force women to move both within and across national borders in order to reach abortion providers, often at great expense, over long distances and with significant safety risks.  Taking historical and contemporary perspectives, contributors examine the situation in regions that include Texas, Prince Edward Island, Ireland, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Eastern Europe.  Throughout the book, they take a feminist intersectional approach to transnational travel and access to abortion services that is sensitive to inequalities of gender, race, and class in reproductive health care. This multidisciplinary volume raises challenging logistical, legal, and ethical questions while exploring the gendered aspects of medical tourism.   To request an examination or review copy,  see online here.  We are pleased to circulate the full Table of Contents:

Christabelle Sethna and Gayle Davis, eds., Abortion across Borders:  Transnational Travel and Access to Abortion Services,  Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019.  360 pages.  Detailed overview, Author bios, Reviews, and Contents.

Table Of Contents

Introduction:
Christabelle Sethna

Part I. Flight Risks

1. Sherri Finkbine Flew to Sweden: Abortion and Disability in the Early 1960s
Lena Lennerhed

2. From Heathrow Airport to Harley Street: The ALRA and the Travel of Nonresident Women for Abortion Services in Britain
Christabelle Sethna

3. The Trans-Tasman Abortion Travel Service: Abortion Services for New Zealand Women in the 1970s
Hayley Brown

Part II. Domestic Transgressions

4. All Aboard the “Abortion Express”: Geographic Variability, Domestic Travel, and the 1967 British Abortion Act
Gayle Davis, Jane O’Neill, Clare Parker, and Sally Sheldon

5. A Double Movement: The Politics of Reproductive Mobility in Ireland
Mary Gilmartin and Sinéad Kennedy

6. Tales of Mobility: Women’s Travel and Abortion Services in a Globalized Australia
Barbara Baird

7. Don’t Mess with Texas: Abortion Policy, Texas Style
Lori A. Brown

8. Trials and Trails: The Emergence of Canada’s Abortion Refugees in Prince Edward Island
Cathrine Chambers, Colleen MacQuarrie, and Jo-Ann MacDonald

Part III. Democratic Transitions

9. Abortion Travel and the Cost of Reproductive Choice in Spain
Agata Ignaciuk

10. “The Import Problem”: The Travels of Our Bodies, Ourselves to Eastern Europe
Anna Bogic

11. Abortion and the Catholic Church in Poland
Ewelina Ciaputa

12.  Beyond the Borders of Brexit: Traveling for Abortion Access to a Post-EU Britain
Niklas Barke

Abortion across Borders:  Transnational Travel and Access to Abortion Services, 

Book Overview, Author bios, Reviews, and Contents.

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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.


CEDAW re Northern Ireland abortion laws: grave and systematic violations of women’s rights

April 26, 2018

Many thanks to Professors Claire Pierson of the University of Liverpool,  Kathryn McNeilly of Queen’s University Belfast and Fiona Bloomer of Ulster University, founding members of the Reproductive Health Law and Policy Advisory Group, online here, who kindly commented on the results of CEDAW’s inquiry into Northern Ireland’s abortion laws, based on their 9-page Briefing Document:

Reproductive Health Law and Policy Advisory Group,  Briefing Document: Report of the inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, April 2018.
Briefing on CEDAW’s Northern Ireland inquiry and UK response – (9 pages).

From the late twentieth century onwards, human rights emerged as a significant tool, drawing attention to reproductive health provision for women. In Northern Ireland, however, it is only recently that human rights have stimulated meaningful discussion on local abortion access. The UN CEDAW Committee has become the latest body to engage rights in this way.

In early 2018, the CEDAW Committee completed an Optional Protocol inquiry into Northern Ireland’s abortion laws. CEDAW’s report, online here, found the United Kingdom in violation of several articles of the Convention through maintenance of a criminal framework permitting abortion in Northern Ireland only in circumstances of threat to life or serious and long-term threat to health. These violations were found to be grave and systematic.

The inquiry was undertaken following a 2010 submission by the Family Planning Association for Northern Ireland (FPA), Alliance for Choice and the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform (NIWEP). In 2014, the UK submitted written observations on the submission to CEDAW.  These denied that violation of rights had occurred and outlined that legislative change was not envisaged.  Upon reviewing the UK response and material received by the FPA, Alliance for Choice and NIWEP, CEDAW determined the allegations were reliable and assigned two delegates to conduct an inquiry in 2016.

In addition to the impact of the region’s restrictive criminal law on women’s health and equality, the report highlights concerns with wider access to reproductive and sexual health services, including: post-abortion care, harassment at reproductive health clinics, and a lack of adequate sexual health education. It particularly notes the disproportionate impact of restrictive abortion access on rural and poorer women.

The Committee made 13 recommendations, including repeal of the current criminal law (sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861) and the creation of legislation to allow for abortion under particular grounds.  The UK Government has issued a response outlining that it does not accept that women in Northern Ireland have been subject to grave and systematic violations of rights under the Convention.

A separate legal challenge to the compatibility of Northern Ireland’s law with domestic human rights commitments is being heard by the UK Supreme Court. Pressure is mounting for the UK to seriously consider the rights implications of abortion law in this region.

RELEVANT LINKS:
CEDAW’s Report, see: Committee on the Elimination  of Discrimination against Women,Report of the inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, U.N.  Doc, CEDAW/C/OP.8/GBR/1, February 23, 2018.  CEDAW’s report on abortion law in Northern Ireland, 19 pages

Observations of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the report of the inquiry concerning United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women*  United Kingdom response, 7 pages

The Reproductive Health Law and Policy Advisory Group, discussed above, has issued a  a Briefing Document summarizing both the CEDAW report and the UK government’s response 9-page briefing.


“How Laws Fail the Promise of Medical Abortion,” by Patty Skuster

January 31, 2018

Congratulations to Patty Skuster, Senior Policy Advisor at Ipas and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Public Health Initiatives;  her recently published article is now publicly available through SSRN.  We thank her for abstracting this article for Reprohealthlaw subscribers:

Patty Skuster, “How Laws Fail the Promise of Medical Abortion: A Global Look,” Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law 18.379, 2017.  Article online at SSRN

Abortion law has not kept pace with abortion practice, namely the rising use of abortion with pills. Evidence is growing that women can safely use misoprostol without the involvement of a healthcare professional. And researchers have attributed abortion with pills outside formal health care settings to a worldwide decrease in abortion mortality.

Meanwhile, abortion law globally and nationally remains rooted in outdated abortion methods that do require a healthcare professional.  Global human rights experts recommend governments decriminalize women who seek abortion to meet human rights treaty obligations and reduce unsafe abortion deaths. However, the vast majority of abortion laws—even recently liberalized ones—still require a health-care professional to perform or approve legal abortion. More recent laws have progressed to allow mid-level providers (instead of medical doctors) to provide legal abortion. But even in liberal settings, women who end their abortion with pills and without a provider face imprisonment.

This article includes a summary of treaty body recommendations on abortion and the right to life and health. While treaty bodies call for governments to change laws to make abortion more accessible, treaty bodies have failed to address the nearly universal criminalization of women’s self-abortion with pills. It offers examples of laws that criminalize women’s self-use: newer laws in Uruguay and Uganda, and Zambia which, like many other former British Colonies, follows the model of the United Kingdom and requires provider involvement.

To make real progress toward upholding women’s rights to health and life, human rights authorities and governments must examine provider involvement requirements in abortion laws. We must work toward laws that permit all women to realize the promise of medical abortion.

Related links:

Access to safe abortion in Uganda: Leveraging Opportunities through the Harm Reduction Model” by Moses Mulumba, Charles Kiggundu, Jacqueline Nassimbwa and Noor Musisi Nakibuuka, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 138 (August 2017): 231–236. doi:10.1002/ijgo.12190   PDF at Wiley Online Submitted text.

Updated WHO Guidance on Safe Abortion: Health and Human Rights”   by J.N. Erdman, T.  DePiñeres, and E. Kismödi, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 120 (2013): 200-203. Article online

Applying Human Rights to Improve Access to Reproductive Health Services,” by Dorothy Shaw and Rebecca J. Cook,  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 119 (2012) S55–S59.  Article online,

Ethical and Legal Issues in Reproductive and Sexual Health80+ brief articles

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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.


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – Nov. 2017

November 30, 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

Northern Ireland:  Low-income women seeking free abortions will receive government travel grants. Newspaper

 CONFERENCES

“Abortion in the British Isles, France and North America since 1800,”    International Conference organised by the University of Paris-Sorbonne (research group HDEA, EA 4086), in Paris (France), 6-8 November 2018.  Registration fee  Submit 500-word abstract and short CV by Dec 23, 2017.  Conference details.

SCHOLARSHIP:

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 Spanish (see next entry) and in paperback, 20% discount code PH70.  English edition from U Penn Press.  Table of Contents with chapter summaries. 
Abortion Decisions Online
—-El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias
,  ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman y Bernard M. Dickens (Mexico: FCE/CIDE, 2016)   En espanol, 2016: Fondo de Cultura Económica Libreria CIDE.     Índice con resúmenes de capítulos 1-11
Decisiones Judiciales sobre aborto en línea

About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First Century America,  by Carol Sanger (Harvard UP, 2017)   Book details

“The Abortion Closet (with a Note on Rules and Standards),” by David Pozen, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Vol. 35, pp. 161-166, 2017. draws out some implications of Sanger’s arguments concerning abortion secrecy, abortion discourse, and the use of standards in constitutional abortion law.  Abstract and article

 

[Colombia, conscience]  Criminal Scopes of the Doctor Conscientious Objection in the Cases of Lawful Abortion in Colombia; Alcances penales de la objeción de conciencia del médico en el aborto lícito en Colombia; Âmbitos penales da objeção de consciência em o médico, by Juan Francisco Mendoza Perdomo, IUSTA 2:37 (2012) doctoral research, Summary in Spanish, English and Portuguese

[Europe] “Mandatory Waiting Periods and Biased Abortion Counseling in Central and Eastern Europe by Leah Hoctor and Adriana Lamačkova,  Int J Gynecol Obstet, 139 (2017) : 253–258.  Abstract and article

Global Abortion Policies Database, an open-access repository of abortion laws, policies, standards, and guidelines for 197 countries. Designed to strengthen efforts to eliminate unsafe abortion, the database acknowledges and engages law and policy as a social determinant of safe abortion.   Global Abortion Policies Database.

“The global abortion policies database—legal knowledge as a health intervention,” by Joanna Erdman, November 1, 2017  Opinion piece at BMJ.

 

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 links to decisions and updates.

[United Kingdom, abortion law] British Journal of Obsetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG)  124:13 (Dec. 2017)
BJOG issue on UK abortion law
—“The emancipation of women’s fertility,” by Michael Marsh, BJOG 124:13 (Dec 2017): 1921-22.
—“Abortion care as a key women’s health service,” Lesley Regan, BJOG 124.13 (Dec 2017): 1922.
—“Effectiveness, safety, and acceptability of first‐trimester medical termination of pregnancy performed by non‐doctor providers: a systematic review,” by S Sjöström, M Dragoman, MS Fønhus, B Ganatra, K Gemzell‐Danielsson, BJOG 124.13 (Dec 2017): 1928–1940
—“Reproductive rights: perspectives from a retired American obstetrician‐gynaecologist,” by Stephen S Entman, BJOG 124:13 (Dec 2017): 1941
—“The 50th Anniversary of the Abortion Act,” by David Paintin, BJOG 124:13 (Dec 2017): 1947.

“End criminal sanctions for abortion,” by Richard Hurley, BMJ 2017;359:j5409. 
Comment at BMJ.

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

JOBS

Reproductive Health Matters.  Director and Editor-in-Chief.  2-year renewable contract.   Apply by Jan 8, 2018.  RHM Director and Editor Position 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.


“¿Cómo puede un Estado ejercer control sobre la ingesta de una píldora?” por Sally Sheldon

October 31, 2017
[The Medical Framework and Early Medical Abortion in the U.K.:
How Can a State Control Swallowing? by Sally Sheldon
]

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias fue publicado en agosto de 2016 por el Fondo de Cultura Económica y el Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas.

Sally Sheldon, “El marco de referencia médico y el aborto medicamentoso temprano en el Reino Unido. ¿Cómo puede un Estado ejercer control sobre la ingesta de una píldora?” El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias, editoras/es  Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman, y Bernard M. Dickens (FCE/CIDE, 2016) págs. 245-269.   en españolen inglés.

En el noveno capítulo de El aborto en el derecho transnacional: Casos y controversias, Sally Sheldon toma el caso del aborto temprano con medicamentos (es decir, no quirúrgico), considerado como un procedimiento rutinario en muchos países. Este es su punto central para explorar las ventajas y desventajas del marco normativo altamente medicalizado de la prestación de servicios abortivos en Gran Bretaña. Si bien este marco, arraigado en el derecho y altamente aceptado, ha contribuido a despolitizar y liberar significativamente el acceso al aborto, también ha obstaculizado otras maneras de considerar lo que está en juego en el debate sobre el aborto; particularmente, los derechos reproductivos de las mujeres. Sheldon analiza la vigencia del control medico, a pesar de la existencia de acciones judicial para revocar las restricciones clínicas sin fundamento sobre el uso de medicamentos abortivos, y la evidencia de otros países sobre la seguridad de su uso doméstico.
Las posibilidades que plantea el aborto temprano con medicamentos son importantes, cuando se trata de desafiar las concepciones en torno al aborto que hemos heredado y los marcos que lo regulan en la actualidad. La posibilidad de adquirir los fármacos en Internet pone al alcance de muchas mujeres opciones más seguras para abortar fuera del control médico. En el futuro, es factible que en muchas partes del mundo las disputas judiciales sobre aborto se centren en los procedimientos relativos a la autorización de fármacos, la regulación de la telemedicina y los  conflictos respecto de normativas y restricciones aduaneras. Si bien hace tiempo que el aborto es un delito difícil de detectar y enjuiciar, las dificultades que implican todo intento de regular el aborto temprano con medicamentos —o de contenerlo bajo un control médico estricto— serán notablemente mayores.

 

El aborto en el derecho transnacional: casos y controversias es disponible:
en español    en inglés   y dos capítulos en portugués: Capítulo 2.    Capítulo 4
Descargar: Reseña del libro en Andamios, por Diego Garcia Ricci      
Introducción y Prólogo.
Índice con resúmenes de otros capítulos

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

REPROHEALTHLAW:  Nuestras publicaciones en español o portugués.
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“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)

A newer article:
Elizabeth Kukura, “Obstetric Violence” [in the United States] The Georgetown Law Journal 106 (2018): 721 (2018)  Online here.

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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