REPROHEALTHLAW Updates — Oct 2017

October 31, 2017

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DEVELOPMENTS

[Brazil, religious education] STF Conclui Julgamento Sobre Ensino Religioso nas Escolas Públicas ADI No. 4439, September 27, 2017.    The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court dismissed, by a 6 to 5 majority, a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality in which the Public Prosecutor’s Office questioned the model of religious education in the country’s public school system.  In Portuguese: Initial questionConclusion of Decision
English: Comment on I-CONnect Blog.

[Europe: Italy, conscientious objectors] Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL) v. Italy (2016), Complaint No. 91/2013 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France)  Decision in English. 
-which builds upon this 2014 decision:  International Planned Parenthood European Network v. Italy (2014), Complaint No. 87/2012, 10 March 2014 (European Committee on Social Rights, Strasbourg, France) Decision in EnglishBoth decisions summarized by Tania Pagotto.

[Kenya] – Court of Appeal acquitted Jackson Tali, a registered nurse sentenced to death on murder charges re pregnancy complications.   October 19, 2017.   Press release by the Center for Reproductive Rights  Overturns:  Republic v Jackson Namunya Tali [2014] eKLR, High Court Criminal Case No. 75 of 2009 (High Court of Kenya at Nairobi).  Overturned decision.  Overturned decision summarized in Legal Grounds III by Godfrey Kangaude and Annagrace Rwehumbiza.

[Spain, conscientious objectors] Zurich Insurance PLC, Sucursal en España v. Doña Encarnacion y don César y Servicio Galego de Saude, Sentencia 00392/2017, Apelación 43/17 (High Court of Galicia at Coruña, Spain)   Decision in SpanishEnglish summary by lawyer F. F. Guillen.

[West Africa: Nigerian police abuse women] Suit no ECW/CCJ/APP/17/14. October 13, 2017, Community Court of Justice, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) awarded 18 million naira as compensation to an actress Dorothy Chioma Njemanze and two other women for the violation of their human rights to dignity following the physical, sexual and psychological violence inflicted on them by agents of the Nigerian State.  Press release from ECOWAS Court.    Newspaper report.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY:
Africa – Doctoral Scholarships:   LL.D/D.Phil in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa:
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for full-time doctoral scholarships in the field of sexual and/or reproductive rights and their intersection with culture or criminalisation in the African region.  Apply by 15 Nov 2017 Scholarship 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 PressTable of Contents with chapter summaries. 
Abortion Decisions Online, based on the book’s Table of Cases

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

[abortion] “How Laws Fail the Promise of Medical Abortion: A Global Look,” by Patty Skuster, Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law  18.379, 2017. Abstract and Article.

[abortion] “The Politics of Global Abortion Rights,”  by Joanna N. Erdman,  Brown Journal of World Affairs 22.2 (2016): 39-57.   Article online

[abortion, Central and Eastern Europe]  “Mandatory Waiting Periods and Biased Abortion Counseling in Central and Eastern Europe,” by Leah Hoctor and Adriana Lamačková, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 139 (Nov. 2017): 253–258.    PDF at Wiley Online Library.    Submitted text online at SSRN.

“Abortion Travel and the Limits of Choice,” by Lisa Kelly, 12 FIU L. Rev. 27 (2016).
Article online.

[Africa] “Conscientious Objection to Abortion and Accommodating Women’s Reproductive Health Rights: Reflections on a Decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia from an African Regional Human Rights Perspective,” by Charles G. Ngwena, Journal of African Law, 58 (2014): 183-209  Article now online.

[Africa]  Legal Grounds III, Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts (2017)   Entire book, 228-pages, online here.
Print copies available for courses, conferences or organizations.

Legal Grounds III Online now includes searchable links to entire book, individual case summaries and decisions, plus more recent cases.

[Zika, Brasil and Human Rights Obligations]: now in Spanish, Portuguese and English:
—“Infección por el virus de Zika en Brasil y obligaciones relacionadas con los derechos humanos,” por Debora Diniz, Sinara Gumieri, Beatriz Galli Bevilacqua, Rebecca J. Cook, y Bernard M. Dickens, Boletin FLASOG 5.2( June 2017): 6-12.
En espanol Boletin FLASOG, pp 6-12
Em português do Brasil, forthcoming in Revista Uni Brasilia Direito.
—“Zika Infection in Brazil and Human Rights Obligations,” by Debora Diniz, Sinara Gumieri, Beatriz Galli Bevilacqua, Rebecca J. Cook and Bernard M. Dickens, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 136.1 (Jan. 2017) 105-110.
PDF online.   Submitted text in English at SSRN.

NEWS

International news and resources for advocacy:  International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.

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

JOBS
Links to 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.


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – April 2017

April 25, 2017

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DEVELOPMENT

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

CALLS FOR PAPERS:

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

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

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

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

COURSES:

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

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

RESOURCES

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOBS

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

______________
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.


Zika virus infection in Brazil and human rights obligations

January 13, 2017

Many thanks to the authors of this useful new article in the Ethical and Legal Issues section of the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.  Debora Diniz and Sinara Gumieri are affiliated with the Anis Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender, Beatriz Galli is Senior Policy Advisor at Ipas Brazil, and Rebecca Cook and Bernard Dickens are professors emeriti at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.

The February 2016, the WHO declaration that congenital Zika virus syndrome constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern reacted to the outbreak of the syndrome in Brazil. Public health emergencies can justify a spectrum of human rights responses, but in Brazil, the emergency exposed prevailing inequities in the national healthcare system. The government’s urging to contain the syndrome, which is associated with microcephaly among newborns, is confounded by lack of reproductive health services. Women with low incomes in particular have little access to such health services. The emergency also illuminates the harm of restrictive abortion legislation, and the potential violation of human rights regarding women’s health and under the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child and on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Suggestions have been proposed by which the government can remedy the widespread healthcare inequities among the national population that are instructive for other countries where congenital Zika virus syndrome is prevalent.

Free access to PDF for 12 months.
Typescript online.

Related Resources:
“The Zika Virus and Brazilian Women’s Right to Choose,” op/ed by Debora Diniz, February 8, 2016.  New York Times.
“Zika: More than a health issue (Dec 1, 2016)  53-minute  TV interview with English subtitles.
“Zika” documentary  30 minutes, April 2016, with English subtitles;
“Zika emergency pushes women to challenge Brazilian abortion law”  Guardian news report.
Zika: Do Sertão nordestino à ameaça global  by  Debora Diniz  (Rio de Janeiro:  Civilização Brasileira, 2016).  Portuguese: Livro o Livro electronicaSinopseA história contada.
Zika: from the Brazilian backlands to Global Threat (London: Zed Books, 2017), analyses scientific discoveries regarding Zika in Brazil,  and the impact of the epidemic on poor black and brown women’s lives.  Publisher’s abstract.

__________________________
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 – January 2017

January 13, 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

Ireland has offered Amanda Jane Mellet 30,000 euros as compensation for denying her access to abortion, forcing her to travel to Britain.  .News article.

Malta:  The morning-after pill will be made available over-the-counter in Malta and will not require a doctor’s prescription. News article.

Northern Ireland teenager is taking National Health Service to supreme court over its refusal to fund abortions for woman from Northern Ireland.  News article.

Tanzania [child marriage] Rebeca Gyumi v. Attorney General Miscellaneous Civil Cause No 5 of 2016 July 8, 2016  (High Court of Tanzania, unreported) decided [Third party consent to girls’ marriage under 18 is unconstitutional – equality argument] Decision onlineAbstract by Godfrey Kangaude.

United Nations General Assembly Adopts Resolution to end Child, Early, and  Forced Marriage Worldwide   (Dec. 19, 2016) CRR Press release.

RESOURCES

[Brazil] “Zika Infection in Brazil and Human Rights Obligations,” by  Debora Diniz, Sinara Gumieri, Beatriz Galli Bevilacqua, Rebecca J. Cook and Bernard M. Dickens, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 136.1 (Jan. 2017) 105-110.
PDF online for 12 months.    Submitted typescript.

[Conscience, conscientious objection]  Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26.1 Special Section:  Table of Contents access
— Conscientious Objection in Healthcare: Problems and Perspectives, by Alberto Giubilini, Julian Savulescu
— Conscientious Objection in Healthcare and Moral Integrity, by Mark Wicclair
— Tolerance, Professional Judgment, and the Discretionary Space of the Physician, by Daniel P. Sulmasy
— Conscientious Objection and “Effective Referral”  by Roger Trigg
— My Conscience May Be My Guide, but You May Not Need to Honor It, by Hugh LaFollette
— The Legal Ethical Backbone of Conscientious Refusal, by Christian Munth, Morten Ebbe Juul Nielsen
— The Cost of Conscience: Kant on Conscience and Conscientious Objection, by Jeanette Kennett
— The Inevitability of Assessing Reasons in Debates about Conscientious Objection in Medicine, by Robert F. Card
— Two Concepts of Conscience and their Implications for Conscience-Based Refusal in Healthcare by Steve Clarke
— Conscientious Objection, Complicity in Wrongdoing, and a Not-So-Moderate Approach by Francesca Minerva
— How to Allow Conscientious Objection in Medicine While Protecting Patient Rights, by Aaron Ancell and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
— Conscientious Non-objection in Intensive Care, by Dominic Wilkinson  open access

[Latin America]    Sexo, Delitos y Pecados: Intersecciones entre religión, género, sexualidad y el derecho en América Latina [Sex, crimes and sins: Intersections among religion, gender, sexuality and law in Latin America], ed. Macarena Saez and Jose Manuel Moran Faundes. More info and free book download.

JOBS

University of Toronto – Visiting Professor at the Centre for Ethics 2017-2018.   Apply by Feb. 1, 2017.  Visiting Faculty Fellowships.

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.


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates – December 2016

December 20, 2016

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

African LGBT advocacy rulings, 2014-2016   Overview by Godfrey Kangaude
—-[Botswana] Attorney General of Botswana v. Thuto Rammoge & 19 Others  [2016] CACGB-128-14 (Botswana, Court of Appeal at Gaborone).  [Appeal against LGBT organization registration dismissed]   Decision onlineCase summary for Legal Grounds III.
—-[Kenya] Eric Gitari v. Non-Governmental Organizations Co-Ordination Board & 4 Others, [2015] eKLR, Petition No. 440 of 2013  (Kenya, High Court at Nairobi).  [LGBT organizations can be registered.]  Decision online.   Case summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III.
—-[Kenya] Republic v. Non-Governmental Organizations Co-ordination Board & another ex-parte Transgender Education and Advocacy & 3 Others [2014] eKLR, JR Miscellaneous Application No. 308a of 2013 (Kenya, High Court). [Transgender organization can be registered].   Decision onlineCase summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III.
—-[Zambia] People v. Paul Kasonkomona [2015] HPA/53/2014  (Zambia, High Court).[Freedom of expression: HIV/LGBT activist acquitted for remarks made on television.]   Decisions and documents onlineCase summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III.

[Belize – homosexuality]:  Caleb Orozco v Attorney General of Belize et al., Claim No. 668 of 2010 (Supreme Court of Belize)  August 10, 2016. [First-ever successful court challenge to a Caribbean anti-sodomy law.]   38-page Judgment online.   News reportGovernment won’t appeal ruling.   Press release by Caleb Orozco of UNIBAM.

[Brazil – abortion]  Habeas Corpus n. 124.306judged by 1st Panel of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court on November 29, 2016.  Summary in English by Marta Machado.   Sexuality Policy Watch comment.  English news report.  Summary in Portuguese.     Leading vote by Judge Luis Roberto Barroso in PortugueseComment in Portuguese by Debora Diniz

[Brazil – zika]  Direct Action of Unconstitutionality  n. 5581 (Supreme Court of Brazil).  Zika abortion decision  delayed until early 2017.  Summary of the claim in Portuguese.

[Chile – obstetric violence against prisoner]  Lorenza Cayuhán Llebul s/amparo, Rol 92.795-2010 (Supreme Court of Chile). December 1, 2016.    Decision online in Spanish.     English summary by Carlos Herrera.

[Kenya – homosexuality] C.O.L. & G.M.N. v. Resident Magistrate Kwale Court & Others, Petition No. 51 of 2015 (Kenya, High Court –Constitutional and Judicial Review Division).  [Court allowed medical examinations including anal examinations to prove crime of homosexuality].  Decision online.     Case summary and analysis for Legal Grounds III.

[South Africa: surrogacy]  AB and Another v Minister of Social Development (CCT155/15) [2016] ZACC 43 (29 November 2016)  Constitutional Court of South Africa.  [At least one parent must donate sperm or eggs for a surrogacy agreement to be legal in South Africa]  Decision online.    News Report

SCHOLARSHIP

[abortion, health rights] “Adjudicating Health-Related Rights: Proposed Considerations for the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Other Supra-National Tribunals,” by Alicia Ely Yamin and Angela Duger, Chicago Journal of International Law 17.1 (Summer 2016): 80-120.  Abstract and Article.

[Brazil] – [Zika: from Brazilian backlands to global threat] Zika: Do Sertão nordestino à ameaça global  by  Debora Diniz  (Rio de Janeiro:  Civilização Brasileira, 2016).  Forthcoming in English from Zed Books in September 2017, this book analyses scientific discoveries regarding Zika in Brazil as well as the impact of the epidemic on poor black and brown women’s lives.  Portuguese: Book or e-bookSinopseA história contada.
—Related resources in English:”The Zika Virus and Brazilian Women’s Right to Choose,” op/ed by Debora Diniz, February 8, 2016.  New York Times editorial.  “Zika”  30 minute April 2016 documentary with English subtitles;  “Zika: More than a health issue (Dec 1, 2016)   53-minute  TV interview with English subtitles.  “Zika emergency pushes women to challenge Brazilian abortion law”  Guardian news report.

[Brazil – abortion law] “Social Movements and Constitutional Politics in Latin America: Reconfiguring Alliances, Framings and Legal Opportunities in the Judicialization of Abortion Rights in Brazil” by Alba Ruibal. Contemporary Social Science 10:4 (October 18, 2016): 375-385. Abstract and article.   Other articles on strategic litigation in Latin America.

[Canada – mifepristone]  “Requiring physicians to dispense mifepristone:  an unnecessary limit on safety and access to medical abortion,” by Wendy V. Norman and Judith A. Soon, forthcoming in Canadian Medical Association Journal, Early release October 18, 2016 to institutional subscribers.   Summarized in “Abortion pill dispensing by doctors and not pharmacists could hinder access … [and] entrench inequity” CBC News report.

[obstetric violence] 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 (in press)  Abstract and Full Text.

[reproductive rights] ” ‘Woman’ in the European Human Rights System:  How is the reproductive rights jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights constructing narratives of women’s citizenship?” by  Liiri Oja and Alicia Ely Yamin in Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 32.1 (2016): 62-95.   Abstract and Article.

[Uruguay] “Reform of abortion law in Uruguay: context, process and lessons learned,” by Susan Wood, Lilián Abracinskas, Sonia Corrêa, and Mario Pecheny, Reproductive Health Matters, online since December 8, 2016. Abstract and Article.

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

NEWS

[Mexico] Excerpts from the Symbolic Tribunal on Maternal Mortality and Obstetric Violence, (published by GIRE, Oct 28, 2016).   5-minute film.

[Spain – conscientious objection]  Galician health system ordered to compensate woman – Forced travel to Madrid for late-term abortion of doomed fetus cost woman her uterus, nearly her life.  News report in EnglishNoticias en español.

[Uruguay Model] “From Uruguay, a model for making abortion safer” [misoprostol – harm reduction instruction method spreading to restrictive jurisdictions, e.g. Uganda and Tanzania.   New York Times editorial.   Relevant 2011 article: Access to Information on Safe abortion, by Joanna Erdman.

JOBS

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.


Brazil: Supreme Court panel majority: Criminalization of abortion is incompatible with the Constitution

December 20, 2016

Many thanks to Marta Machado, a professor in the FGV Law School, São Paulo, Brazil, and researcher at the Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP), for summarizing this Brazilian judgment for subscribers of REPROHEALTHLAW:

Habeas Corpus n. 124.306 – Judged by 1st Panel of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court on November 29, 2016.

The decision of the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court on November 29, 2016 was unexpected.  Advocates were then focused on the Court’s pending decision in the Zika Virus Case,* originally scheduled for announcement in early December but ultimately delayed until 2017. The November 29th decision held that the criminalization of abortion until the first trimester is incompatible with the Brazilian Constitution.

The November 29 case challenged the pre-trial detention of 5 doctors and nurses accused of having performed consented abortions. While two justices discussed only the absence of conditions for the detention, three others, Justices Luis Roberto Barroso, Rosa Weber and Edson Fachin, forming the majority of three in a five-judge panel, grounded their votes in the questioning of the criminalization of abortion itself.

According to the three-judge majority, criminalization of abortion offends the following fundamental rights of women: (i) autonomy, as women have the right to make their own existential and moral choices without State interference; (ii) physical and psychological health, as women suffer in their own bodies and minds the effects of the pregnancy. In the decision’s wording: “having a child only by determination of criminal law constitutes a serious violation of a woman’s physical and psychological integrity”; (iii) sexual and reproductive rights, as women cannot be obliged by the State to keep an undesired pregnancy; and (iv) gender equality – since men do not get pregnant, the only way to have gender equality is to respect women’s will in this matter.

The three-judge majority held that the criminalization also violates the proportionality principle, in following ways. First, it is not effective in protecting the life of the fetus. The criminalization has no impact on the number of abortions performed; it just prevents them from being done in a safe way. Second, the State can prevent abortion in a number of more effective and rights-compliant ways, such as reproductive health education, distribution of contraceptives and social assistance to women. Finally, criminalization generates social costs (including deaths, in addition to a number of other health problems) that override its alleged benefits. The decision stressed the particular impact of criminalization on poor women’s lives because they can generally only access clandestine clinics and unsafe procedures with high risks of mortality and morbidity.

Although this decision is limited to this particular case, and only reflects the understanding of one panel of judges and not the plenary of the Court, it has persuasive authority that has the potential to influence future cases. It is also the first time that three Brazilian Supreme Federal Court justices stated their positions in favor of decriminalization of abortion.

Official summary of the Nov 29, 2016 decision:  Noticias STF em português

Judge Luis Roberto Barroso’s leading vote online:  voto em português

Comment by Sexuality Policy Watch: online in English.    News report in English.

Summary of the claim in the Zika Virus Case – Direct Action of Unconstitutionality  n. 5581 – Sumario em português.

**Proportionality –  See, e.g.,  Veronica Undurraga, “Proportionality in the Constitutional Review of Abortion Law” chapter 4 in Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014).  Capítulo em português.   Book in English.    Libro en Español.

 


REPROHEALTHLAW Updates, June 2016

June 14, 2016

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

“Ireland’s abortion laws subjected a woman to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, according to a  landmark decision from the United Nations Human Rights Committee.”
Center for Reproductive Rights, CRR press release.   UN Press Release, June 9, 2016Newsmedia reportsDecision CCPR/C/116/D/2324/2013 online.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY IN AFRICA – SCHOLARSHIPS

Master’s degree (LLM/MPhil) in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa,  University of Pretoria, South Africa, Two-year program starts in Jan. 2017.   Blended learning course with online interaction and residential block-weeks in Pretoria, South Africa. Two contact sessions will be scheduled every year (four contact sessions over the two year period).   Apply by 31 Oct 2016. Up to 15 full scholarships available for African citizens.  African LLM/MPhil details.

RESOURCES

[abortion, U.K. and U.S.] “With advances in embryo research, it’s time to bring abortion law out of the Victorian age,” by Sally Sheldon. Kent Law School, Kent University, Canterbury, BioNews 853 (May 31, 2016)  Article online.

[conscientious objection – institutions] Contracting Religion, by Elizabeth Sepper,  in:  Law, Religion, and Health in the United States, ed. Holly Fernandez Lynch, I. Glenn Cohen, & Elizabeth Sepper (Forthcoming: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2017). (Draft chapter online).

[fetal abnormality, microcephaly, Brazil]  Special issue of Cadernos de Saúde Pública 32.5 (2016) Rio de Janeiro includes a special thematic section:
“Zika and Pregnancy”  Table of Contents with links to translations.
— “Zika virus and women,” by Debora Diniz (English and Portuguese)
— “The debate on abortion and Zika: lessons from the AIDS epidemic,” by Thais Medina Coeli Rochel de Camargo, (English and Portuguese)
— “Women’s reproductive rights and the Zika virus epidemic,” by Jacqueline Pitanguy (English and Portuguese)
— “Comment on the paper by Pitanguy,” by Florencia Luna (English and Spanish)
— “Ensuring a rights-based health sector response to women affected by Zika” by Paige Baum, Anna Fiastro, Shane Kunselman, Camila Vega, Christine Ricardo, Beatriz Galli, and Marcos Nascimeno (English and Portuguese).
— “Comment on the article by Baum et al.,” by Ana Cristina González-Velez
(English and Spanish)
— “Zika and reproductive justice,” by Alexandra Minna Stern (English)

[fetal abnormality, microcephaly] “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the Time of Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean,” by Ana Langer, Jacquelyn M. Caglia andClara Menéndez, Studies in Family Planning 47.2 (June 2016): 179-181.  Online version.

Law and Policy updates are issued monthly by International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion.  To receive the electronic newsletter, click “Join the Campaign

[maternal deaths, Uganda]: “Why the Constitutional Court should rule on the right to health,” by Michael Addaney in AfricLaw blog,  June 3, 2016  AfricLaw blogpost,

[stereotyping] “Emerging from the Shadows: Substantive Equality and Article 14 of
the European Convention on Human Rights,” by Sandra Fredman, Human Rights Law Review 16 (2016): 273–301   Advance access.

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NEWS

[El Salvador]  Sentenced to 40 Years After a Miscarriage, Maria Teresa Rivera was freed May 20,2016 News report in English.   News report in Spanish

JOBS

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

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Compiled by the Coordinator of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, reprohealth*law at utoronto.ca For Program publications and resources, see our website, online here. TO JOIN THIS BLOG: enter your email address in upper right corner of this webpage, then check your email to confirm the subscription.