Based in a 1938 law, abortion is not punishable in Ecuador if “it has been carried out to avoid a danger to the life or health of the pregnant woman and if this danger cannot be avoided by other means.” The law reform proposed to the Assembly would also have allowed abortion “if the pregnancy is a consequence of rape or incest, insemination without consent, or if the embryo or fetus suffers from an acquired … Continued
Abortion rights activists in El Salvador threw eggs filled with confetti and sprayed red paint outside the Attorney General’s office to protest his decision to call for a third trial for Evelyn, who was recently completely acquitted after she had spent three years in prison for homicide, though she had had a stillbirth. A small group of masked women disguised as clowns ran up to the main entrance of the office and defaced it with … Continued
On 3-6 August 2018, Brazil’s Supreme Court held a public hearing on ADPF 442, the petition to decriminalise abortion in the first trimester. The Anis Bioethical Institute has now published an outlines of the many arguments presented at the hearing in clear, accessible language, grounded in public health, bioethics, international law, social sciences, and the role of religions in a secular state. The evidence is indispensable to any serious debate about health policy on abortion.
This article explains how the strategic use of public health evidence, showing that criminalisation of abortion does not result in lower abortion rates, is changing the way judges are confronting constitutional challenges to abortion regulations. The state may have a legitimate interest – and in some legal systems, a duty – to protect prenatal life. Nevertheless, courts are upholding regulations liberalising abortion and declaring criminalisation regimes unconstitutional. This is possible given that lower abortion rates are not achieved through criminalisation, but through preventive policies. In addition, courts uphold liberalisation when the infringement of women’s rights resulting from criminalisation outweighs its purported benefits. This new legal narrative has been developed during the last decades by a series of court decisions in Europe and Latin America, and may prove useful for legal advocacy in some countries in Africa. The narrative combines the use of an analytical framework called the proportionality principle with an interpretation of constitutional rights that draws from gender-sensitive international human rights standards and factual evidence about the effects of criminalisation on women’s lives and health.
The Human Reproduction and Tropical Diseases Programmes based at the World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization and CEMICAMP (Centre for Research in Reproductive Health) in Brazil are pleased to announce a Call for Applications for small research grants with the purpose of strengthening local research capacity and evidence generation on the mass migration crisis in the Americas. The research goal is to study the current mass migration events in the … Continued