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.
People have the same dream every night. Some have the same song in their heads. Others have memories that come back to them every time they go to certain places. My thing is the cause of women. When I read the paper. When I talk about society in the evening or during a debate. It’s not a job because I’m not paid for it. It is not a fad. Nor is it a hobby. This … Continued
In Madagascar, abortion is a crime, punishable by the Penal Code, which has been in place since the colonial period, stemming from the Napoleonic Code of 1810. In December 2017, there was an attempt in Parliament, to decriminalise therapeutic abortion. In vain. But as the presidential election approaches, the association which fights for the legalisation of abortion called Nifin’Akanga, named after an abortifacient plant widely used in Madagascar to induce abortion, has revived the debate. … Continued
A Sunday Gleaner article reported that between January and September of this year, of the 1,088 pregnant women who presented to the Victoria Jubilee Hospital with bleeding in early pregnancy, 91 admitted to having attempted to have an abortion and an additional 47 had complications that suggested that they had attempted abortions. Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton ordered a medical audit across the public health system to determine the extent of the problem of … Continued
“Give women 22 weeks to decide”, “Not just one legal abortion per woman…” were among the demands presented by advocates from the National Pact for the Decriminalisation of Abortion in Bolivia, a group of 50 organisations from all over the country to a hearing on 11 April, in front of the Constitution Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. The hearing was to discuss amendments that the Committee had tabled to Article 157 of the draft … Continued