Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Iranian Plan to Boost Population Threatens Reproductive Freedom

The Hill: Iran's War on Women, by Soona Samsami: 

March 8 marked International Women’s Day, a day to reflect on the situation of women throughout the world. With all the talk about Iran’s nuclear program, little attention is being paid to the internal situation, particularly Iran’s ongoing war on women. . . .

The bill itself undermines the reproductive rights of women, and limits access to contraception among other restrictions. The law would block employment at certain jobs for Iranian women who choose not to have children, making it clearly discriminatory and unfair. . . .

The Guardian: Iran aims to ban vasectomies and cut access to contraceptives to boost births, by Saeed Kamali Dehghan: 

Iran is seeking to reverse progressive laws on family planning by outlawing voluntary sterilisation and restricting access to contraceptives, in a move human rights groups say would set Iranian women back decades and reduce them to “baby-making machines”.

The Iranian parliament is considering two separate bills aimed at boosting the population. But Amnesty International warned in a report published on Wednesday that the proposals are misguided and, if approved, would “entrench discriminatory practices” and expose women to health risks. . . . 

March 17, 2015 in Contraception, International, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sinn Féin Drops Opposition to Abortion in Very Limited Cases

Sinn Féin drops opposition to abortion at Derry congress

The Guardian: Sinn Féin has dropped its historic opposition to abortion at its annual congress held in Derry, by Henry McDonald:

The party voted this weekend to support terminations in limited cases, such as pregnant women with fatal foetal abnormalities. This involves women whose babies will be born dead and who have to either go full term in Ireland or seek abortions across the Irish sea in Britain. . . .

March 8, 2015 in Abortion Bans, International, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Britain Becomes First Country to Allow So-Called "Three-Person Babies"

The Guardian: Britain's House of Lords approves conception of three person babies, by Hannah Devlin:

Britain has become the first country in the world to permit the use of “three-person IVF” to prevent incurable genetic diseases.

The House of Lords voted by 280 votes to 48 on Tuesday evening to approve changes to the law allowing fertility clinics to carry out mitochondrial donation. Babies conceived through this IVF technique would have biological material from three different people – a mother, father and a female donor. . . . 

Technically the baby would have three biological parents, with 99.8% of genetic material coming from the mother and father and 0.2% coming from the mitochondrial donor. . . .

PBS: Why the term 'three-person baby' makes doctors wince, by Rebecca Johnson: 

MELAS is one of about 200 known mitochondrial diseases, a subject that has featured prominently in the news since the British Parliament’s House of Commons on Feb. 3 approved further testing and research on mitochondrial replacement IVF. The procedure has beencommonly referred to in news stories as “three-person babies” or “three-parent babies.”

But it’s a term that makes doctors wince. . . .

March 4, 2015 in Bioethics, Fertility, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review of Mo Yan's "Frog" -- A Novel About China's One-Child Policy

The New York Times: Review: In Mo Yan’s ‘Frog,’ a Chinese Abortionist Embodies State Power, by Janet Maslin:

When the Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012 and was warmly lauded by the Communist government, he became one of the most reviled winners in the history of that great honor. Among the more benign accusations lobbed at him was that he was undeserving. . . .

Too easily lost in all this howling was Mr. Mo’s writing. His latest novel, “Frog,” gracefully and colloquially translated by Howard Goldblatt, is not the work of a hack or an ideologue. It is a rich and troubling epic — and a very human story — about China’s one-child policy, and Western readers who think they understand how this works have another think coming. . . .

February 26, 2015 in Abortion, Books, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ciara O'Connell on Reproductive Rights Cases in the Inter-American System of Human Rights

Ciara O'ConnellCiara O'Connell (University of Sussex) has posted Women's Reproductive Rights in the Inter-American System of Human Rights: Conclusions from the Field, June - September 2014 on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

The Inter-American System of Human Rights has proven to be a forum for the advancement of women’s reproductive rights in the Inter-American region. However, the Inter-American System faces significant challenges in promoting structural transformative change that enables women’s enjoyment of their reproductive health rights. This report examines three reproductive rights cases from the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: María Mamerita Mestanza Chávez v. Peru; Paulina Ramirez Jacinto v. Mexico; and Artavia Murillo et al. v. Costa Rica. In the summer of 2014, interviews were conducted with representatives in each of the case study countries, with the objective of the research being two-fold: (1) to understand how each of the cases developed, and the subsequent challenges and advancements; and (2) to learn from these cases in order to suggest recommendations for how actors can make better use of the Inter-American System as one of several avenues for protecting, promoting and fulfilling women’s reproductive rights. The report first discusses challenges in implementing women’s reproductive health rights, and then explores how the Inter-American System can strengthen its work on women’s reproductive health rights.

February 11, 2015 in International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

El Salvador Woman's 30-Year Sentence for Alleged Abortion Is Lifted

NPR: 30-Year Sentence Lifted For Woman In El Salvador Abortion Case, by Jason Beaubien:

Seven years ago, Carmen Guadalupe Vasquez Aldana went to jail in El Salvador. She was initially charged with abortion but prosecutors elevated the charge to aggravated homicide, arguing that the fetus was viable. Vasquez always contended that she did not have an abortion but had lost her unborn son due to medical complications late in the pregnancy.

On Wednesday, El Salvador's Legislative Assembly approved a recommendation by the country's high court that Vasquez be exonerated. That's a remarkable turn of events in a country with one of the strongest anti-abortion laws in the world. Even when the health of the mother is at risk, abortion is illegal. . . .

January 22, 2015 in Abortion Bans, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pope Affirms Catholic Anti-Contraception Policy While Criticizing "Breeding Like Rabbits"

NPR:  Pope Francis Says Catholics Don't Need To Breed 'Like Rabbits', by Jasmine Garsd:

On his return trip from Asia, Pope Francis made strong statements supporting the church's ban on artificial means of birth control. He also said Catholics should practice "responsible parenthood" and don't have to breed "like rabbits." . . .

Reuters: Pope says birth control ban doesn't mean breed 'like rabbits', by Philip Pullella:

Catholics should not feel they have to breed "like rabbits" because of the Church's ban on contraception, Pope Francis said on Monday, suggesting approved natural family planning methods. . . .

The leader of the 1.2-billion-strong Roman Catholic Church restated its ban on artificial birth control, adding there were "many ways that are allowed" to practise natural family planning. . . .

January 20, 2015 in Contraception, International, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 8, 2014

South Korean Health Ministry Recalls Sexist Ad Promoting Contraception

BBC: South Korea: Contraception poster prompts outcry:

South Korea's government is under fire for a poster promoting contraception use which has been criticised by both men and women, it's reported.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare poster was meant to encourage women to "take responsibility" for using birth control in order to prevent abortions, the Korea Times website reports. It shows a young couple, after what appears to be a successful shopping trip, with the man carrying his partner's pink handbag and clutching several bags. The poster reads: "Although you leave everything to men, don't leave the responsibility for contraception to them."

There was a swift backlash from social media users . . . .

December 8, 2014 in Contraception, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Family Behind Oriéntame, a Network of Reproductive Health Clincis in Latin America

Mother Jones: Meet the Family Behind Latin America's Version of Planned Parenthood, by Maddie Oatman:

People in the United States have been going to Planned Parenthood for nearly a century, ever since Margaret Sanger opened her first birth control clinic in Brooklyn in 1916. But it wasn't until 1977, after the US had already celebrated Roe v. Wade, that Colombian women had any equivalent organization to turn to. That was the year Dr. Jorge Villarreal started Oriéntame, a women's reproductive health clinic now credited with inspiring more than 600 outposts across Latin America "and for reshaping abortion politics across the continent," writes Joshua Lang in a story about the Villarreal family, out today in California Sunday. . . .

December 6, 2014 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Surgeon Is Arrested in Deaths of a Dozen Women in India Who Underwent Sterilization Operations

The New York Times: Post-Mortems of Victims Point to Tainted Medication in India Sterilization Deaths, by Suhasini Raj & Ellen Barry: 

Post-mortem examinations of several women who died after surgery at a government sterilization camp last weekend in central Indiasuggest that tainted medications might be to blame, rather than the unsanitary conditions or the assembly-line haste of the operations, a district medical officer said Thursday.

Initially, health officials suspected that 12 women succumbed to septic shock from infections contracted during their tubal ligation operations on Saturday, in the state of Chhattisgarh. The surgeon who operated on most of them, Dr. R. K. Gupta, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of culpable homicide. . . .

CNN: Surgeon tied to India sterilization deaths arrested, by Paul Armstrong, Sania Farooqui & Greg Botelho: 

A surgeon has been arrested on charges of negligence and attempted culpable homicide in the deaths of a dozen women who had undergone sterilization operations at a mobile clinic in one of India's poorest states. . . .

See also: The Washington Post: Deaths shine light on ‘horrible’ conditions in India’s mass sterilization camps, by Annie Gowan

November 13, 2014 in International, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

NYT Magazine Examines Rise of Medication Abortion Via the Internet

The New York Times Magazine: The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion, by Emily Bazelon:

In June 2001, under a cloud-streaked sky, Rebecca Gomperts set out from the Dutch port of Scheveningen in a rented 110-foot ship bound for Ireland. Lashed to the deck was a shipping container, freshly painted light blue and stocked with packets of mifepristone (which used to be called RU-486) and misoprostol. The pills are given to women in the first trimester to induce a miscarriage. Medical abortion, as this procedure is called, had recently become available in the Netherlands. But use of misoprostol and mifepristone to end a pregnancy was illegal in Ireland, where abortion by any means remains against the law, with few exceptions. . . .

August 30, 2014 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Alba Ruibal on Mexico's Abortion Law

Alba Ruibal (CONICET Argentina; European University Institute - Department of Law) has posted Reform and Backlash in Mexico's Abortion Law: Political and Legal Opportunities for Mobilization and Countermobilization on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The restrictive legal framework of abortion in Latin America has started to change during the past decade, as legislative reforms and high court decisions have liberalized, to different extents, the abortion laws in Colombia, Mexico City, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Feminist mobilization has been the crucial factor of change in this area of rights, and conservative religious actors have been the main opponents of reform. Political and legal factors contribute to understand the timing and outcomes of legal changes, as well as the capacity of movement and counter-movement to influence reform processes. Based on field work carried out in Mexico, this paper analyzes the main components of the legal and political opportunities that have been relevant in abortion legal reform in that country, which offer important points of reference for other Latin American cases. Drawing on social movement theory and legal studies literature, this paper highlights the importance of relatively stable components of political opportunities such as the type of institutional organization of federalism, which determines the location of abortion policy - and the possibilities of social movements to influence it, as well as of institutional arrangements and cultural understandings regarding the relationship between State and Church. Regarding more contingent political factors, the analysis of this case confirms that divisions among elites, and in particular post-electoral conflict, may create conditions for rights advocacy actors, whereas politicians’ search for legitimacy and short-term electoral incentives may favor counter-reformers, especially at the local level - where there may be greater Church’s influence and less accountability mechanisms. With regards to the legal opportunity, the paper highlights the role of the rules of access to courts and legal standing in constitutional review proceedings, as determinants of the types of actors and claims that reach the courts. The analysis of the Mexican case shows how constitutional courts, in their quest for institutional legitimacy, may expand the legal opportunity for the participation of social actors at judicial proceedings, when facing decisions that involve highly controversial issues and social conflicts. Finally, the paper shows how rules of opinion formation at courts may affect final judicial outcomes and the influence of social actors in them.

August 26, 2014 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Iran's Parliament Votes to Ban Permanent Forms of Contraception

The Guardian: Iran bans permanent contraception to boost population growth

Parliament prohibits vasectomies and other lasting birth control measures after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls for more babies

Iran's parliament has voted to ban permanent forms of contraception, the state news agency IRNA reported, endorsing the supreme leaderAyatollah Ali Khamenei's call for more babies to be born.

The bill, banning vasectomies and similar procedures in women, is parliament's response to a decree Khamenei issued in May to increase the population to "strengthen national identity" and counter "undesirable aspects of western lifestyles".

Doctors who violate the ban will be punished, the IRNA reported. . . .

August 11, 2014 in Contraception, International, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

UN Human Rights Report Criticizes Countries With Draconian Abortion Laws

ThinkProgress:  UN Warns Countries With Draconian Abortion Bans That They’re Violating Human Rights, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

United Nations officials are urging several countries with particularly harsh abortion bans to increase legalization of the medical procedure, pointing out their current laws could be in breach of international human rights treaties.

In its periodic reviews of member countries’ policies to ensure they’re compliant with the Geneva Conventions, the UN Human Rights Committee is recommending that Ireland and Chile update their abortion laws to ensure access for more women. Those two countries have some of the most restrictive abortion policies in the world; Chile imposes a total ban on the procedure, while Ireland has a nearly total ban with an extremely narrow exception. . . .

July 30, 2014 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Researchers Predict Legalizing Prostitution Would Lower the Spread of HIV Infections

Jezebel: Legalizing Prostitution Could Lower the Spread of HIV by One-Third, by Hillary Crosley:

Here's a crazy thought; legalizing prostitution could reduce the number of international HIV infections for female sex workers by at least a third in several countries. Health experts presented this new research drawn from Canada, India and Kenya during the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday. . . .

July 30, 2014 in International, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Canadian Liberal Leader Says All Liberal MPs Must Vote Pro-Choice

Canada flagThe Globe and Mail: Trudeau now says all Liberal MPs must vote pro-choice, by Daniel LeBlanc:

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has clarified his party’s pro-choice policy after at least one sitting MP felt he was “grand-fathered” and could continue to vote against abortion rights in Canada. . . .

June 18, 2014 in Abortion, International, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

U.S. Anti-Choice Movement Provides Inspiration and Support to Activists in Europe

Many Europeans shake their heads in bemusement over anti-choice activists' fervent opposition to abortion by in this country.  But they may not be shaking their heads for much longer . . . .

Politico: U.S. anti-abortion groups inspire movement in Europe, by Sarah Wheaton:

U.S. abortion opponents are giving new life to the movement abroad, where once-stagnant European allies are pushing changes that could affect the whole continent.

A younger generation of anti-abortion activists has turned to the United States for legal advice, strategic training and transatlantic inspiration. They credit a distinctly American approach with forcing abortion, long a deeply private issue in Europe, into the public conversation. And for the Americans who travel overseas to assist, strengthening their cause internationally also strengthens their position at home. . . .

May 3, 2014 in Anti-Choice Movement, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Senegal Is Denying an Abortion to a 10-Year-Old Rape Victim

ThinkProgress:  A 10-Year-Old Rape Victim Who’s Pregnant With Twins Is Being Denied An Abortion In Senegal, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

A 10-year old Senegalese girl who became pregnant with twins after being raped by a neighbor is being forced to continue with her pregnancy, thanks to her country’s stringent restrictions on abortion. Human rights advocates have been trying to pressure the government to allow the girl to seek abortion care, but they’ve been unsuccessful so far. . . . 

Fatou Kiné Camara, the president of the Senegalese women lawyers’ association, . . . explained that under Senegal’s current abortion law, which is one of the harshest among African nations, requires three doctors to certify that a woman will die immediately unless she ends her pregnancy. But poor women in the country are hardly ever able to visit a doctor, let alone three in quick succession. . . .

Th Guardian:  Senegalese law bans raped 10-year-old from aborting twins, by Alex Duval Smith:

. . . "Senegal's abortion law is one of the harshest and deadliest in Africa. A doctor or pharmacist found guilty of having a role in a termination faces being struck off. A woman found guilty of abortion can be jailed for up to 10 years."

Forty women were held in custody in Senegal on charges linked to the crimes of abortion or infanticide in the first six months of last year, official figures show. According to estimates, hundreds of women die every year from botched illegal terminations. . . .

"We had a previous case of a raped nine-year-old who had to go through with her pregnancy. We paid for her caesarean but she died a few months after the baby was born, presumably because the physical trauma of childbirth was too great." . . .

April 6, 2014 in Abortion Bans, International, Poverty, Sexual Assault, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mexican Healthcare System Fails Pregnant Indigenous Women

Feministing: No Reproductive Justice for Pregnant Indigenous Women in Mexico, by Juliana:

In October of last year, Irma Lopez Aurelio arrived at a state health clinic in Oaxaca, Mexico, in labor with her third child. The doctors at the clinic told her to come back, that her labor was not advanced enough and no doctor was available to help her. Irma, who is Indigenous, spoke little Spanish and was unable to communicate how advanced her labor was to the monolingual doctors. After hours of waiting, Irma gave birth on the lawn outside of the clinic.

In the past nine months, seven Indigenous women in Mexico have been documented having their babies in the yard, waiting rooms, or front steps of state clinics. . . .

March 24, 2014 in International, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thousands of Spaniards Protest Proposed Abortion Ban

The Independent: Spaniards take to the streets in protest over new abortion laws, by Alasdair Fotheringham:

Thousands of protesters marched through central Madrid and other major cities in Spain yesterday in the latest wave of demonstrations against controversial proposed reforms of the country's abortion laws.

Yesterday's International Women's Day gave fresh impetus to the protests against changes to abortion laws. Some 80 per cent of Spaniards are opposed to any changes to abortion laws, according to polls. . . .

March 9, 2014 in Abortion Bans, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)