Abortion as a Human Right International and Regional Standards
Posted: 14 Jul 2008
This article focuses on the striking expansion of international and regional human rights standards and jurisprudence that support women's human right to abortion. It summarises pertinent developments within the United Nations, European, Inter-American and African human rights systems regarding abortion, as they relate to women's rights to life and health, in situations of rape, incest or foetal impairment, and for abortion based on social and economic reasons and on request. In doing so, the article touches on charged issues such as maternal mortality, prohibitions of therapeutic abortion as infringing on the right to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and state procedural obligations to ensure women's right to access legal abortion. Finally, the article addresses the growing recognition by international human rights bodies that criminalisation of abortion leads women to obtain unsafe abortions, threatening their lives and health, and recent national-level developments in the field.
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