Abortion Access in the Global Marketplace

30 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2012

See all articles by Martha F. Davis

Martha F. Davis

Northeastern University - School of Law

Date Written: 2010


In the United States, government funding of legal abortion for low-income women has been uniquely “de-linked” from the fundamental right to an abortion. While the underlying right to an abortion has been repeatedly reaffirmed, federal courts have been unreceptive to any imposition of an affirmative governmental obligation to fund the exercise of the right. In contrast, the human rights framework, increasingly adopted worldwide by other national and regional courts and legislatures, has supported expansion of government funding of legal abortion. The domestic U.S. treatment of abortion funding is illuminated by examining several recent transnational decisions—from Colombia, Mexico, and the European Court of Human Rights, among others — in which legal abortion, framed as a matter of human rights and human dignity, led to expansion of public funding. In particular, these examples indicate that in a context where a national public health plan was already in place, and where the provision of health care was already viewed as a government responsibility, the extension of health care coverage to include newly legal abortion procedures generated little controversy.

Suggested Citation

Davis, Martha F., Abortion Access in the Global Marketplace (2010). North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 88, No. 5, pp. 1657-1686, June 2010, Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2094381

Martha F. Davis (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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