Women's Reproductive Rights and Reparations: Lessons from the Inter-American System of Human Rights

Inter-American Human Rights Network, Moving Beyond the Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What to Learn From International Human Rights Systems?" Ghent, Belgium (29-30 January 2016)

31 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2016 Last revised: 23 Jan 2018

See all articles by Ciara O'Connell

Ciara O'Connell

University of Pretoria, Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights, Students

Date Written: January 30, 2016

Abstract

Women’s reproductive rights in the Inter-American region face relentless attack as conservative movements coupled with longstanding sociocultural norms, challenge women’s rights to autonomy, equality and non-discrimination. Cases emerging from human rights treaty monitoring bodies, of which one is the Inter-American System of Human Rights, have progressively noted the relationship that exists between gender, discrimination, violence against women, and women’s limited, or even nonexistent, enjoyment of their reproductive health rights. While the Inter-American System has recently begun to emphasize a gender approach in its work, there remains a significant gap between rhetoric and reparation, where gender-based analysis of reproductive rights violations does not necessarily lead to engendered reparations.

This paper incorporates empirical research and Ruth Rubio-Marín and Clara Sandoval’s work on engendering reparations, in order to explore the gap between rhetoric and reparation in the 2012 Inter-American Court case, Artavia Murillo et al. (“In vitro fertilization”) v. Costa Rica. While this case was groundbreaking for several reasons, of particular importance for this research is the Court’s analysis of the role of gender as it applies to reproductive rights for men and women. This case has been championed as a victory for women’s rights in the Inter-American region and beyond, and has also been the source of much contention. Although this case has much value as a major contributor to the growing body of reproductive rights litigation, there are significant shortcomings in terms of its applicability as a women’s rights case, particularly in its failure to engender reparations issued in the Artavia Murillo et al. judgment. This paper highlights the recent advancements in reproductive rights litigation before the Inter-American System, while also providing recommendation for how to better engender reparations in upcoming women’s (reproductive) rights cases.

Keywords: women's rights, human rights, Inter-American System, reparations, gender stereotypes

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

O'Connell, Ciara, Women's Reproductive Rights and Reparations: Lessons from the Inter-American System of Human Rights (January 30, 2016). Inter-American Human Rights Network, Moving Beyond the Good, the Bad and the Ugly: What to Learn From International Human Rights Systems?" Ghent, Belgium (29-30 January 2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2854922 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2854922

Ciara O'Connell (Contact Author)

University of Pretoria, Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights, Students ( email )

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