The Human Rights Impact Of Gender Stereotyping In The Context Of Reproductive Health Care

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 144 (2019): 116–121

Posted: 28 Mar 2019 Last revised: 21 Aug 2019

See all articles by Ciara O'Connell

Ciara O'Connell

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

Christina Zampas

University of Toronto - International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program

Date Written: 2018

Abstract

Gender stereotypes surrounding women's reproductive health impede women's access to essential reproductive healthcare and contribute to inequality more generally. Stereotyping in healthcare settings impedes women's access to contraceptive information, services, and induced abortion, and lead to involuntary interventions in the context of sterilization. Decisions by human rights monitoring bodies, such as the Inter‐American Court of Human Rights' case, IV v. Bolivia, which was a case concerned with the involuntary sterilization of a woman during childbirth, highlight how stereotypes in the context of providing health care can operate to strip women of their agency and decision‐making authority, deny them their right to informed consent, reinforce gender hierarchies and violate their reproductive rights. In the present article, IV v. Bolivia is examined as a case study with the objective being to highlight how, in the context of coercive sterilization, human rights law has been used to advance legal and ethical guidelines, including the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics' (FIGO) own guidelines, on gender stereotyping and reproductive healthcare. The Inter‐American Court's judgment in IV v. Bolivia illustrates the important role FIGO's guidance can play in shaping human rights standards and provides guidance on the service provider's role and responsibility in eliminating gender stereotypes and upholding and fulfilling human rights.

Keywords: Ethical Standards; FIGO Guidelines; Forced Sterilization; Human Rights, Human Rights Law, Informed Consent, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Stereotypes

JEL Classification: I18, J13, K19, K33, K32

Suggested Citation

O'Connell, Ciara and Zampas, Christina, The Human Rights Impact Of Gender Stereotyping In The Context Of Reproductive Health Care (2018). International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 144 (2019): 116–121 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3317755

Ciara O'Connell

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

Private Bag X20
Hatfield 0028
Pretoria
South Africa

Christina Zampas (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program ( email )

Canada

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