Abortion in Chile: The Long Road to Legalization and its Slow Implementation

Gloria Maira, Lidia Casas, and Lieta Vivaldi Abstract Until as recently as September 2017, Chile was one of the few countries in the world that did not permit abortion under any circumstances. Although the Health Code had permitted therapeutic abortion (i.e., on health grounds) from in 1931, this was repealed in 1989 as one of General Pinochet’s last acts in office. It took more than 25 years to reverse the…

Rights-based Claims Made by UK Anti-abortion Activists

Pam Lowe and Sarah-Jane Page Abstract This article analyzes the ways in which rights-based arguments are utilized by anti-abortion activists in the UK. Drawing on an ethnographic study featuring 30 abortion clinic sites, anti-abortion marches, and other campaigns, we argue that rights-based claims form an important part of their arguments. In contrast to the way in which human rights law has been interpreted to support abortion provision, anti-abortion activists seek…

Midwives and Post-abortion Care in Gabon: “Things have really changed”

Aimée Patricia Ndembi Ndembi, Justine Mekuí, Gail Pheterson, and Marijke Alblas Abstract Complications from spontaneous and induced abortion are a primary cause of death of women in sub-Saharan Africa. Le Réseau d’Afrique Centrale pour la Santé Reproductive des Femmes: Gabon, Cameroun, Guinée Équatoriale (the Middle African Network for Women’s Reproductive Health, or GCG as it is commonly known) was founded in 2009 to identify and overcome obstacles to post-abortion care…

The Gambia’s Political Transition to Democracy: Is Abortion Reform Possible?

Satang Nabaneh Abstract The aim of this paper is to assess The Gambia’s laws on abortion. It argues that the restrictive laws on abortion are less a function of religious doctrine and more due to the historical and contemporary structure of the Gambian state, influenced by autocratic rule. As such, the current shift from an authoritarian regime to a democratic one suggests that there may be potential for legal mobilization…

Preventing State Harassment of Abortion Providers: The Work of the Legal Support Network in Latin America and East Africa

Ximena Casas, Mitchelle Kimathi-Osiemo, Dee Redwine, Claire Tebbets, and Karen Plafker Abstract Access to safe abortion care is threatened, especially in legally restrictive settings, when providers are harassed or prosecuted on spurious charges. Legal networks have been working with safe abortion providers in Latin America since 2006, and in East Africa since 2010, to short-circuit this intimidation and protect access to quality information and abortion care. Planned Parenthood Global has…

Denial of Safe Abortion to Survivors of Rape in India

Padma Bhate-Deosthali and Sangeeta Rege Abstract Access to abortion is desperately needed when pregnancy is the result of rape, both within and outside marriage, and especially when a girl has been raped. The availability of services remains highly restricted because of the way abortion providers interpret the law. This paper presents the experiences of 40 rape survivors, including two children, denied an abortion following rape. The cases were recorded by…

EDITORIAL Human Rights for Health across the United Nations

Benjamin Mason Meier and Lawrence O. Gostin Introduction The United Nations (UN) plays a central role in realizing human rights to advance global health. Looking beyond state obligations, the UN has called on all its specialized agencies to mainstream human rights across all their activities. With globalization compelling these UN institutions to meet an expanding set of global challenges to underlying determinants of health, human rights are guiding these international…

The Universal Periodic Review: A Valuable New Procedure for the Right to Health?

Judith Bueno De Mesquita Abstract The right to health has been cast in increasingly broad terms in international human rights law, not only as a right to health care but also as a right to an ever more broad range of underlying and social determinants of health. Utilizing an analytical framework grounded in this broad view of the right to health, this article presents the findings of an empirical review…

“Hay que tener suerte”: Gender-based Violence Service Provision in Quito, Ecuador

Chiara Sabina and Diego Pérez Figueroa Abstract This study utilized the United Nations’ Essential Services Package for Women and Girls Subject to Violence, a technical guidebook on quality services in line with human rights declarations, to examine the characteristics of availability, accessibility, adaptability, and appropriateness from the viewpoint of 21 victim service users in Quito, Ecuador. Availability was evidenced by warm service providers willing to aid victims but was hindered…

The Right(s) Road to Universal Health Coverage

Helena Nygren-Krug Abstract The political momentum around universal health coverage (UHC) provides a welcome opportunity to scale up efforts to dismantle barriers to accessing health services and to create enabling environments for people to thrive and be healthy. However, UHC lacks sufficient clarity, both conceptually and operationally, to generate the societal transformation required to ensure its successful implementation in countries. This article argues that both the messaging and the monitoring…