Operationalizing a Human Rights-Based Approach to Address Mistreatment against Women during Childbirth

Christina Zampas, Avni Amin, Lucinda O’Hanlon, Alisha Bjerregaard, Hedieh Mehrtash, Rajat Khosla, and Özge Tunçalp Abstract A growing body of evidence reveals that the mistreatment of pregnant women during facility-based childbirth is occurring across the globe. As human rights bodies have increasingly recognized, numerous human rights are implicated in the context of mistreatment of women in childbirth, including the rights to be free from torture and other ill-treatment, privacy, health,…

UHC2030’s Contributions to Global Health Governance that Advance the Right to Health Care: A Preliminary Assessment

Rachel Hammonds, Gorik Ooms, Moses Mulumba, and Allan Maleche Abstract The September 2019 United Nations High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) aims to mobilize top-level political support for action on UHC to advance the health Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). A driving force behind this meeting is the “UHC Movement,” led by UHC2030, which focuses on coordinating and amplifying efforts by WHO, the World Bank, civil society, and the private…

PERSPECTIVE Universal Health Coverage: Are We Losing Our Way on Women’s and Children’s Health?

Flavia Bustreo and Curtis Doebbler Our children are our future and one of the basic responsibilities is to care for them in the best and most compassionate manner possible.—Nelson Mandela[1] If women are denied a chance to develop their full human potential, including their potential to lead healthier and at least somewhat happier lives, is society as a whole really healthy? —Dr. Margaret Chan[2] This commentary argues that current efforts…

Health and Human Rights’ Past: Patinating Law’s Contribution

Thérèse Murphy Abstract This article argues that to be able to look forward, lawyers within the health and human rights movement need to do more looking back. It is prompted by a simple question: do we have a history of health and human rights law and lawyering? Finding nothing that qualifies, the article asks how we might fill that gap. Focusing on international human rights law, it prescribes histories of…

Have Reforms Reconciled Health Rights Litigation and Priority Setting in Costa Rica?

Alessandro Luciano and Alex Voorhoeve Abstract The experience of Costa Rica highlights the potential for conflicts between the right to health and fair priority setting. For example, one study found that most favorable rulings by the Costa Rican constitutional court concerning claims for medications under the right to health were either for experimental treatments or for medicines that should have low priority based on health gain per unit of expenditure…

Evaluating the Impact of Student-run Asylum Clinics in the US from 2016–2018

Madison B. Sharp*, Andrew R. Milewski*, Claire Lamneck, and Katherine McKenzie Abstract Individuals applying for asylum must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution. By documenting signs of torture and other forms of abuse, medical evaluations can provide forensic evidence to support asylum claims. The backlog of pending immigration cases in the United States recently exceeded one million. Student-run asylum medicine clinics conduct forensic evaluations to assist in the asylum adjudication…

The Politicization of Abortion and Hippocratic Disobedience in Islamist Sudan

Liv Tønnessen and Samia Al-Nagar Abstract In Sudan’s Islamist state, abortion is politicized through its association with illegal pregnancy. Fornication is a crime against God punishable with 100 lashes, and pregnancy outside a marriage contract constitutes sufficient evidence of a woman’s immorality. This enables a strong link between the crime of fornication and the crime of illegal abortion, to the extent that our interviewees often conflate the two in the…

Respect, Protect, and Fulfill or Reject, Neglect, and Regress? Children’s Rights in the Time of the Russian “Gay Propaganda Law”

Caroline H. Voyles and Mariana Chilton Abstract The “gay propaganda law”—criminalizing public messaging supporting sexual and gender minority (SGM) communities in the presence of youth—implemented within Russia in 2013 has been widely criticized by those in the international field of human rights, yet remains in effect. Although the law is supposedly protecting the well-being of children, it is likely detrimental to youth who may be sexual or gender minorities. This…

PERSPECTIVE Human Rights in Public Health: Deepening Engagement at a Critical Time

Benjamin Mason Meier, Dabney P. Evans, Matthew M. Kavanagh, Jessica M. Keralis, and Gabriel Armas-Cardona On behalf of the American Public Health Association’s Human Rights Forum This year marks the 70th anniversary of both the birth of human rights law through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the birth of global health governance through the World Health Organization (WHO). Over the past 70 years, human rights have developed…

PERSPECTIVE Tax and the Right to Health

Bernadette Ann-Marie O’Hare Introduction Human rights are enshrined in numerous international treaties, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. However, the right to health is limited by the principle of progressive realization, which has left loopholes allowing the deferment of fundamental human rights.[1] Many of these fundamental human rights—such as the rights…