Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fighting for Women's Reproductive Rights on a Global Scale

Slate has a good article titled, "Abortion Rights Go Global," written by Michelle Goldberg.

The article focuses on international legal instruments and bodies that are gradually recognizing a woman's right to control her reproductive health.

What interests me is the diversity of instruments mentioned.

The European Court of Human Rights is not surprising. Given that freedom of movement is one of the 'Four Freedoms' held central in the European Union, it was only a matter of time until women used to controlling their reproductive health in more secular countries ran into the procedural barriers erected in more non-secular nations - like Poland, Italy, & Ireland.

More interesting is the rise of cases being brought in other international settings. These include:

In this growing area of human rights law, a consensus is emerging about women's reproductive health and abortion.

States cannot deny a woman's right to an abortion, specifically in cases involving risks to the mother, rape, or incest.

What does this mean to the readers?

This standard is far from gaining worldwide acceptance.

Nations and non-governmental organizations are fighting this emerging standard.

I think it will be decades before this type of international jurisprudence affects people worldwide.

Still, it is encouraging to see the spread in recognition of women's rights in international forums and the use of these forums to improve the lives of women around the world.