Abortion Is a Right: Pursuing International Remedies for U.S. Human Rights Law Violations

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It has been roughly five months since the Supreme Court of the United States (“Supreme Court,” or “Court”) held that the human right to obtain an abortion was not a fundamental constitutional right. For the first time in the nation’s history, the U.S. Supreme Court has eradicated a fundamental human right previously determined to be protected under the U.S. Constitution.

Notwithstanding the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion is a complete disregard and erosion of established legal precedent in the U.S., the opinion also contradicts longstanding international human rights law. Many U.S. states that impose restrictions on access to abortion are now in violation of many laws and principles enshrined in international human rights law, of which the U.S. is obliged to uphold and implement nationwide. Several U.S. state laws could be found to be in grave violation of fundamental human rights before international courts and treaty bodies, specifically civil and political rights within treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (“ICCPR”) and Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment (“CAT”). With domestic legal remedies in the U.S. largely ineffective or unavailable for U.S. citizens in “abortion-ban” states, pursuing international legal remedies to hold the U.S. accountable for violating its obligations under international law may be the only practicable option.

Overview of the U.S. Supreme Court Opinion

On 24 June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.[1] The case challenged the constitutionality of legislation in the state of Mississippi, which generally prohibited an abortion once a fetus’ gestational age is greater than 15 weeks.[2] In a 6-3 decision, the majority of the Court upheld the law. In addition, five Justices overturned the Court’s prior decisions in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, holding that the U.S. Constitution does not, in fact, confer a right to an abortion.[3] By overruling established precedent, the Court claimed that it was returning the regulation of abortion to the public and its elected representatives.[4]

Thus, the opinion of the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturns longstanding precedent that personal liberty—which is clearly denoted in the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution—is broad enough to include and protect fundamental rights to privacy and autonomy and, subsequently, that the right to an abortion is implicitly included within those rights to privacy and autonomy.[5] Dobbs negates that an individual’s human right to an abortion is implicit in the constitution, and characterises earlier Court decisions as “remarkably loose in [their] treatment of the constitutional text.”[6]

The majority of the Court explained that, in evaluating whether the Constitution confers a right to an abortion, substantive due process rights such as a right to an abortion may be implicitly found only when such rights are “deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition” and “are implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”[7] Reviewing U.S. common law and statutory restrictions on abortion before and after the Due Process Clause’s ratification, the majority maintained that the “inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.”[8] Thus, the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not protect the right to an abortion.

The dissenting Justices recognised the majority’s glaring error. Specifically, the three dissenting Justices stated that

“[the majority] says that from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of […] The Mississippi law at issue here bars abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Under the majority’s ruling, though, another State’s law could do so […] from the moment of fertilization. States have already passed such laws, in anticipation of today’s ruling. More will follow.”[9]

Notably, the dissenting Justices also highlighted that the Court’s failure to uphold abortion as a fundamental human right which makes the U.S. a global outlier, on this issue. The dissent emphasised that globally, the trend is—toward increased provision of legal and safe abortion care […] Most Western European countries impose restrictions on abortion after 12 to 14 weeks, but they often have liberal exceptions to those time limits, including to prevent harm to a woman’s physical or mental health. They also typically make access to early abortion easier, for example, by helping cover its cost. Perhaps most notable, more than 50 countries around the world—in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe—have expanded access to abortion in the past 25 years. In light of that worldwide liberalization of abortion laws, it is American States that will become international outliers after today.[10]

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion, restrictions on individuals’ access to abortion along with other sexual and reproductive health services have been imposed nationwide.[11] Twenty-six of the 50 states in the U.S. have taken actions to ban abortion, and 13 states have “trigger laws” that would ban abortion from the moment of fertilization.[12] Only three of the 13 states with abortion bans include any exception for abortions in the case of rape or incest. The states’ failure to legislate or implement such exceptions indisputably violates international human rights law standards.[13]

Overview of the Human Right to Abortion under International Law

As an international outlier, the U.S. is in violation of human rights law and norms, specifically those codified in the ICCPR and CAT. The right to an abortion, especially in circumstances such as rape or incest, has been widely upheld across international human rights law bodies and regional systems.

As established under human rights norms and principles, sexual and reproductive rights, including the right to an abortion, comprise the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health, which implies the ability to (1) have a satisfying and safe sex life as well as the capability and freedom to reproduce; and (2) be free from sexual violence and discrimination.[14] Sexual and reproductive rights—are a constellation of freedoms and entitlements that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights instruments and other consensus documents. Reproductive rights refer to a diversity of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights affecting the sexual and reproductive life of individuals and couples.[15]

Thus, underpinning sexual and reproductive rights are basic guarantees of life, health, and equality.

Sexual and reproductive rights were first explicitly defined and endorsed internationally in the Cairo Consensus that emerged from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (“ICPD”).[16]  This wide array of rights was reaffirmed at the Beijing Conference on Women and various international agreements and conferences since.[17]  According to the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action, the rights of individuals to exercise control over their sexual and reproductive health includes the right to decide the number, timing, and spacing of children; the right to voluntarily marry and establish a family; and the right to the highest attainable standard of health.[18]  In practice, this means that every person, regardless of age, sex, gender, race, or socioeconomic status, should have access to contraceptive and family planning services, as well as to information on sexual and reproductive health and rights.[19] 

Within sexual and reproductive rights, access to safe and legal abortion services are likewise grounded in basic human rights protections, specifically, the right to life; nondiscrimination; freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; and privacy and bodily autonomy. Such rights are explicitly recognised in international law treaties and norms, many of which are ratified or signed by the United States.

U.S. Obligations under International Human Rights Law

With the Supreme Court’s opinion in Dobbs, the U.S. is currently in violation of its treaty obligations. The U.S. has ratified core UN treaties, including the ICCPR and CAT, as well as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (“CERD”). It has also signed—although not ratified—the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (“CEDAW”) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (“CESCR”).  

The U.S. is legally obligated to uphold the principles embodied in a treaty that it has ratified.[20]  Treaties, along with the U.S. Constitution and federal legislation, are viewed as the “supreme law of the law.”[21]  Similarly, even if the U.S. has not ratified a treaty, as a signatory, the U.S. is required to refrain from taking actions that “defeat the object and purpose of the treaty.”[22] 

All human rights under international human rights law are indivisible, interdependent, and interrelated: “the improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others.”[23] In this way, the UN treaty monitoring bodies are interdependent on one another.  Although each treaty is a separate instrument and each committee is an independent set of experts, treaty body committees function together as a holistic system and coordinate their operations to present a consistent and systematic approach to upholding international human rights.[24] The international human rights obligations of the U.S. are derived from multiple treaties as well as binding authoritative guidance issued by treaty bodies. More specifically, the U.S. currently infringes on the right to equality and nondiscrimination, the right to life, the right to health, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and the right to privacy.

The right to equality and nondiscrimination

The UN treaty bodies expressly prohibit discrimination and require State parties to eradicate all forms of discrimination. Article 26 of the ICCPR provides protection from discrimination of any kind. The UN Human Rights Committee (“UNHRC”), or governing mechanism of the ICCPR, has issued authoritative guidance that specifies that interference with individual’s access to reproductive health services, including failure to ensure pregnant persons do not have to “undergo life-threatening clandestine abortions” violates their right to nondiscrimination.

Additionally, CEDAW affirms that discrimination includes laws and policies that have either the effect or purpose of preventing a woman from exercising any of their human rights or fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men.[25]  The CEDAW Committee has expressed that “laws that criminalize medical procedures only needed by women and that punish women who undergo those procedures” are a barrier to access to necessary healthcare,[26] and thus discriminates against women and precludes substantive equality. Moreover, the CEDAW Committee has adjudicated issues that specifically address women’s rights to nondiscrimination in receiving reproductive healthcare. In the emblematic case L.C. v. Peru, the Committee held that denying a child emergency spinal surgery in fear that it would harm her pregnancy violated her right to nondiscrimination, as well as her right to privacy, health, and to a legal remedy.[27]

L.C. v. Peru is one of the most significant cases on abortion. At the age of thirteen, an older man repeatedly sexually abused L.C.[28] She became pregnant and attempted suicide by jumping off a building, the trauma of which caused paralysis.[29] L.C. was refused emergency spinal surgery after doctors’ learned she was pregnant.[30] L.C. and her mother requested a therapeutic abortion in order to move forward with the necessary surgery, but hospital administrators denied their request.[31] After several weeks, L.C. miscarried spontaneously; soon after, almost four months after her surgery was postponed, L.C. underwent her operation.[32] The CEDAW Committee found that the 13 year-old rape victim was entitled to a lawful therapeutic abortion due to both the physical and mental distress she suffered.[33] The decision states that Peru violated L.C.’s right to health and right to be free from discrimination by failing to provide her with an abortion, and further urges Peru to establish a mechanism to ensure the availability of abortion services and thus guarantee access to abortion when the woman’s life or health is in danger.[34] 

L.C. recognizes that states have a legal obligation to implement domestic abortion laws that can be meaningfully accessed, and that any guaranteed abortion rights must be tangible rather than merely a perfunctory commitment by the State.[35] Domestic laws that permit abortion but are unimplemented or unclear do not provide women equal protection under the law and constitute discrimination because they deny access to services only women need.[36]  

The right to life

Article 6 of the ICCPR provides that “every human being has the inherent right to life.” The UN Human Rights Committee (“UNHRC”) has found that restrictive abortion legislation is a violation of Article 6 of the ICCPR, and provided that States should not introduce new barriers to abortion and should remove any existing barriers that deny effective access to safe and legal abortion. “[State] parties must provide safe, legal and effective access to abortion […] where carrying a pregnancy to term would cause the [individual] substantial pain or suffering, most notably where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or is not viable.”

The right to health

International human rights law guarantees individuals’ the right to “the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,”[37] and treaty monitoring bodies commonly agree that access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services and information is critical. The CESCR Committee has recognized that the right to health includes “the right to control one’s health and body, including sexual and reproductive freedom, and the right to be free from interference,” and, furthermore, “requires the removal of all barriers interfering with access to health services, education and information, including in the area of sexual and reproductive health.”[38] 

The right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

UN treaty bodies have also indicated that laws and policies that prohibit reproductive health services for the improper purpose of discouraging women from accessing reproductive healthcare and medical services can cause immense pain and suffering and have long lasting consequences for a woman’s health and life.[39] The UN solidified its views on the issue in the 2013 report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, which specifically cites the lack of access to reproductive healthcare services, specifically abortion.[40] The UN Rapporteur contends that denial of reproductive rights is discrimination on the basis of gender and the denial of that right can cause “tremendous and lasting physical and emotional suffering” to women.[41] This crucial report bases its conclusions on treaty monitoring bodies’ jurisprudence, and specifically cites the landmark case K.L. v. Peru to illustrate the ill treatment and torture rape victims face in attempting to procure an abortion.[42]

In the groundbreaking decision of K.L. v. Peru, the UNHRC defined the important intersections between fetal malformation and women’s psychological and mental health when determining whether a 17-year-old girl was entitled to a lawful therapeutic abortion.[43] K.L. was denied an abortion for an anencephalic fetus,[44] which posed risks to her life and mental health if the pregnancy continued. The HRC recognised that the preventable and foreseeable psychological distress in which K.L. suffered was caused by the “omission on the part of the State in not enabling [K.L.] to benefit from a therapeutic abortion.”[45] Furthermore, the Committee stated that K.L.’s forced pregnancy amounted to a violation under Article 7 of the ICCPR,[46] finding that the denial of a lawful abortion violated her right to privacy and right to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.[47] As a result of K.L. v Peru, the Peruvian government has made commitments to implement the UNHRC decision and, in 2014, the government adopted national guidelines for providing therapeutic abortion services, to provide clarity to physicians on legal abortion.[48]

Appropriately, the CAT Committee has since consistently issued concluding observations and recommendations to States parties to remove all punitive measures for women who have undergone abortion, especially in cases of rape, incest, and severe fetal malformation, as well as have unambiguous technical guidelines for lawful abortion services for medical professionals, in order to decriminalise medical practices and ensure medical services for women.  In viewing women’s experiences as a form of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (“CIDT”), advocates reorient the concept of torture to also encompass those forms of violations of dignity and physical integrity that are more relevant to women’s experiences—experiences including reproductive health and sexual autonomy.[49]  Given that the prohibition of CIDT is a non-derogable right, and essentially a jus cogens norm under international law,[50] framing women’s experiences of pain and suffering as a result of reproductive and sexual rights violations as CIDT, “addresses women’s suffering as a human rights issue and demands higher accountability from States in their role of such suffering.”[51]

Right to Privacy

Article 17 of the ICCPR states that “no person shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour or reputation.” The UN treaty bodies have consistently found that restriction on abortion access violates the right to privacy. As the aforementioned K.L. v Peru case before the HRC found, denial of an abortion amounted to a violation of Article 17 of the ICCPR and “interfered with her private life.”[52]

Likewise, in 2016 the UNHRC found that Ireland’s constitutional prohibition on abortion infringed on a woman’s right to privacy in violation of Article 17 of the ICCPR.[53] Amanda Mellet was denied access to abortion care in Ireland after learning that her pregnancy involved a fatal fetal impairment.[54] Irish law enshrined a constitutional ban on abortion and criminalised abortion in nearly every circumstance, except when a woman’s life was at risk. Similar to K.L. v. Peru, the UNHRC recognised the severe harm caused by Ireland’s abortion laws. The UNHRC found that Ireland had violated Articles 7, 17, and 26 of the ICCPR, and instructed that full reparation to the women be made for her suffering. The Committee also instructed Ireland to take measures to prevent similar violations in the future by legalising abortion and ensuring access to abortion care in Ireland.[55] In 2018, Ireland repealed its constitutional ban on abortion following a constitutional referendum. The UNHRC ruling was cited by Irish parliament as a reason for constitutional reform on abortion.[56]

Employing the UN Human Rights Law System for U.S. Violations

In light of the aforementioned rights—which is notably not an exhaustive list and is limited to those rights afforded within the UN treaty body system—the U.S. is not in compliance with its human rights obligations and, moreover, is in grave violation of certain rights.

Instead of federal constitutional protection, abortion policies and rights are completely within the control of each state in the U.S.[57] In the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, 26 states have or are likely to ban abortion.[58] Of these, 13 states have banned abortion from the moment of fertilization.[59] Additionally, 11 states in the U.S. do not have exceptions for rape or incest; six states have no exceptions for the health of the pregnant person.

Persons seeking abortion services now potentially face criminal prosecution. In certain areas, U.S. Law enforcement are already charging pregnant women who seek abortion. In the state of Texas, a woman was arrested in April 2022 for murder after allegedly causing her miscarriage.[60] The indictment stated that the Texas woman did “intentionally and knowingly cause the death of an individual […] by self-induced abortion.” The language of the indictment mirrors the Texas criminal homicide statute; however, that specific Chapter of the statute explicitly exempts pregnant women from criminal charges under the law.[61] Although the case was ultimately dismissed, now, after the overturn of the right to an abortion, the exemption for pregnant individuals may cease and criminalization of reproductive health will only increase. 

Similarly, a mother and daughter in the state of Nebraska, in addition to other criminal charges, have been criminally charged for allegedly ending the 17-year-old daughter’s pregnancy with medication.[62] Law enforcement obtained messages through social media in which the two discussed using abortion pills to induce her miscarriage. The state of Nebraska has a 20-week abortion ban, which was not able to be effectively enforced until the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June 2022.[63]

Additionally, shortly after the right to an abortion was eliminated at the federal level, a 10-year-old girl and rape survivor was forced to travel outside of her home state of Ohio to obtain a safe and illegal abortion. Due to Ohio banning abortion services, which the State imposed after the Supreme Court opinion, the young girl was not allowed an abortion where she lived, even in her case of rape, and had to travel several hours for adequate healthcare.[64]

The disturbing stories provided above are just a few recent examples of the failure of the U.S. to comply with its international human rights law obligations. Abortion advocates and lawyers in the U.S. have shifted their focus to challenging these severe bans individually, at the state level. However, it is clear that the UN treaty body system provides an alternative avenue to afford victims justice and create systemic change in the U.S. Through the submission of periodic shadow reports by civil society organizations to treaty monitoring bodies, as well as individual complaints to treaty monitoring bodies, advocates, lawyers, healthcare professionals, and survivors can begin to both (1) document the discrete abuses occurring across the U.S.; and (2) provide critical information to the international community about the widespread injustice and atrocity that is affected by the regressive, draconian policies in the U.S.

Enforcement of international human rights law is imperfect, and State implementation of treaty body recommendations, if any, is often slow. Although enforcement of international human right law treaties and UN treaty body recommendations can be seen as difficult, the application of international pressure against State parties can be effective. Many UN treaty bodies require State parties to report on their compliance, which gives the monitoring bodies an opportunity to apply pressure for compliance.

International pressure by the rest of the world, which can be partially achieved with the UN treaty body system, is critical in order for the U.S. to take federal and state legislative steps to guarantee effective access to affordable, legal, and safe abortion services; ensure equitable, federal access to abortion medication, regardless of the laws of their states; and, provide access to comprehensive abortion care within the jurisdiction of the federal government, including in states where abortion bans are in effect. Like in the cases of Peru and Ireland, such pressure can be effective in moving the U.S. federal government to implementing federal solutions, which are well within its control.


The U.S. is outside the global trend of expanding abortion access. As discussed above, the human rights on which a right to an abortion is predicated are set out over several core treaties. The UN and the UN treaty body system periodically recommend State governments to decriminalise abortion in all cases and to ensure access to affordable, legal, and safe abortion. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision and U.S. states regression on abortion access and criminalisation, international human rights law will be a crucial tool in regaining access to essential healthcare in the U.S.

Amanda Misasi is an attorney with experience in international criminal law, international human rights law, and climate change litigation. She has served as a Law Clerk in Chambers of the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals and is presently serving as a Visiting Professional in the Office of the Ombudsperson at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University College of Law, and is currently an LLM student at Leiden University.

[1] Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization,597 U.S.___, (2022),  https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/19-1392_6j37.pdf.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Supreme Court Rules No Constitutional Right to Abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Congressional Research Service (27 June 2022), https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/LSB/LSB10768.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Dobbs,597 U.S.___, ___ (2022)(slip op., at 12). 

[8] Ibid. at 25.

[9] Dobbs,597 U.S.___, ___ (2022)(Breyer, J.J., dissenting)(slip op., at 2). 

[10] Ibid at 43 (internal citations omitted).

[11] Center for Reproductive Rights, After Roe Fell: Abortion Laws by State, https://reproductiverights.org/maps/abortion-laws-by-state/.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] See Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, September 4-15, 1995, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.177/20 (1996), https://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/pdf/Beijing%20full%20report%20E.pdf.

[15] United Nations Population Fund, A Handbook for National Human Rights Institutions, 21 (2014).

[16] Ibid.

[17] See Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action supra, note 14.

[18] International Conference on Population and Development, Sept. 5-13, 1994, Cairo Programme of Action, U.N. Doc. A/ CONF.171/13 (1995), http://www.un.org/popin/icpd/conference/offeng/poa.html.

[19] A Handbook for National Human Rights Institutions supra note 15, at 21.

[20] United States Senate, About Treaties, https://www.senate.gov/about/powers-procedures/treaties.htm.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties art. 18(a), May 23, 1969, 1155 U.N.T.S. 331.

[23] What Are Human Rights?, United Nations Office of the High Comm’r for Human Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Pages/WhatareHumanRights.aspx.

[24] The United Nations Human Rights Treaty System: Fact Sheet No 30/Rev. 1, United Nations Office of the High Comm’r for Human Rights, 1 (2012), http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet30Rev1.pdf.

[25] Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, adopted Dec. 18, 1979, art. 1, G.A. Res. 34/180, U.N. GAOR, 34th Sess., Supp. No. 46, at 193, U.N. Doc. A/34/46 (1979) (entered into force Sept. 3, 1981); Center for Reproductive Rights, Briefing Paper: Safe and Legal Abortion is a Woman’s Human Right, 3 (2011), http://www.reproductiverights.org/sites/crr.civicactions.net/files/documents/pub_fac_safeab_10.11.pdf.

[26] Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, General Recommendation No. 24: Article 12 of the Convention (women and health), (20th Sess., 1999), in Compilation of General Comments and General Recommendations Adopted by Human Rights Treaty Bodies, at 358, U.N. Doc. HRI/GEN/1/Rev.9 (Vol. II) (2008).

[27] Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Views of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Under Article 7, Paragraph 3, of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women Concerning Communication No. 22/2009, CEDAW/C/50/D/22/2009 (2011), http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/docs/CEDAW-C-50-D-22-2009_en.pdf [hereinafter “L.C. v. Peru”].

[28] Ibid. at ¶ 2.1.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid. at ¶ 2.2-2.5.

[32] Ibid. at ¶. 2.9-2.10.

[33] Ibid. at ¶ 8.18.

[34] Ibid. at ¶ 9(b)(i).

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICCPR), adopted Dec. 16, 1966, art. 12 G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), U.N. GAOR, Supp. No. 16, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966) (entered into force Jan. 3, 1976).

[38] Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 14: The right to the highest attainable standard of health, (22nd Sess., 2000), ¶ 21, U.N. Doc. E/C.12/2000/4 (2000).

[39] Center for Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Rights Violations as Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: A Critical Human Rights Analysis (2011), https://www.reproductiverights.org/sites/crr.civicactions.net/files/documents/TCIDT.pdf.

[40] Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment, Juan E. Méndez, Human Rights Council A/HRC/22/53, ¶¶ 45-50 (2013), http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A.HRC.22.53_English.pdf.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid. at ¶ 49.

[43] K.L. v. Peru, Communication No. 1153/2003, Human Rights Committee, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/85/D/1153/2003 (2005) [hereinafter “K.L. v. Peru”].

[44] In cases of anencephaly, either the fetus does not survive to term or the baby dies shortly after being born. Birth Defects: Facts About Anencephaly, Center for Disease Control and Protection, https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/anencephaly.html.

[45] K.L. v. Peru, ¶ 6.3.

[46] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Dec. 16, 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, art. 7 (“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”). 

[47] K.L. v. Peru, ¶ 6.3.

[48] Center for Reproductive Rights, Press Release: Peru Takes Critical Step to Implement Historic United Nations Ruling on Denial of Access to Legal Abortion (3 July 2014), https://reproductiverights.org/peru-takes-critical-step-to-implement-historic-united-nations-ruling-on-denial-of-access-to-legal-abortion-2/.

[49] Alyson Zureick, (En)Gendering Suffering: Denial of Abortion as a Form of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment, 38 Fordham Int’l L.J. 99 (2015).

[50] Committee Against Torture, General Comment No. 2 Implementation of Article 2 by States Parties, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/GC/2/CRP.1/Rev.4 (2007) (“Since the adoption of the Convention against Torture, the absolute and non-derogable character of this prohibition has become accepted as a matter of customary international law.”).

[51] See (En)Gendering Suffering: Denial of Abortion as a Form of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment supra, note 49.

[52] See K.L. v. Peru, ¶ 6.3.

[53] U.N. Human Rights Committee, Mellet v. Ireland, Communication No. 2324/2013, ¶ 7.13, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/116/D/2324/2013 (17 November 2016).

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, Report of the Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, (December 2017), https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/joint_committee_on_the_eighth_amendment_of_the_constitution/reports/2017/2017-12-20_report-of-the-joint-committee-on-the-eighth-amendment-of-the-constitution_en.pdf.

[57] Center for Reproductive Rights, After Roe Fell: Abortion Laws by State, https://reproductiverights.org/maps/abortion-laws-by-state/.

[58] Guttmacher Institute, 26 State Are Certain or Likely to Ban Abortion Without Roe: Here’s Which Ones and Why (updated April 2022), https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2021/10/26-states-are-certain-or-likely-ban-abortion-without-roe-heres-which-ones-and-why.

[59] Guttmacher Institute, 13 States Have Abortion Trigger Bans—Here’s what Happens When Roe is Overturned (June 2022), https://www.guttmacher.org/article/2022/06/13-states-have-abortion-trigger-bans-heres-what-happens-when-roe-overturned.

[60] Pablo De La Rosa, et al., DA moves to dismiss a murder charge against a Texas woman accused of a self-induced abortion, Texas Public Radio (10 April 2022), https://www.tpr.org/news/2022-04-08/texas-woman-charged-with-murder-for-self-induced-abortion.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Gloria Oladipo, Nebraska teen and her mother charged for aborting and burying a fetus, The Guardian (9 August 2022), https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/09/nebraska-teen-charged-aborting-fetus; A Nebraska woman is charged is charged with helping her daughter have an abortion, National Public Radio (NPR) (10 August 2022), https://www.npr.org/2022/08/10/1116716749/a-nebraska-woman-is-charged-with-helping-her-daughter-have-an-abortion.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Fabiola Cineas, Rape and incest abortion exceptions don’t really exist, Vox (22 July 2022), https://www.vox.com/23271352/rape-and-incest-abortion-exception. See also, Katie Roberston, Facts Were Sparse on an Abortion Case. But That Didn’t Stop the Attacks., New York Times (14 July 2022), https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/14/business/media/10-year-old-girl-ohio-rape.html.

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