Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies

Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies

Synopsis

It is increasingly implausible to speak of a purely domestic abortion law, as the legal debates around the world draw on precedents and influences of different national and regional contexts. While the United States and Western Europe may have been the vanguard of abortion law reform in the latter half of the twentieth century, Central and South America are proving to be laboratories of thought and innovation in the twenty-first century, as are particular countries in Africa and Asia. Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective offers a fresh look at significant transnational legal developments in recent years, examining key judicial decisions, constitutional texts, and regulatory reforms of abortion law in order to envision ways ahead.

The chapters investigate issues of access, rights, and justice, as well as social constructions of women, sexuality, and pregnancy, through different legal procedures and regimes. They address the promises and risks of using legal procedure to achieve reproductive justice from different national, regional, and international vantage points; how public and courtroom debates are framed within medical, religious, and human rights arguments; the meaning of different narratives that recur in abortion litigation and language; and how respect for women and prenatal life is expressed in various legal regimes. By exploring how legal actors advocate, regulate, and adjudicate the issue of abortion, this timely volume seeks to build on existing developments to bring about change of a larger order.

Contributors: Luis Roberto Barroso, Paola Bergallo, Rebecca J. Cook, Bernard M. Dickens, Joanna N. Erdman, Lisa M. Kelly, Adriana Lamačková, Julieta Lemaitre, Alejandro Madrazo, Charles G. Ngwena, Rachel Rebouché, Ruth Rubio-Marín, Sally Sheldon, Reva B. Siegel, Verónica Undurraga, Melissa Upreti.

Excerpt

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The field of abortion law has survived several revolutions. Perhaps the greatest is the shift in focus to human rights. Although today it is exceedingly difficult to encounter any legal treatment of abortion without some comment on the rights involved, this was not always the case. Abortion law evolved “from placement within criminal or penal codes, to placement within health or public health legislation, and eventually to submergence within laws serving goals of human rights.” Reflecting on historical revolutions led us to think of new transitions in hand and in prospect. With this collection, we are looking for new ideas in abortion law. We seek to take stock of the field, but in a dynamic way, to ask which ideas are changing the way we advocate, regulate, and adjudicate on abortion.

The collection builds on significant transnational legal developments in abortion law. Innovation in case strategies and an abundance of decisions from constitutional and human rights courts have produced a rich jurisprudence, which remains largely unexamined and undertheorized by legal scholars. Technological change, such as new medical methods of early abortion, has given rise to new legal controversies and rendered former legal frameworks outdated. While the United States and Western Europe may have been the vanguard in abortion law reform in the latter half of the twentieth century, Central and South America are proving the laboratories of thought and innovation in the twenty-first century, as are particular countries in Africa and Asia. Too often though, barriers of language and legal form impede the transnational flow of these developments and the thinking behind them. Country-specific case studies are published as stand-alone reviews that fail to reflect on larger global trends. Yet often, revelations about why a law has . . .

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