Session 8 The right over one's own body (2016)Apunte Inglés
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SESSION 8: THE RIGHT OVER ONE’S OWN BODY
Recreational drug usage
Pregnant women’s drug-use
Voluntary gender reassignment surgery
‘To be free is to be an individual-in the first instance, an owner of one's own person and
capacities, but also what one acquires through the use of one's capacities. To be free is to be
an owner. Freedom is defined in terms of independence from others, and one is independent
only when one has the right to use one's property, including one's abilities, as one chooses.’
Carens, Joseph (ed.) (1993) Democracy and Possessive Individualism: The Intellectual Legacy of
C.B. Macpherson, Albany, New York: State University of New York, p. 2
Reproduction and Biological difference
Biological difference results in competing claims for control over women’s reproductive
bodies, between a woman herself and society/other stakeholders in reproduction. Ex: Women
and War(Elshtain,1987): women should be excluded from combat roles because: ‘The bodies
of young females are not expendable: they are what re-creates and holds forth the promise of a
Political relevance At the national level birth rates determine labour force, tax-payers, military power, cultural reproduction. Falling birth rates means fewer tax-payers and threatens the capacity of the welfare state to pay living pensions.
Evolution of abortion laws In general, countries worldwide are liberalizing their abortion laws: Between 1950 and 1985, nearly all industrialized countries-and several others-liberalized their abortion laws, In 1994, 179 governments signed the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action, signaling their commitment to prevent unsafe abortion. Since then, more than 25 countries worldwide have liberalized their abortion laws-while a handful have tightened legal restrictions on abortion.
Countries in the Global North and north Asia generally have the most liberal abortion laws: These countries generally permit abortion either without restriction as to reason or on broad grounds, such as for socioeconomic reasons.
However, some countries in these regions, including Poland, Malta, Ireland, and the Republic of Korea, maintain restrictive abortion laws.
Also in USA -> criminalization of pregnant women.
In contrast, countries in the Global South have generally had restrictive abortion laws: Most countries in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and southern Asia have severe abortion laws Some countries have modified their legislation to prohibit abortion altogether (Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua).
Human Rights approach right to life right to health right to liberty and security of the person right to privacy right to equality and non-discrimination right to information freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment enjoyment of the benefits of scientific progress Unsafe abortion and maternal mortality. "Qomen all over the world are highly likely to have an induced abortion when faced with an unplanned pregnancy -irrespective of legal conditions.” (WHO, 2011) Restrictive abortion laws, particularly those that prohibit and criminalize abortion in all circumstances, leadswomen to obtain illegal and unsafe abortions (CEDAW, CDC).
Restrictive abortion laws as a violation of the rights to life and health (CEDAW, CDC, HRC).
The requirement of parental consent for abortion leads to increased numbers of illegal abortions among adolescents (CRC) Women’s right to privacy: in cases where a legal duty is imposed upon doctors to report women who have undergone abortion (HRC).
Torture: extracting confessions for prosecutorial purposes from women seeking emergency medical care as a result of illegal abortions (statements obtained by coercion) (CAT) Racial disparities in reproductive health: certain ethnic/racial groups are disproportionately affected by maternal mortality as a result of lack of access to reproductive health-care and family planning services (CERD) Who are the prosecuted women? In countries (ex. Namibia) where legal abortion requires many procedural prerequisites –ex.
approval from multiple physicians-abortion results, in fact, only available to wealthy and educated women, while poor and rural women have to resort to unauthorized procedures.