Abortion in International Human Rights Law: Missed Opportunities in Manuela v El Salvador

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    The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ judgment in Manuela and Others v El
    Salvador represents a missed opportunity for advancing abortion access and sexual and reproductive health and rights in international human rights law (IHRL). Even though this case is representative of the multiple human right violations arising from El Salvador’s complete criminalisation of abortion and active prosecution of those suspected of having had the procedure, the Court shied away from engaging in a critique of El Salvador’s abortion legislation. Instead, it focused on issues relating to pre-trial detention, due process, and medical confidentiality. Despite growing consensus in IHRL that abortion must be decriminalised at a minimum in certain circumstances; indications that the inter-American human rights system subscribes to this position; and extensive evidence that El Salvador’s abortion legislation is resulting in human rights violations, the Court failed to use this judgment to articulate a clear and assertive position on the need for abortion access to realise sexual and reproductive health and rights.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFeminist Legal Studies
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 15 Mar 2023


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