Pushing Past the Tipping Point: Can the Inter-American System Accommodate Abortion Rights?

Dr. Patricia Palacios Zuloaga, Lecturer in Law, University of Essex, had a new article published in the Human Rights Law Review, titled ‘Pushing Past the Tipping Point: Can the Inter-American System Accommodate Abortion Rights?’

While anti-abortion activists have been successful in pushing to restrict access to abortion across the USA, reproductive rights activists have been mobilizing across Latin America to push for the easement of strict anti-abortion policies. These opposing directions of travel have renewed interest in which human rights arguments would best support the expansion of access to abortion in Latin America.

To date, progress in this area has mostly relied on understanding that the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment requires states to allow abortions in the direst of circumstances. However, the vast majority of women in the region who seek abortions do not qualify for the small exemptions contained in the law. Activists looking to expand abortion provisions beyond the cruelty paradigm therefore need to find arguments that can stand firm in a generally conservative Latin American region.

In this search, Dr. Palacios Zuloaga argues, the Inter-American System could, somewhat surprisingly, provide keys to constructing a new discourse surrounding reproductive rights based on a nuanced understanding of structural discrimination and a willingness to visibilise the suffering of women.

A copy of the article can be accessed through the publisher’s website here.

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