Advisory Work

Over the past three decades, Co-Directors of the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program have provided governments, non-governmental organizations, and international organizations with expert policy advice through confidential consultations and expert reviews of legislation, regulations and proposals for legal and constitutional reform.

Amicus Briefs, Expert Reports and Testimony:

      International  /  Regional:

European Court of Human Rights

  • Z v. POLAND - 2009, English brief, addresses international standards of international human rights law regarding rights of pregnant women to access healthcare without discrimination, which should be reflected and applied in law and policy of European member states. 
  • A,B & C v. IRELAND - 2008, English brief, demonstrates that national law in Ireland is inconsistent with international and comparative standards on abortion regulation. Eventual decision online.   Backup copy.
  • R.R. v. POLAND - 2007, English brief. Denied access to diagnostic health services in pregnancy violates the right to non-discrimination under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: 

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

  • Beatriz v. EL SALVADOR, submitted March 6, 2023, case 13.378. Case Summary in SpanishPress release in English.  Background:  Beatriz v. El Salvador, Case 13-378, Report No. 09/20, Inter-Am. C.H.R. (2020)  Report in SpanishSpanish backup copy.   English backup copy..  Amicus submitted to Inter-American Court of Human Rights March 6, 2023.  [Woman with lupus and kidney failure denied abortion for fetus with anencephaly.]  Decision is pending.
  • Gladys Carol Espinoza Gonzales vs. PERU, submitted March 27, 2014  Expert opinion, case 11.157  [Gender stereotypes and stereotyping contribute to gender-based violence against women suspects and impair their access to justice;   and  State obligations to address gender stereotyping that undermines the human rights of women suspects.] Cited in paras 272, 281 of eventual decision of Nov 20, 2014  Decision (Sentencia) in SpanishExtra copiaDecision in EnglishBackup copy.
  • González y otras (“Campo Algodonero”) vs. MEXICO, 2008, English brief and Spanish brief. Campo Algodonero ("Cotton Field") case -  Mexico is obliged, under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the inter-American human rights system, to protect women against wrongful gender stereotyping and abduction, rape and murder.  Eventual decision of 2009 in Spanish Decision in English.

United Nations, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): 


  • ARGENTINA Supreme Court, 2010, English brief, Spanish brief. re abortion in case of rape, and Argentina's obligation to incorporate into its domestic law numerous international norms protecting human rights.  The 2012 decision in this case provided abortion without judicial authorization in cases of rape, irrespective of mental capacity.  Decision online in Spanish.    Unofficial English translation of decision.
  • BRAZIL Federal Supreme Court, 2018. English testimony. Portuguese testimony. Spanish testimony by CLACAI. Another Spanish translation.  Testimony on decriminalization of abortion on behalf of the Latin American Consortium Against Unsafe Abortion (CLACAI)) at public hearings for Caso ADPF 442 (3 Agosto 2018). Eventual decision in Spanish.   Backup copy.
  • BRAZIL Federal Supreme Court, 2016. Report in English.  Expert Report on International Human Rights Obligations regarding Sexual and Reproductive Health during the Emergency of the Zika Epidemic, submitted May 20, 2016.
  • CANADA, Supreme Court of British Columbia. 2010.  2010, Expert Report for the Attorney General of Canada, on "State Obligations to Eliminate Polygyny under International Law," July 16, 2010.  Expert Report.
  • CHILE  Constitutional Court, 2017, Two Amicus curiae briefs:
    (1)  Decriminalization of abortion Spanish and English briefs in one PDF.  Backup copyEnglish brief. 
    (2)  Conscience and conscientious objection:  English brief.
    Spanish court decision
    allowed law decriminalizing of voluntary termination of pregnancy on three grounds.  
    Court decision in English (Unofficial translation) 
  • COLOMBIA Constitutional Court 2005, English brief and Spanish brief. The Right to Life, as protected under Article 4(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights, permits legal abortion.
  • COLOMBIA Constitutional Court 2020,  English brief. Expert Opinion submitted to the Constitutional Court of Colombia, Case Reference D-13956, Law 599 of 2000, Article 122, submitted November 4, 2020.   [Consenso internacional sobre descriminalización del aborto. Tendencia en América Latina sobre los estándares de derechos humanos en cuanto al aborto. Violaciones a los derechos humanos causados por la criminalización del aborto (inseguridad, estigma, desigualdad social, daños inherentes). Arbitrariedad y desproporcionalidad de la criminalización del aborto a partir de los estándares de del DIDH.Eventual decision C-055 of 2022, English summary by Causa Justa.   27-page Spanish communicado27-page unofficial English translationNota de Prensa (Spanish).   Unofficial English translation.  (Abortion was decriminalized within 24 weeks of gestation.]
  • DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Constitutional Court, 2015.  English brief Spanish brief. focused on: Evolving interpretation of the criminal law, consistently with the proportionality principle.  Fetus has a constitutional value, but does not hold legal rights.  The state has an interest in protecting prenatal life consistently with women’s rights.  Submitted April 25, 2015.
  • MEXICO Supreme Court, 2009, English brief. Spanish brief.  re unconstitutionality claim for Article 7 amendment by the state of Baja California.  The Right to Life, as protected under Article 4(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights, permits legal abortion.
  • MEXICO Supreme Court, 2007, English brief.  Decriminalization of abortion and related health law reforms are consistent with Mexico’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
  • NICARAGUA Supreme Court, 2007, rev. 2008, English brief. Spanish brief.The Right to Life, as protected under Article 4(1) of the American Convention on Human Rights, permits legal abortion.
  • POLAND, Constitutional Tribunal, 2018, Expert opinion in English Expert Opinion in Polish.  Expert Opinion submitted to the President of the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland, Case Reference K-13/17, Sept. 21, 2018. [international human rights law on the progressive decriminalization of abortion; guiding principles of Non-Arbitrariness and Proportionality, and
    the ground and procedural protection for lawful abortion in the case of serious fetal malformation].
  • UNITED STATES Supreme Court- Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, Argued against governmental coercion of women’s reproductive choices. Advocated reaffirmation of Roe v Wade.    [Rebecca J. Cook, Bernard M. Dickens & K. Kolbert,   Brief of Amici Curiae on behalf of 22 International Women's Health Organizations in support of the Appellees in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, No. 88-605 U.S. Supreme Court (1989) 24 pp.   Reprinted in Women's Rights Law Reporter 11: 191-212 (1989).