Haga clic aquí para ver la Tabla de Casos / Jurisprudencia

This Table of Cases related to abortion law builds upon the 2014 book Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective:  Cases and Controversies, ed. Rebecca J. Cook, Joanna N. Erdman and Bernard Dickens (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014).   This table includes Domestic, Regional and International Jurisprudence. 
More information about the book is online here.

For a comprehensive and searchable database of legal resources on abortion care in Latin America, visit the Legal Section of the RepoCLACAI online here.

Domestic Jurisprudence   


Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación [National Supreme Court] March 13, 2012, F., A.L., Expediente Letra “F,” No. 259, Libro XLVI, (Arg.) Spanish decision onlineBackup copy.     Unofficial English translation.   English summary on Reprohealthlaw blog.  [abortion allowed in cases of rape; no judicial authorization necessary]

Corte Suprema Justicia de la Nación [National Supreme Court] March 5, 2002, Portal de Belén v. Ministerio de Salud y Acción Social de la Nación s/amparo en anticoncepción de emergencia, No. P.709.XXXVI,  Spanish decision online.*  Backup copy. [emergency contraceptive brand “Imediat” deemed abortive, and therefore banned.]

Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación [National Supreme Court] Jan. 11 2001, T., S. v. Gobierno de La Ciudad de Buenos Aires, No. T.421.XXXVI, Spanish decision. Backup copy.  English summary of case.* [Court allowed induced labour in anencephaly case; hospital or city government must provide a substitute for a conscientious objector.]

Juzgado en lo Contencioso Administrativo y Tributario Poder Judicial de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires [Administrative and Fiscal Court of the City of Buenos Aires] 2008, Profamilia Asoc. Civil. c. Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires y otros s/impugnación de actos administrativos, Expte: EXP 31117/0, Spanish decision.   Backup copy.   English summary. [Court reaffirmed access to non-punishable abortions; ordered investigations into persons who tried to obstruct one.]

Sala “A” de la Cámara de Apelaciones de la Provincia de Chubut [Court of Appeal of the Province of Chubut] 2010, P., M., Expte. 93/10, Spanish decision (direct download).  Backup copy. [Abortion is allowed for a rape victim, even without mental illness/disability.]

Sala “B” de la Cámara en lo Criminal de la Provincia de Río Negro [Criminal Court of Appeal of the Province of Río Negro] May 2009, F.N.M.,  Spanish decision.   Backup copy.  [Abortion is allowed for a rape victim, even without mental illness/disability.]

Superior Tribunal de la Provincia de Chubut [Supreme Court of the Province of Chubut]  2010, F., A.L. s/ medida autosatisfactiva, Expte. 21.912-f-2010, Decision onlineSpanish summary and decision.   Backup copy.  [Abortion is allowed for rape victims.]

Suprema Corte de Justicia [Supreme Court of the Province of Buenos Aires] 2002, C.R.O v. Province of Buenos Aires, Case C 85566, Spanish decisionBackup copy.  [Induced labour is allowed in the case of anencephaly.]

Suprema Corte de la Provincia de Buenos Aires [Supreme Court of the Province of Buenos Aires] 2005, C.P. d. P., A.K. s/autorización, LLBA, Causa Ac. 95.464,  June 2005, Spanish decision Backup copy.  [Medical professionals do not need judicial authorization before performing legal abortion when there is a risk to the woman’s health or life.]

Suprema Corte de la Provincia de Buenos Aires [Supreme Court of the Province of Buenos Aires] 2006, "R., L.M., ‘NN Persona por nacer. Protección. Denuncia.’" Causa Ac. 98.830, Spanish decision.*   Backup copy.["L.M.R. case": a raped woman with a disability was denied abortion by a judge, but this higher court allowed abortion, and reiterated that judicial authorization is unnecessary for legal abortions.]

Tribunal de Familia de Bahía Blanca [Family Court of the City of Bahía Blanca] October 1, 2008, S.G.N s/situación, Causa 30.790. [not online.]  [Court authorized abortion for a raped girl with a mental disability.]


Clubb v Edwards  [and] Preston v Avery [2019] HCA 11, (10 April 2019)  M46/2018 & H2/2018.  Decision onlineBackup copyComment on the decision.  [Safe access zones outside abortion providers was upheld as constitutional.]


Verfassungsgerichtshof[Constitutional Court] October 11, 1974, Erklaerungen des Verfassungsgerichtshofs 221 [Not online.] [Constitutional court upheld penal code provision which decriminalized abortions within the first three months of pregnancy.]


Tribunal Constitucional Plurinacional [Plurinational Constitutional Court of Bolivia, Sentencia 0206/2014, February 5, 2014.   Buscar 0206/2014.*  Spanish decision also online here.Backup copy in SpanishSummary in English. [ Abortion ban is constitutional, except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life and health of the woman;  having to report rape to the police and obtain judicial authorization before obtaining an abortion  is unconstitutional.]


Supremo Tribunal Federal [Supreme Court] 2008, Ação Direta de Inconstitucionalidade No. 3.510, Portuguese decision (slow download).  Backup copy. [research use of embryos and stem cells upheld as constitutional. Pre-implantation embryos are not persons.  In-vitro fertilization is consistent with family planning rights.]

Supremo Tribunal Federal [Supreme Court] April 12, 2012, ADPF 54/DF.  Portuguese decision Backup copy. English summary,* [Anencephaly: penal code provisions criminalising abortion of anencephalic fetuses are unconstitutional.)

Supremo Tribunal Federal [Supreme Court] November 29, 2016  "Habeas Corpus" ruling No. 84.025-6/RJ. English Translation of RulingSymposium in EnglishOfficial summary in Portuguese: Noticias STF em português.      Decision in Portuguese.   Backup copy.    [Prohibiting abortion within three months' gestation violates the rights of women, including equality rights.]


McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138, 93 D.L.R. (4th) 415 (Supreme Court of Canada).  Decision online
Backup copy.  [Patient-physician relationship based on fiduciary duty; physicians to act with the utmost faith and loyalty.]

R. v. Morgentaler, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30, 44 D.L.R. (4th) 385 (Supreme Court of Canada),  Decision onlineBackup copy.  [Decriminalized abortion in Canada; law that allowed abortion only at certified hospitals after approval by an abortion committee  is unconstitutional due to excessive requirements and delay in accessing services.]

Tremblay v. Daigle, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 530 (Supreme Court of Canada).  Decision online. Backup copy.  [A fetus is not a "person".]

Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, 2018 ONSC 579, File no. 499/16/ 500/16, Decision of Jan 31, 2018 (Ontario: Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court). Decision online.  Backup copy.  Summary of Case.    [Conscientious objectors who are physicians must provide an effective referral to another provider.]

Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, 2019 ONCA 393, Doc. no. C65397, Decision of May 15, 2019. (Canada: Ontario Court of Appeals)  Decision online.   Backup copy.  [Upheld decision of 2018.]


Corte Suprema de Justicia [Supreme Court] August 30, 2001, Sentencia Rol 2186-2001, [emergency contraception.
Decision in Spanish.  Backup copy.  [Protection of the unborn begins at conception, so emergency contraception is banned as a form of abortion.]

Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court] April 18, 2008, Sentencia Rol 740-07-CDS.  Decision in SpanishBackup copy.  [2006 government policy announced availability ofemergency contraception (EC) for anyone over 14. Court could not determine medical effects of EC on a fertilized egg, and banned EC since life begins at conception in the Constitution.]

Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court,  2017,  STC Rol N° 3729(3751)-17 CPT.  Spanish Decision.  Backup copy.   Accompanying documents.   Amicus Submissions.      Síntesis en Espanol.
English Decision with Synthesis and Table of Contents for both English and Spanish editions, Unofficial translation.
Synthesis in English (unofficial translation).   Symposium in English.  [Court upheld as constitutional a new law decriminalizing abortion on three grounds: imminent risk to life of mother; fatal fetal disease and pregnancy resulting from rape, but institutions can invoke conscientious objection.]

Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court,  2019, STC Rol N° 5572-18-CDS / 5650-18-CDS (acumuladas). Spanish Decision Backup copyEnglish summary.  [Upheld unconstitutionality claim against new regulations governing institutional conscientious objection.]


Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] 1997, Sentencia C-013/97. Decision in SpanishBackup copyEnglish summary.  [abortion is a criminally punishable act, but Court allowe lower sentencing for abortion crime if the pregnancy resulted from rape.]

Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] 2002, Sentencia C-370/02.  Decision in SpanishBackup copy.  [proportionality principle requires that criminalization be avoided when the state has less restrictive means to secure the same values]

Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] May 10, 2006, Sentencia C-355/06.  Decision in SpanishBackup copy.
Official English summaryBackup English summary.   Excerpts in EnglishExcerpts in Spanish.  [Abortion not punishable on grounds of woman’s health or life; serious fetal malformations; or rape, incest or artificial insemination without consent, if unlawful act was reported to authorities.]

Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] 2008, Sentencia T-209/08. Decision in Spanish.   Backup copyEnglish translation.   Summary in English.  [Conscientious objection can only be invoked by natural persons, not institutions; health care system must guarantee an adequate number of providers to provide services for legal abortions.]

Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] 2009, Sentencia  T-388/09.  Decision in Spanish.    Backup copy.  Summary in English.   [Conscientious objection is not an absolute right; it is only allowed when there is another capable health provider is available soon enough to avoid risking the woman’s life or health.]

Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] 2011, Sentencia T-841/2011, Decision in SpanishBackup copy.   Summary in English.  [Health administrator forced to pay damages for obstructing a legal abortion in a case where doctor had certified risk to a minor’s mental health.]

Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] August 10, 2012, Sentencia T-627/12.  Decision in Spanish.  Backup copySummary in English.  [State must provide accurate information; three state officials must correct false information about emergency contraception, abortion and conscientious objection.]

Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court], 2018, Sentencia SU-096/18. Decision in Spanish. [government to facilitate access to abortion despite conscientious objection.]

Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] December 11, 2019, Sentencia SU-599/19.  . Decision in Spanish
Comment in English.  [Females forced into an armed group who suffer forced contraception or forced abortion qualify as "victims" in reparations law after armed conflict.]

Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] March 2, 2020. Sentencia C-088-20. Expediente D-13225, Boletín No. 25:  La ausencia de claridad, certeza, especificidad pertinencia y suficiencia en los cargos de inconstitucionalidad formulados en contra del artículo 122 del Código Penal, condujo a que la Corte se inhibiera de proferir una decisión de fondo.  Decision in Spanish. New link to Decision online in Spanish.  News article in English.  [Three exceptions to criminal law against abortion will continue; all other abortion remains illegal.]

***Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court] February 21, 2022, Sentencia C-055-22.  Expediente D-13.956   Entire decision online in Spanish (414 pages)Backup copy of decision in Spanish.  Unofficial English translation.
27-page Spanish press releaseEnglish summary of Press ReleaseNota de Prensa (1 pagina). 
Comment by Isabel C. Jaramillo Sierra
. [Abortion is decriminalized within 24 weeks of gestation, and thereafter permitted on specified grounds.]


Corte Suprema de Justicia de Costa Rica, Sala Constitucional [Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica, Constitutional Chamber] 2000,  Sentencia No. 2000-02306.  Decision in Spanish.  Backup copy.  [ ban on in vitro fertilization (due to prenatal personhood)].

Corte Suprema de Justicia de Costa Rica, Sala Constitucional [Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica, Constitutional Chamber]   March 17, 2004, Resolución No 02792-04, Expediente 02-007331-0007-CO.  Decision in SpanishBackup copy. [re prenatal personhood, constitutionality of the crime of abortion upheld],

Corte Suprema de Justicia de Costa Rica, Sala 3 Constitucional [Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica, Constitutional Chamber] 2004, Exp. 00-200086-0456-PE, Sentencia 442/2004. May 7, 2004.   Decision in Spanish.   Backup copy. [re:prenatal personhood; health provider convicted of homicide]

Corte Suprema de Justicia de Costa Rica, Sala Constitucional [Supreme Court of Justice of Costa Rica, Constitutional Chamber] Nov 14, 2005,  Exp: 01-200114-0414-PE  Sentencia 1267/2005.  Decision in Spanish.  Backup copy.  [re prenatal personhood, wrongful death of fetus]


Constitutional Court of Croatia.  Decision of February 21, 2017.  Rješenje Ustavnog Suda Republike Hrvatske, broj: U-I-60/1991 i dr. od 21.veljace 2017.  Official Gazette no. 25/17.    Decision online in Croatian.   Backup copy.  Summary in English from CRR.      Court's Press release in EnglishCourt's Headnote in EnglishUnofficial abridged translation into EnglishSame translation from the Constitutional Court's website.  [Upheld as constitutional: Law allowing abortion on request within first ten weeks of pregnancy, and thereafter in cases of rape, risk to the woman’s life, or severe fetal impairments.]


Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court], Sentencia 0014-2005RA,  June 14, 2006, José Fernando Rosero Rhode c. Instituto Nacional de Higiene y Medicina Tropical “Leopoldo Izquiéta Pérez" y el Ministro de Salud S/Acción de Amparo.  Spanish Decision (direct download).  Backup copy.  Summary in English.  [Constitutional court upheld ban of emergency contraceptives, deciding that the rights of women do not take precedence over the rights of the unborn after fertilization occurs.]

*Corte Constitucional [Constitutional Court], Acción Pública de Inconstitucionalidad  Expediente No. 34-19-IN/21, Decision of April 28, 2021.  Summary in SpanishDecision in Spanish.   Backup copyNews article on case.  [Abortion allowed in all cases of rape; previously only allowed in cases of rape if woman had a mental disability.]


Supreme Court of El Salvador, Decision 18/98, Nov 20, 2007.  Sentencia in Spanish.   Extra copy.  [Law criminalizing all abortion upheld as constitutional.]

Supreme Court of El Salvador, Constitutional Chamber, B./2013, Decision 310-2013, May 28, 2013 (Case of "Beatriz"
Decision in SpanishExtra copyNews story on case.   [Woman with lupus and kidney failure denied abortion for fetus with anencephaly.]  [See also Inter-American Commission of Human Rights below.]


Conseil Constitutionnel [Constitutional Court] January 15, 1975, Decision No. 74-54 DC.  D.S. Jur. 529 [1975] A.J.D.A. 134.  Decision in FrenchBackup copy.  Official English translation Backup copy.  [Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Act upheld as constitutional to allow abortions in cases of necessity or distress after a woman has received counselling.]

Conseil Constitutionnel [Consitutional Court] June 27, 2001, Decision No. 2001-446 DC.  Decision in French. Backup copyOfficial English translation. Backup copy. [Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy and Contraception Act declared constitutional,  abortion is unrestricted within 12 weeks (increased from 10 weeks).]

Conseil d’État [Council of State] (31 October 1980), No. 13028. Decision in FrenchBackup copy.  [A woman can choose abortion without including her spouse in the process established by law; husband’s claim seeking damages from hospital dismissed.]


Bundesverfassungsgericht [Federal Constitutional Court] February 25, 1975, 39 BVerfGE 1.  Decision in German.   English translation by R. Jonas and J. Gorby Backup copy.  [Abortions on request within 3 months struck down as unconstitutional, except in cases of rape or danger to the mother’s health or where a child would be born with health problems amounting to grave hardship; the unborn is protected under the Constitution.]

Bundesverfassungsgericht [Federal Constitutional Court] May 28, 1993, 88 BVerfGE 203.  Decision in German.   English translationBackup copy.  [Abortion would remain illegal, except within the first 12 weeks if the woman first attends dissuasive counseling; abortion remained legal in cases of rape, danger to mother’s health and severe fetal malformation.]


Alkotmánybíróság [Constitutional Court] 1998, 48/1998 (XI. 23), Magyar Közlöny [MK] 1998/105.   Decision in HungarianBackup copy.  Official English translation.  [Law allowing abortion when a pregnant woman is in a situation of "grave crisis" was upheld as constitutional, however the determination of "grave crisis" was deemed unconstitutional as it allowed a woman to self-declare the "grave crisis" by signing a form; this was a violation of the state’s obligation to protect the right to life of the fetus.]


Indu Devi v the State of Bihar and Others [2017] Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No. 14327/2017, Judgment of May 9, 2017 (Supreme Court of India).  Decision online (slow download).  Backup copy.  Comment on Reprohealthlaw blog  [HIV-positive raped woman tried to obtain an abortion at 17 weeks and experienced undue delays, for which State of Bihar was chastised. At Supreme Court she was 26 weeks pregnant, so request for abortion was denied because of risk of the procedure.]

Meera Santosh Pal and Ors v Union of India and Ors [2017]  Writ Petition (Civil) No. 17 of 2017, January 16 2017 (Supreme Court of India)  Decision onlineBackup copy.  [Abortion allowed for anencephalic fetus at 24 weeks due to risk to the woman’s health.]


Attorney General v. X, [1992] I.E.S.C. 1 (Supreme Court of Ireland).  Decision onlineBackup copySummary of case.  [Abortion allowed when there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, including risk of suicide.]

Baby Oladapo v. Minister for Justice, [2002]I.E.S.C. 44 (Supreme Court of Ireland),  Decision online.  Backup copy.  [Pregnant refugee claimant appealed a deportation order as a violation of right to life of the unborn; appeal dismissed, court determined right of unborn was not applicable.]

McGee v. Attorney General,[1974] I.R. 284 (Supreme Court of Ireland).  Decision online.    Backup copy.  [Married persons have a constitutional right to make decisions related to family planning, and these are protected by the right to privacy.]


A. v. B., 35 (iii) P.D. 57 (1981) (Supreme Court of Israel). [paternal consent not required]  For a summary in English, see: C. Shalev, "A Man's Right to be Equal: The Abortion Issue." Israel Law Review 1983; 18:381-430 at pp 384-5. [Paternal consent to abortion is  not required.]


Corte Costituzionale [Constitutional Court] February 18, 1975, no. 27, 98 Foro It. I, 515.  Decision in ItalianEnglish translation. [Penal code provision criminalizing all abortions deemed unconstitutional; fetus has a right to life, but abortion will be lawful if continuing the pregnancy endangers the life, physical or mental health of the mother.] 


 Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida – Kenya) & 3 others v Attorney General & 2 others; East Africa Center for Law & Justice & 6 others (Interested Party) & Women’s Link Worldwide & 2 others (Amicus Curiae) [2019] eKLR, Petrition No. 266 of 2015, Decision of June 11, 2019.  (High Court of Kenya at Nairobi, Constitutional and Human Rights Division), Decision of June 12, 2019.   Decision online. Backup copy.   Reprohealthlaw commentary.  [Raped teenager died of complications of botched illegal abortion after Ministry of Health withdrew training guidelines.  Abortion legally permitted in cases of rape where it causes danger to the life or health of the woman; government’s withdrawal of safe abortion guidelines was not justified.]

Republic v Jackson Namunya Tali [2014] eKLR, High Court Criminal Case No. 75 of 2009 (High Court of Kenya at Nairobi).    Decision onlineBackup copy.  Summary from Legal Grounds III.  [Court convicts nurse of murder over abortion-related death]

Republic v. Jackson Namunya Tali, [2017] Criminal Appeal No. 173 of 2016. October 19, 2017.  Decision online.    Backup copy.   Press release by CRR.   [Nurse acquitted by Court of Appeal after 8 years awaiting death penalty for abortion-related death.]

PAK & Salim Mohammed v. Attorney General & 3 Others (Constitutional Petition E009 of 2020) [2022] KEHC 262 (KLR) (24 March 2022)  Decision online.   Backup copy.    Press release by CRR. [abortion care is a fundamental constitutional right. Arrests of patients and clinicians are illegal. Parliament is directed to align law and policy with the Constitution.]


Case on the Recognition of Fetuses as Entities with Fundamental Rights,
Case No. 2004Hun-Ba81, July 31, 2008. 
Official Summary. [Fetus has constitutional right to life, but parents cannot inherit right to sue doctor on fetus's behalf.]

Case on the Prohibition of Revealing the Sex of a Fetus, Case No. 2004Hun-Ma1010, KCCR (Constitutional Court of Korea).  Decision of July 31, 2008.  Official summary in English Extra copy. [Prohibition of fetal sex disclosure is limited to before 32 weeks' gestation.]

Case on the Crimes of Abortion, Apr 11, 2019 / Case No. : 2017Hun-Ba127, KCCR  (Constitutional Court of Korea),  Court's own summary in English.   Official translationEnglish commentary by Prof. Yang. [Abortion law is unconstitutional and will be abolished in one year unless replaced.]


Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court] 2002, Acción de Inconstitucionalidad 10/2000, Decision in Spanish  (direct download)Backup copyNews article in English.   [upheld constitutionality of Federal District amendment to penal code which allowed abortion in cases of rape, unwanted artificial insemination, fetal malformations and danger to the mother’s health.]

Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court] 2008, Acción de inconstitucionalidad 146/2007 y su acumulada 147/2007 dated August 28, 2008 .   Decision in Spanish.   Backup copyDecision in English.   Backup copy-English.   Summary in English.  [Upholding judgement of 2002, balancing fetal personhood and the indications model.]

Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court] 2010, Controversia constitucional 54/2009. Document in Spanish.    Backup copy.  Summary in English from HRW.  [upheld as constitutional a federal health directive requiring health professionals to offer rape victims emergency contraception and legal abortion.]

Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court] 2011, Acción de inconstitucionalidad 11/2009. (Baja California) Decision in Spanish.   Backup copy.   News article in English.   [upheld amendment to its state constitution that life begins at conception which had the effect of limiting abortions.]

Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court] 2011, Acción de inconstitucionalidad 62/2009 (San Luis Potosí). Decision in Spanish.    Backup copy.   [Upheld amendment to state constitution that life begins at conception which had the effect of limiting abortions.]

Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, Segunda Sala [Supreme Court] 2018,  Amparo en Revisión 601/2017
[Case of "Marimar"] (Ciudad de Mexico) April 4, 2018.  Decision in Spanish.       Backup copy.   Commentary on Reprohealth.  [woman's denial of a legal abortion after rape was a violation of her rights]

Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, Segunda Sala [Supreme Court] 2018,  Amparo en Revisión 1170/2017, April 18, 2018 [Case of "Fernanda"] (Ciudad de Mexico) .  Decision in Spanish.   Backup copy.   Commentary on Reprohealth.   [woman's denial of a legal abortion after rape was a violation of her rights]

Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, Primera Sala [Supreme Court] 2019,  Amparo en Revisión 1388/2015, May 15, 2019.
[Case of "Marisa"/"Jane Doe"].  Decision in Spanish.       Backup copy.     English translationCommentary on Reprohealth.  [denying access to abortion is a violation of the right to health; the right to health involves a woman’s own perception and knowledge about her own standard of wellness]

*Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court] 2021,  Acción de inconstitucionalidad AI 148/2017, Sept 7, 2021  Decision in Spanish.   News report in English.   Official press release in SpanishOfficial press release in English.  [criminalizing abortion is unconstitutional; state interests in protecting fetus cannot outweigh the reproductive rights of women.]

*Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court] 2021, Acción de inconstitucionalidad AI 106/2018 and 107/2018), Sept. 7, 2021.  Decision in SpanishOfficial press release in English.  [states may not establish a right to life from the moment of conception in their local constitutions]

*Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court] 2021, Acción de inconstitucionalidad AI 54/2018, Sept 21, 2021.   Decision in SpanishDecision backup.    Official press release in English.  [struck down part of the General Law regulating health services nationwide, because it established an expansive right to conscientious objection by medical personnel, without establishing the limits necessary to ensure patients’ rights to healthcare]

Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación [Supreme Court], 2023..Review of Constitutional Protection. Amparo en revisión 267/2023. Sept. 6, 2023.Speaker: Justice Ana Margarita Ríos Farjat. Decided in the session of September 6, 2023. .Official Press release in SpanishDecision in Spanish.  [Abortion is decriminalized throughout the country.]


Achyut Kharel v. Government of Nepal, Writ No. 3352, 2061 (2008) (Supreme Court of Nepal).  Decision in EnglishBackup copy.  [law allowing abortion on request of woman within first 12 weeks upheld; no paternal consent required.]

*Annapurna Rana v. Kathmandu District Court, Writ No. 2187, 2053 (1998) (Supreme Court of Nepal).  [Supreme Court declared virginity test a violation of the constitutional right to privacy; privacy over one’s body and reproductive organs is an inviolable right]

Lakshmi Dhikta v. Government of Nepal, Writ No. 0757, 2067, Nepal Kanoon Patrika, para. 25 (2009) (Supreme Court of Nepal).   English translationBackup copy.   Summary in English.    [woman could not afford a legal abortion was forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy and give birth; Court held government has to guarantee safe and affordable abortion services including establishing a fund for abortion costs.]

Meera Dhungana v. Government of Nepal, Writ No. 55, 2058 (2002) (Supreme Court of Nepal).   English translation.   Backup copy.   [Rape law is unconstitutional because it excluded marital rape; legislature to create new rape law, consistent with decision of the Court.]

Prakash Mani Sharma v. Government of Nepal, Writ No. 064 (2008) (Supreme Court of Nepal).  English translationBackup copySummary in English.  [Court action brought over government inaction relating to uterus prolapse; constitutional rights of reproductive health are fundamental, non-derogable, non-restrictive and require meaningful implementation by the state, not only by legislation but also by infrastructure]


Right to Life New Zealand Inc. v. Abortion Supervisory Committee, [2008] 2 N.Z.L.R. 825 (High Court of New Zealand).  Decision online.   Backup copy.  [upheld law allowing abortion if continued pregnancy would result in serious danger to woman’s life or physical and mental health; noted that law is applied more liberally than Parliament intended, so review is necessary]

Right to Life New Zealand Inc. v. Abortion Supervisory Committee, [2012] N.Z.S.C. 68 (Supreme Court of New Zealand).  Decision onlineBackup copy.   [appeal of 2008 case dismissed; Advisory Committee could question consultants about how they were making decisions approving abortion under relevant law, but could not investigate decisions made in individual cases.]

NZ Health Professionals’ Alliance v Attorney-General, [2021] NZHC 2510 (*New Zealand High Court)   Decision online.     Commentary on decision.  [conscientious objection includes duty of effective referral; and employers must accommodate conscientious objection unless doing so would cause unreasonable disruption.]



Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court], Sentencia Exp. No. 7435-2006-PC/TC, November 13, 2006.  Decision onlineBackup copy.   Summary in English.   [Constitutional Court enforced Department of Health decision to provide emergency oral contraceptives free of charge throughout Peru, including access to the contraception and relevant information.]

Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court] 2009, ONG Acción de Lucha Anticorrupción Sin Componenda c. MINSA, Sentencia Exp. No. 02005-2009-PA/TC, October 16, 2009.  Decision in Spanish (30 MB).  [Constitutional Court revoked 2006 decision; ordered Ministry of Health to stop distributing emergency contraception to the public sector.]


Trybunal Konstitucyjny [Constitutional Tribunal] Case no. K 26/96, May 28, 1997 (Orzecznictwo Trybunału Konstytucyjnego, Rok1997).  Decision in Polish.    Backup copy.   Decision in EnglishNews article in English.   [abortion law allowing abortions up to 12 weeks for financial, emotional reasons struck down as unconstitutional]

Trybunal Konstitucyjny [Constitutional Tribunal]  Case No. K 1/20 (OTK ZU A/2021, item 4, October 22, 2020).  Press Release in Polish.    Auto-translation to EnglishComments by scholars, 2021. [court held unconstitutional an exception in the Family Planning Act of 1993 that provided for legal abortion in cases of fetal abnormalities. Result: almost total ban on abortion.]


Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court]1984, Acórdão No. 25/84, Acórdãos do Tribunal Constitucional II, April 4, 1984.  Decision in PortugueseBackup copy.   [upheld law decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape, risk to the woman’s health or fetal abnormalities]

Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court]1985, Acórdão No. 85/85, Acórdãos do Tribunal Constitucional V, June 25, 1985.  Decision in Portuguese.     Backup copy.   [upheld law decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape, risk to the woman’s health or fetal abnormalities]

Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court] 1998, Acórdão No. 288/98, Diário da República 91/98 Suplemento I.a Série, April 18, 1998.  Decision in Portuguese.    Backup copy.   Court summary in English.   [The referendum question asking the public whether abortion should be decriminalized within the first 10 weeks was constitutional and legal.] 

Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court] 2006, Acórdão No. 617/06, Diário da República I.a Série, November 20, 2006.   Decision in PortugueseBackup copy.   Court summary in English.   [The referendum question whether abortion should be decriminalized within the first 10 weeks if completed in a legally authorized health care establishment was constitutional and legal.]

Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court] 2010, Acórdão No. 75/2010, Diario da Republica vol. 60, March 26, 2010.  Decision in Portuguese Backup copy.   Court summary in English.  [upheld as constitutional:  law allowing abortion upon request within first 10 weeks: if performed under a doctor’s direction, at an officially recognized health facility, after a mandatory information session and a 3 day reflection period.]


Case no. RPA 0787/15/HC/KIG, Judgment of October 30 2015,(High Court of Rwanda, Kigali) [2015] Unreported,   Decision (redacted to preserve victim privacy).    Backup copy.     Summary in Legal Grounds III  [legal abortion for raped 13-year-old denied by first court, then allowed on appeal]


Ústavný Súd [Constitutional Court] 4 December 2007, PL. ÚS 12/01, Collection of Laws of the Slovak Republic, No. 14/2008, vol. 8.  Decision online.   Excerpts in English.   Overview in English.   [upheld constitutionality of 1986 law allowing abortions up to 12 weeks' gestation; abortions for “genetic” reasons such as fetal abnormalities allowed after 12 weeks]


Christian Lawyers' Association of South Africa & Others v. Minister of Health & Others, 1998(11) BCLR 1434 (T); 1998 (4)  SA 1113 (T) (Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court of South Africa)  Decision onlineBackup copy.   [upheld law that allows abortion upon request in first trimester, and abortion up to 20 weeks on grounds of mother’s physical or mental health, severe fetal abnormalities, rape or incest, or the mother’s social or economic circumstances.]

Christian Lawyers' Association v. National Minister of Health and Others, 2004(10) BCLR 1086 (T); 2004 (4) All SA 31 (T) (Transvaal Provincial Division of the High Court of South Africa).  Decision onlineBackup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Constitutional ruling that "women" in Choice of Termination of Pregnancy Act includes girls under 18, without consent of a guardian, with counselling or a cooling off period.]



Tribunal Constitucional [Constitutional Court] April 11, 1985, S.T.C. 53/1985, 1985-49 BJC 515.  Decision in Spanish.   Backup copy.   [upheld constitutionality of draft law decriminalizing abortion in cases of risk to physical or mental health of woman, cases of rape, and fetal malformation; law had procedural defects which needed correction; law was ultimately passed in July 1985]

Zurich Insurance PLC, Sucursal en España v. Doña Encarnacion y don César y Servicio Galego de Saude, Sentencia 00392/2017, Apelación 43/17 (High Court of Galicia at Coruña, Spain)  Decision in Spanish.   Backup copy.  Reprohealthlaw Blog summary and comment. [health service held accountable for conscientious objectors' delays and loss of uterus].

Tribunal Supremo de España, Sala Tercera, de lo Contencioso-administrativo, Sección 4ª, S 1231/2022, 3 Oct. 2022 (Rec. 6147/2021)  Decision in SpanishSpanish backup copyDecision in EnglishEnglish backup copy. [The Government cannot block public access to a website containing information or opinions without judicial authorization.  This includes the site of Women on Web which discusses access to abortion.]


Constitutional Court Ruling No. 4 / 2563 (2020) February 19, 2020 (2563). English summary (download from Court website).   Backup summary downloaded Feb 4, 2021.   News article.   [Declared unconstitutional: Criminal Code section 301, allowing a fine or up to three years in prison for a woman who had an abortion; Court ordered revision of this section.]


R.G. [GK], B. No: 2017/31619, 23/7/2020,.July 23, 2020. (Grand Chamber of the Turkish Constitutional Court)   27-page decision in Turkish. Backup copy. Official press release in English. Backup copy.  Comment  in English on IACL/AIDC Blog.. Article in English from a Turkish Journal of Constitutional law  [procrastination after rape victim applied for abortion violated the right to protect one’s corporeal and spiritual existence (provided under Article 17 of Turkish Constitution.]  


Barr v. Matthews, (1999) 52 B.M.L.R. 217 (High Court of England and Wales, Queen’s Bench Division).   [doctors invoking conscientious objection should immediately refer the patient to a colleague for care]

British Pregnancy Advisory Serv. v. Sec’y of State for Health, [2011] E.W.H.C. 235 (Admin) (High Court of England and Wales).  Decision online.   Backup copy.   [interpretation of Abortion Act 1967: women must take first and second doses of pills for medical abortions in a hospital or other health facility]

Gillick v. West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority, 3 All E.R. 402 (1985) (House of Lords).  Decision online.   Backup copy.   [doctors can provide advice and contraceptives to girls under the age of 16 without their parents' knowledge or consent]

Greater Glasgow Health Board v. Doogan and another, [2014] UKSC 68 (on appeal from [2013] CSIH 36), December 14, 2014 (UK Supreme Court)   Decision online.   News article.   [right to conscientious objection does not extend to those supervising the health professionals who perform abortions]

Paton v. Trustees of British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Another [1978] QB 276 (High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division).  Decision online with summary.   Backup copy.   [husband has no right to stop his wife from obtaining an abortion]

Petition of Mary Teresa Doogan and Concepta Wood, [2012] C.S.O.H. 32 (Outer House, Court of Session, Scotland).  Decision online.    Backup copy.   [right to conscientious objection does not extend to those supervising health professionals who perform abortions]

Petition of Mary Teresa Doogan and Concepta Wood, [2013] C.S.I.H. 36, P876/11 (Extra Division, Inner House, Court of Session, Scotland).   Decision onlineBackup copy.   [overturned 2012 decision, ruling that right to conscientious objection does extend to those supervising health professionals who perform abortions - (but see 2014 case: Greater Glasgow,  above)]

R (on the Application of Crowter and Ors) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care  [2021] EWHC 2536 (Admin) Case No. CO/2066/2020 (High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, London) Sept 23, 2021.  Judgment and summary.    [fetus has no established rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), so UK abortion law allowing legal abortions in cases of severe fetal abnormalities is compatible with ECHR.]

**R (on the Application of Crowter and Ors) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care EWCA Civ 1559 Case No: CA-2021-000314 (UK Court of Appeal (Civil Division) London, 25 Nov., 2022 Judgment summary. Decision online.  [UK legislation allowing abortion for substantial risk of a born child’s serious handicap (such as Down syndrome) is not incompatible with disabled persons’ human rights to respect for their private and family life and to nondiscrimination,]

R. (on the application of Purdy) v. Dir. of Pub. Prosecutions, [2009] U.K.H.L. 45 (House of Lords).  Decision online.    Backup copy.   Summary of case.  [Bioethical dispute (re assisted suicide), framed within European Convention of Human Rights paradigm]

R. (on the application of Smeaton) v. Secretary of State for Health, [2002] E.W.H.C. 610 (Admin) (High Court of England and Wales). Decision online.   Backup copy.   Summary of case.   [prescription, supply and use of emergency contraception does not constitute a criminal offence; emergency contraceptives do not cause miscarriage, because a miscarriage is the termination of an established pregnancy]

R. (S.B.) v. Governors of Denbigh High School, [2006] U.K.H.L. 15, [2007] 1 A.C. 100 (House of Lords).  Decision online.    Backup copy.  Summary of case.   [conscientious objection: Muslim dress case - mentions potential limitation of conscientious objection: Under ICCPR article 9, a  person’s right to manifest their religious beliefs can be denied if there is a justification in a particular time and place.]

R. v. Bourne, [1938] 3 All E.R. 615 (Crown Court of England and Wales).  Decision online.    Backup copy.   Summary of case.  [doctor acquitted of performing an abortion on a 14-year-old girl who was gang raped by soldiers, because the woman's life was reasonably thought to be in danger]

R v Sarah Louise Catt [2013] EWCA Crim 1187 (Crown Court of England and Wales).   Decision online.    Backup copy.   [sentence of woman who pled guilty to administering poison with intent to procure a miscarriage was reduced from 8 years to 3.5 years]

R. v. Smith [1974] 1 All E.R. 376, 381 (Court of Appeal of England and Wales).    Brief summary of case.   [jury can consider whether a doctor acted in good faith while authorizing an abortion]

Royal College of Nurses v. Department of Health and Social Security, [1981] 1 All E.R. 545 (House of Lords).   Decision online.    Backup copySummary of case.   [nurses are legally protected from liability when they are involved in abortions in accordance with the 1967 Abortion Act]


Family Planning Association of Northern Ireland v. Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, [2004] NICA 39 (8 October 2004)] (Court of Appeal, Northern Ireland).  Decision online.    Backup copy.   [abortion for fetal abnormality is only lawful the pregnancy threatens the woman’s life OR would have serious and permanent or long term effects on her physical or mental health]

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Re Judicial Review [2015] NIQB 96, November 30, 2015  (High Court of Justice in Belfast).    Decision online.   Backup copyOfficial summary.   Reprohealthlaw blogpost.  [Northern Ireland’s abortion laws are incompatible with European Convention on Human Rights Article 8 because it does not allow exceptions for fatal fetal abnormalities, rape, or incest.]

In the matter of an application by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for Judicial Review [2018] UKSC 27  October 24, 2017.  On appeal from: [2017] NICA 42  (Supreme Court, U.K.), 7 June, 2018  Decision onlineBackup copy.    Press summary (PDF).   [substantial agreement with NIHRC ruling of 2015 above, but NIHRC lacked standing to bring the appeal, so could not declare NI abortion laws incompatible].

Sarah Ewart v  NI Departments of Justice and Health  [case also known as: "Ewart's (Sarah Jane) Application"], October 3, 2019.  (High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division)   [2019] NIQB 88.      Decision in English.   Backup Copy.   Summary.  [Court followed the ruling of the UK Supreme Court that Northern Ireland abortion law is incompatible with ECHR Article 8 in relation to fatal foetal abnormality]

R (on the application of A and B) v Secretary of State for Health, decision of  [2017] UKSC 41, June 14, 2017 (Supreme Court, U.K.) [Northern Ireland women were not entitled to NHS-funded abortion in England when this case was brought; re case of 15-year-old girl from NI who had to travel and pay for an abortion.Decision online.   Backup copy.    Comments by Sheelagh McGuinness and Keith Syrett.    Newspaper report.    [Northern Ireland women are not entitled to NHS-funded abortion in England; re case of 15-year-old girl from NI who had to travel and pay for an abortion.]

In re NIHRC (Abortion), "In the matter of an application by The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for Judicial Review - In the matter of the failure by the Secretary of State, Executive Committee and Minister of Health to provide women with access to Abortion and Post Abortion Care in All Public Health Facilities in Northern Ireland [2021] NIQB 91 Delivered 14 October 2021.    Decision onlineBackup copy Official SummaryNews story.   [Secretary of State failed to comply with 2019 Act  to "expeditiously" provide women in Northern Ireland access to high quality abortion and post abortion services].


Bellotti v. Baird, 443 U.S. 622 (1979) (U.S. Supreme Court).   Decision online.     Alternate link.   Summary of decision.  [Massachusetts law on parental consent declared unconstitutional; where a state requires a minor to obtain parental consent before procuring abortion, there must also be an alternative procedure for a minor to procure abortion without parental consent]

Brownfield v. Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital, 208 Cal. App. 3d 405, 256 Cal. Rptr. 240 (1989) (California Second District, Court of Appeal).   Decision online.   [Catholic hospital did not violate a law when it (1) refused to provide emergency contraception to a rape victim and (2) refused to inform her that she could obtain emergency contraception from a health professional within 72 hours of the rape.]

Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, No. 19-1392, 597 U.S. _ (2022) (Supreme Court of the United States), June 24, 2022  Decision online.  Case summary by CRR.    Amicus brief by Martha Davis et al.  [held that the Constitution of the United States does not confer a right to abortion].

Gonzales v. Carhart,550 U.S. 124 (2007) (U.S. Supreme Court).   Decision online.     Backup copy.   Summary of case.   [Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, a law which effectively banned most late-term abortions: states have an interest in preserving life and the ban fit into this interest as it did not create an undue burden on women]

In RE Initiative Petition No. 349, State Question No. 642, 1992 OK 122 (1992) (Supreme Court of Oklahoma).   Decision online. [Oklahoma Supreme Court prohibited ballot question on abortion because if it was answered in the affirmative, it would be unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey]

June Medical Services v. Russo 140 S.Ct. 2103 (2020).  Decision online.    Backup copy.   Summary of case from CRR.  [declared unconstitutional a Louisiana law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital privileges at a state-authorized hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.]

N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Serv. v. V.M., 974 A.2d 448 (2009) (Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division).   Decision online.  [ruled that the refusal to consent to a caesarian section, used in maternal child abuse case, is beyond the legislative scope of child-protective statutes]

Planned Parenthood v. Danforth, 428 U.S. (1976) (U.S. Supreme Court).   Decision online.   Summary of case.   [declared unconstitutional: a Missouri law requiring spousal consent for a woman to obtain an abortion, and requiring parental consent for a minor to obtain an abortion]

Planned Parenthood of Kansas City v. Ashcroft, 462 U.S. 476 (1983) (U.S. Supreme Court).   Decision online.    [Missouri law which mandated abortions after 12 weeks be performed in a hospital unconstitutional; other Missouri laws allowing a pathology report for abortions, requiring a second doctor be present at abortions performed after viability, and mandating minors to obtain parental or court consent for an abortion were upheld as constitutional].

Planned Parenthood of Minn., N.D. & S.D. v. Rounds, 530 F.3d 724 (2011) (Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals).   Revised 2012 Decision.    Backup copy.    [upheld South Dakota law requiring doctors to inform abortion-seeking patients that abortions increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide; the law was not considered a violation of freedom of speech or due process rights.]

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) (U.S. Supreme Court).   Decision online Backup copy.  Summary of case.    [Court upheld Roe v. Wade, new "undue burden" standard in assessing the validity of abortion laws; undue burden defined as “substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability”]

Rodriguez v. City of Chicago, 156 F. 3rd 771 (1998) (Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals).   Decision online.     Backup copy.  [Illinois police officer who objected to abortion wanted to be exempt from providing security to abortion clinics on the basis that it acts as religious discrimination; court dismissed the claim]

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) (U.S. Supreme Court).   Decision online.       Backup copy.   [14th amendment right to privacy protects a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion; the right is not absolute and must be balanced against government interests in protecting prenatal health; trimester model was employed, such that women could have an abortion on request during first trimester; reasonable regulations in the second and third trimester were permissible as long as there are exceptions for health considerations]

Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000) (U.S. Supreme Court).   Decision online.    Backup copy.   Comment on case.  [Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortion without regard for health of the mother declared unconstitutional; Court used the undue burden standard developed in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey]

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 579 U.S. 582 (2016).  Decision online.   Backup copy.   Commentary on case from Planned Parenthood.   [ aTexas law which required abortion providers to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centres and that abortion providers must have admitting privileges at a hosptial within 30 miles was declared unconstitutional as they created an undue burden for women seeking an abortion.]


Mildred Mapingure v. Minister Of Home Affairs and 2 Others (2014), Judgment No. SC 22/14, Civil Appeal No. SC 406/12
(Zimbabwe, Supreme Court).  Decision online.   Backup copy.   Commentary on Legal Grounds.   [police officer and doctor failed to carry out their professional duties; their delays and omissions ended up denying a rape victim an abortion]

Regional Jurisprudence  


Mehar Singh Bansel v. R., (1959) E.A.L.R. 813 (East African Court of Appeal).   Case summary and download.    Backup copy.   [upheld doctor's conviction of manslaughter for abortion-related death]

R. v. Edgal, Idike and Ojugwu,(1938) W.A.C.A. 133 (West African Court of Appeal).   [upheld convictions of three Nigerians convicted for providing anything which is intended to procure a miscarriage, after court applied English Bourne case]


Ahmad (X.) v. United Kingdom (1981) 4 E.H.R.R. 126.  Decision online.   Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Inadmissibility: freedom of religion is not absolute, and can be influenced by the situation of the person claiming that freedom]

Brüggemann and Scheuten v. Federal Republic of Germany, App. No. 6959/75 (1981) 3 E.H.R.R. 244.  Decision online.   Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [German law which criminalized abortion except under certain circumstances did not breach Article 8; a woman’s private life becomes closely connected with the developing fetus]

Church of Scientology v. Sweden, App. No. 7805/77, 16 Eur. Comm’n. H.R. Dec. and Rep. 68 (1979), Decision onlineBackup copy.   [Inadmissible, since the advertising prohibitions restricted its commercial freedom, not its freedom of religion]

Hercz (R.H.) v. Norway, App. No. 17004/90, Eur. Comm’n H.R. (1992).  Decision online. Backup copy.   [man's complaint that his partner had an abortion notwithstanding his objection to the procedure was declared inadmissible]

Paton (W.P.) v. United Kingdom, App. No. 8416/78, Eur. Comm’n H.R. (1980).  Decision onlineBackup copy.   Summary of decision.   [man's application surrounding his partner having an abortion without his consent declared inadmissible; Commission noted that this claim was manifestly ill-founded and the woman had the abortion to protect her own life]

X v. Austria, App. No. 7045/75, Eur. Comm’n H.R. (1976).  Decision onlineBackup copy.   [Application which challenged Austrian penal code decriminalizing abortion within first three months was ruled inadmissible, because the applicant, being male, did not have standing]

X v. Norway, App. No. 867/60, Eur. Comm’n H.R. (1961). [Inadmissible for lack of standing; petitioner could not claim to be a "victim".]  


A, B, and C v. Ireland, [2010] E.C.H.R. 2032.    Decision online.    Backup copyCommentary on case.   [Ireland's restrictive abortion law did not violate the ECHR. However, Ireland's failure to adopt legislation and effective and accessible procedure for women to access lawful abortions under that scheme was a violation of Article 8]

***Airey v. Ireland, [1979] 2 E.H.R.R. 305.  Decision online.    Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Commission had found that barriers to a woman's quest to obtain a judicial separation from an abusive husband amounted to a violation of Article 6 and 8 "The Convention is intended to guarantee not rights that are theoretical or illusory but rights that are practical and effective." cited by Joanna Erdman page 132, note 73, of Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective (2014) to Illustrate the ECHR's turn to positive obligations and procedural rights.]

**A.M. and others v. Poland [2023]  Application no. 4188/21, 4957/21, 5014/21,5523/21, 5876/21, 6114/21, 6217/21, 8857/21) (European Court of Human Rights, May 16, 2023) ruled these eight cases inadmissible because each applicant could not claim to be a victim of a violation of the ECHR owing to risk of a future violation. Press Release. Decision of 16 May 2023.{Backup copies forthcoming}

***Belgian Linguistic Case (No. 2) (1968) 1 E.H.R.R. 252.  Decision online.   Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [The European Convention is considered subsidiary to national laws by competent national authorities, cited by Joanna Erdman p.130, note 56.]

Boso v. Italy, App. No. 50490/99,Eur. Ct. H.R. (2002).  Decision online.   Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Inadmissible: complaint of a man whose wife had had a legal abortion without his consent; a man's rights to private and family life and right to marriage and family yield to the mother's rights because she is the primary person impacted by a pregnancy]

Costa and Pavan v. Italy, No. 54270/10, 28th August 2012.   Decision online.     Backup copy.    Comment by Adriana StephanoAcademic article by Gregor Puppinck.  [re assisted reproduction and abortion for healthy carriers of cystic fibrosis] 

D. v. Ireland, App. No. 26499/02, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2006).  Decision online.     Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Health insurance denied claim of woman who travelled to UK for abortion; case declared inadmissible because she did not exhaust domestic remedies regarding the availability of abortion in Ireland in cases of fatal fetal abnormality]

Grimmark v. Sweden,   App. No. 43726/17, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2020)  Decision online Backup copyComment on decision.   [Sweden's decision not to hire midwives who refused to participate in abortions complied with Article 9, since the freedom to manifest one's religious beliefs is subject to qualifications; applicant's complaint was deemed inadmissible]

***Kiyutin v. Russia, App. No. 2700/10, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2011).  Decision online.     Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Russia's refusal of a residence permit to an HIV+ man to live his wife and child violated the right to nondiscrimination in the exercise of private life; example of stereotyping and stigmatization cited by Rebecca Cook, pp 366-367.]

***Marckx v. Belgium, (1979) 2 E.H.R.R. 330.  Decision online.     Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Belgian law where there was no legal bond between an unmarried mother and a child violated Article 8 as it created lesser inheritance and intestate rights to "illegitimate" children when compared to children born within marriages.] [Example of how the Court reads implicit positive obligations in Article 8, which guarantees a right to respect for private life, mentioned by Joanna Erdman, p137, at note 95.]

**M.L. v. Poland (Application no. 40119/21) (European Court of Human Rights, December 14, 2023) [Woman forced to travel for abortion of malformed fetus. Court found violation of ECHR Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the ECHR, following a 2020 Constitutional Court ban on legal abortion in case of foetal abnormalities. Press release. Decision of 14 Dec 2023. {Backup copies forthcoming}

Open Door Counselling and Dublin Well Woman v. Ireland, App. Nos. 14234/88 and14235/88, Eur. Ct. H.R. (1992).   Decision online.   Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [restrictions that prevented two non-governmental organizations from informing pregnant women about abortion clinics in Great Britain were deemed a violation of freedom of expression in Article 10; Ireland sought to rely on the right to life in Article 2 which the Commission found did not apply]

P. and S. v. Poland, App. No. 57375/08, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2012).  Decision online.     Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Poland violated rights of a minor who sought a legal abortion after rape. Minor was subjected to: doctor’s refusal to help and refusal to provide a referral; distorted information about the law; detention in a juvenile centre, and disclosure of the minor’s personal and medical data to the press; Minor and her mother were harassed by doctors, anti-abortion groups, and representatives of the Catholic church]

Pichon and Sajous v. France, Case No. 49853/99, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2001).  Decision in English.   Engish backup copy.    Decision in French.   French backup copy.   Summary of decision.  [pharmacist complaint inadmissible; pharmacists cannot, based on their religious beliefs, refuse to sell contraceptives that have been prescribed by doctor]

***Pretty v. United Kingdom, 35 Eur. Ct. H.R. Rep. 1 (2002).  Decision online.    Backup copy.   Summary of decision.  [re: assisted dying, an example of a dispute about bioethical legislation framed within a human rights paradigm] chapter by Sally Sheldon, page 190, note 4.]

R.R. v. Poland, App. No. 27617/04, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2011).  Decision online.    Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Poland violated applicant’s rights to freedom from inhumane and degrading treatment and respect for private life by denying her timely access to diagnostic tests and information which would have enabled her to decide whether or not to seek a legal abortion; due to such delays, the woman gave birth to a child with Turner syndrome]

***S. and Marper v. United Kingdom, App. Nos. 30562/04 and 30566/04, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2007).  Decision online.      Backup copy.   [keeping DNA samples in national databases after a person has been acquitted of a crime is a violation of article 8; shows how risk of stigmatization can interfere with patients' right to private life] {in Cook, p.365, note 131}

***S.L. v. Austria, App. No. 45330/99, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2001). Decision online.     Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [law criminalizing same sex activity between someone who is 14-18 with someone over the age of 19 was a violation of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8; example of how risk of stigmatization can interfere with patients' right to private life] {in Cook,  p.359n98, 365,n132}

Tysiąc v. Poland, 45 E.H.R.R. 42 (2007). Decision online.   Backup copy.     Summary of decision.  [Poland violated Article 8 rights of a woman who was denied access to a legal abortion due to risk to her health; she was forced to give birth and her health was negatively impacted as a result]

Vo v. France, App. No. 53924/00, 40 E.H.R.R. 12 (2004).  Decision online.       Backup copy.    Summary of decision.   [applicant awarded damages for medical negligence which resulted in the loss of her pregnancy; Court decided not to rule on whether an unborn child is protected under Article 2]

Z. v. Poland, App. No. 46132/08, Eur. Ct. H. R. (2012).  Decision onlineBackup copy.   Summary of decision.   [no violations found in case of a woman repeatedly denied medical care for a condition she contracted while pregnant, since doctors feared that treatment would harm the fetus; result: both the mother and the fetus died]


Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL) v. Italy (2016), Complaint No. 91/2013 (European Committee of Social Rights, Strasbourg, France)  Decision online.   Backup copy.   Comment on Reprohealthlaw Blog.    [Italy violated the right to work and the right to dignity in work as doctors who did not conscientiously object to abortion had most of their workload consist of abortion care which had the effect of restricting other career opportunities and prospects.]

International Planned Parenthood European Network v. Italy (2014), Complaint No. 87/2012, decision published 10 March 2014 (European Committee of Social Rights, Strasbourg, France) Decision online.     Backup copy.   Comment on Reprohealthlaw Blog.   [Italy violated the right to health: abortion laws were discriminatory as the only women who were guaranteed access to legal abortion were ones who could afford to travel to various hospitals and regions of the country to seek this health service.]


Beatriz v. El Salvador, Case 13-378, Report No. 09/20, Inter-Am. C.H.R. (2020)  Decision in SpanishBackup copy. Decision online in English.  English Backup copy.  Submitted to Inter-American Court of Human Rights Jan. 5, 2022. Case Summary in SpanishPress release in English. [Woman with lupus and kidney failure denied abortion for fetus with anencephaly.]

Paulina Ramirez v. Mexico, Case 161-02, Report No. 21/07, Inter-Am. C.H.R. (2007).  Decision in Spanish.   Decision in English.   Backup copy.   Summary of decision.   [Mexico denied a raped minor a legal abortion; friendly settlement reached.]

White and Potter v. United States (Baby Boy), Case 2141, Report No. 3/81, OAS/Ser.L/V/II.54, doc. 9 rev. Inter-Am. C.H.R. (1981).  Decision in Spanish.   Decision in English.       Backup copy.    Summary of decision.   [Abortion scheme in US did not violate the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man nor the American Convention on Human Rights; right to life does not begin at conception in the Declaration, which prevails over the wording in the Convention.]

X and XX v. Colombia,MC-270/09, Inter-Am. C.H.R. (2011)].   Summary in Spanish.   Summary in English.    Precautionary Measure in Spanish.   Decision in English.   [Precautionary measures granted to protect a mother and daughter in Colombia; daughter had been sexually assaulted and was carrying a high-risk pregnancy. Both mother and daughter had been subject to threats, physical aggression and a kidnapping attempt after reporting the assault.]


Artavia Murillo et al. v. Costa Rica, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 257 (November 28, 2012).  Decision in SpanishSpanish backup copy.    Decision in English.    English Backup copy.   Comment on Case.   [Costa Rica violated the right to private and family life, right to protection of family and equality before law by banning in-vitro fertilization; right to life in American Convention is not absolute, but rather gradual, aligning with stages of fetal development.]

***Manuela et al. v. El Salvador,  Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No 441. (November 2, 2021).  Decision in English.. Backup copy. Decision in Spanish.  Backup copy in Spanish..Comment by Centre for Reproductive Rights.  [El Salvador was held accountable for the arbitrary detention, torture, and conviction of a woman after obstetric emergency and loss of pregnancy in 2008. Convicted of "aggravated homicide." Two years later, Manuela died from cancer, in prison.]

International Jurisprudence 


L.C. v. Peru, Communication No. 22/2009, U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/50/D/22/2009 (2011),  Decision in EnglishEnglish Backup copy   Decision in Spanish.  Spanish Backup copy.   Summary of case.  Comment by Centre for Reproductive Rights  [Sexually-abused minor attempted to commit suicide; the attempt left her paralyzed and needing surgery.  The surgery was delayed once it was discovered she was pregnant, and she was denied access to a legal abortion.  The minor remained paralyzed after she finally had access to her surgery. Peru had violated a number of articles including the right to health, freedom from discrimination, and freedom from sex role stereotyping and prejudice.]

***Report of the Inquiry concerning the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, (2018) U.N. Doc. CEDAW/C/OP.8/GBR/1  Original CEDAW 2018 report.  Comments in 2018 report by Clare Pierson. [abortion, a crime in Northern Ireland following sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against Persons Act 1861, was not legalized until 2020.]
---Follow-up report submitted by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 16 January 2023, published March 14, 2023 as CEDAW/C/OP.*/GBR/3/Add.1.  Followup report is in different formatsFollowup Report in English. Followup Report in FrenchFollowup Report in Spanish. [Among other reforms, Northern Ireland established a Gender Equality Strategy Expert Advisory Panel, Report of December 2020 is online here.].


***Camila v. Peru, Communication No. 136/2021.  U.N. Doc CRC/C/93/D/136/2021 (June 13, 2023)   Decision online in Spanish, Arabic and Russian. Spanish backup copyDecision in English (May 25, 2023, *unofficial draft). Case note by Godfrey Kangaude.  [Child raped by her father. Ruling: Peru violated child rape victim’s rights by failing to guarantee access to abortion and criminally prosecuting her for self-abortion,]


K.L. v. Peru, Communication No. 1153/2003, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/85/D/1153/2003 (2005).  Decision in English.   Backup copy.   Summary of decision.     [Peru violated 17-year-old girl's rights. Minor was pregnant with anencephalic fetus and was denied a legal abortion; she was forced to give birth and developed severe depression following infant's death four days after birth. Violations included right to be free from cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, right to privacy and special measures for the protection of minors.]

L.M.R. v. Argentina, Communication No. 1608/2007, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/101/D/1608/2007 (2011).   Link to download in Spanish.   Spanish Backup copy.    English translation.   English Backup copy.   Summary of case.   [Raped woman with a mental disability experienced significant delay in trying to obtain a legal abortion; by the time she could obtain an abortion it was denied on the basis that the pregnancy was too advanced which caused LMR to seek an illegal abortion. The delays and obstacles in trying to obtain a legal abortion were violations of equality and non-discrimination, right to be free from torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and right to privacy.]

Amanda Jane Mellet v. Ireland, CCPR/C/116/D/2324/2013, March 31, 2016, published November 17, 2016 (United Nations, Human Rights Committee).  Decision online in several languages.   English backup copy.   Summary of case.   [Woman was forced to travel to obtain an abortion as Ireland banned abortion in cases of fatal fetal abnormality. Ireland's law was found in violation of the ICCPR and the government was asked to change its law.]

Siobhàn Whelan v. Ireland, Comm. No. 2425/2014:  Ireland 12/06/2017, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/119/D/2 425/2014 (UN Human Rights Committee), 12 June 2017,  English decision.    English backup copy.    Newspaper report.     Press release from Center for Reproductive Rights.     [Woman forced to travel to the UK for an abortion after fatal fetal abnormality diagnosis. Abortion laws are "cruel and inhumane".]