This seminar will examine the application of human rights to issues of reproductive health and decision-making. The course will begin with an overview of the international political and legal framework that has laid the foundation for the recognition of reproductive rights as fundamental human rights. The course will explore the application of the international and regional human rights treaties, the mechanisms available for holding governments accountable for rights violations, and recent efforts by human rights lawyers to obtain authoritative interpretations in individual cases. The course will also draw on national-level cases for comparison between various constitutional approaches and the human rights framework. Topics will include legal and human rights approaches to pregnancy, contraception, abortion, assisted reproduction, and sexuality education, as well as issues concerning access to information, and rights relating to conscience and religion.
Class attendance and participation are mandatory, including leading discussion as assigned. An exam will be given at the end of the semester.
Class discussion: 25%
- Martin, J. Paul (editor), 25+ Human Rights Documents (Columbia University 2005)
- Supplement with edited cases, articles, and documents.