At the intersection of debates about religion, private morality and public policy, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are lightning rods of controversy in most societies. Political polarization has been particularly pronounced with regard to abortion rights, but is also evident in an array of other SRHR issues. Drawing on examples from constitutional and high courts in Latin America and Africa, as well as cases in various regional and international supra-national human rights forums, the course will explore: the historical origins of asserting international legal claims to SRHR; challenges and benefits of turning toward domestic courts and international forums to advance sexual and reproductive health; evolving narratives of women’s agency and state obligations; and power dynamics/conflicts within global SRHR advocacy. We will discuss the limitations of the autonomy narrative and adoption of “reproductive justice” paradigm in the US, and compare that with evolutions of SRHR in other national contexts, as well as in international law. Some of the topics to be covered include: gender-based violence; involuntary sterilization; abortion; access to care (obstetric care/LGBTQ access to care); disrespect and abuse/obstetric violence; SRHR of persons with disabilities; assisted reproductive technologies; and SRHR in an era of conservative populism and backlash against so-called “gender ideology.” Issues of SRHR present an opportunity to extend thinking on judicial review across contexts of varying levels of democratic consolidation, as well as to critically examine the effectiveness of international human rights law in changing “lived realities.” On the one hand, the marginalization of claimants suggests a place for counter-majoritarian rights protection. Similarly, advocates have sought to set standards in international human rights forums, as these spaces have been perceived as less “tainted” by the political power structures that inflect domestic law and institutions. On the other hand, the morally contested nature of SRHR norms often complicates the claims of courts and supra-national forums to special competence, limits their ability to catalyze the politics of implementation (including within health systems), and inspires backlash. We will explore lessons with respect to how engaging with different SRHR issues can affect the sociological legitimacy of tribunals at domestic and international levels, as well as public attitudes and the dynamics of social conflict.... Read more about Contested Domains: Comparative and International Legal Struggles over Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
This course is designed to provide an overview of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) from a global perspective with a focus on the most disadvantaged populations. The course will cover the most critical topics and dimensions in this field, i.e. historic, conceptual, research, methodological, policy, programmatic, rights, and advocacy. The themes will include the role of the global community in shaping the SRH agenda, sexual and reproductive rights, maternal health measurement and quality of care, unsafe abortion, contraception, adolescents’ SRH, women’s health along the life course and integration of reproductive healthcare. Gender, social inequalities and rights will be underpinning dimensions along the entire course. Students will be introduced to the core SRH literature and learn about the outstanding debates, acute knowledge gaps, effective evidence-based interventions, progress, current challenges and the most promising public health approaches to overcome them. This course will be fully participatory. Students are expected to reflect on readings, lead discussions, prepare group or individual case studies and prepare assigned homework. ... Read more about Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Global Perspective
This course will be taught in seminar format; the instructor will facilitate discussion based on each week's readings. The students will be expected to prepare ahead of class and participate in interactive discussions of cases raised during lecture. The course will examine ethical issues that arise in reproductive medicine and women's health. Specifically, we will address ethical questions that arise in the context of providing assisted reproduction services, family planning services, pregnancy care and surgical services to women and their families. Questions and issues that will be addressed in the course include the following: ethics surrounding the abortion and fetal tissue research debate; multiple cases in assisted reproduction including sex selection, savior siblings, age restrictions in IVF, intra-familial gamete donation, post-humous reproduction; cases at the maternal fetal divide, and discussion of the balance of interests in these cases; genetic engineering in assisted reproduction.