The Meaning of Procreative Autonomy in the Inter-American System of Human Rights. An Analysis of the Decision in Artavia Murillo v. Costa Rica Case

Teresinha Inês Teles Pires
  

Full text PDF

Law and Forensic Science, Volume 15 (2018/1), pages 9-44.

Submitted: April 3, 2018. Published: May 12, 2018.

The author declares there is no conflict of interest.


Abstract: The trial and the reasons adopted by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) in Artavia Murillo v. Costa Rica represent significant progress in protecting women’s procreative autonomy. The decision of the IACtHR revoked a decision of the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica that banned the use of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in the country. With its decision, the IACtHR not only linked universal rights of freedom with procreative autonomy for women and men; but also, the IACtHR strongly reinforced an interpretation of the “right to life” that favors procreative autonomy. The decision is also remarkable by including a standard of equality in matters of procreative autonomy insofar as the IACtHR has held that women, because of negative gender stereotypes in society, have been significantly undermined by the decision of the Chamber of Costa Rica to ban IVF. Moreover, as will be argued, in similar future cases courts may introduce in the analysis the Convention of Belém do Pará,considering that the elimination of the IVF services (or other limitation of women’s procreative autonomy) can be seen as a form of violence against women’s moral integrity. Finally, the author will propose the possible application of international provisions on freedom of religion in the context of a broad protection of procreative autonomy. In this perspective, we will argue that those provisions should have been included in Artavia Murillo’s decision, considering the standards stated by IACtHR regarding the right to life and non-discrimination based on religion.

Keywords: procreative autonomy, gender equality, gender stereotypes, fundamental freedoms, right to life, religious discrimination

References

Butler, Judith (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York/London: Routledge.

Center for Reproductive Rights (2002, Oct.). Reproductive Rights in the American System for the promotion and protection of Human Rights. Retrieved from:  https://www. reproductiverights.org/…/reproductive-rights-in-the-inter-american-system.

Cook, Rebecca; Cusak, Simone (2010). Gender Stereotyping: Transnational Legal Perspectives. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Díaz, Álvaro Paúl (2014, Fall). Decision-Making Process of the Inter-American Court: An Analysis Prompted by the ‘In Vitro Fertilization’ Case. ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law, 21 (1), 87-130. Retrieved from: SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2303637 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2303637.

Díaz, A. P. (2013, April 19). La Corte Interamericana in Vitro: Comentarios Sobre su Proceso de Toma de Decisiones a Propósito del Caso Artavia (The Inter-American Court in Vitro: Commentaries on its Decision-Making Process in Light of the Artavia-Murillo Case). Revista Derecho Público Iberoamericano,2, 303-345. Retrieved from: SSRN: https://ssrn.com/ abstract=2208087.

Dworkin, Ronald (1994). Life’s Dominion: an argument about abortion, euthanasian and individual freedom. New York: Vintage Books.

Gomes, Evaldo Xavier (2009). The Implementation of Inter-American Norms on Freedom of Religion in the Nation Legislation of OAS Member States. 2009 BYU Law Review, 575. Retrieved from: http://digitalcommons.law.byu.edu/lawreview/vol2009/iss3/5.

Guinn, David (2005, Nov). Religion, International Human Rights and Women’s Health: Synthesizing Principles and Politics. Retrieved from: SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=851384.

Hernández-Truyol, Berta E. (1991). To Bear or Not to Bear: Reproductive Freedom as an International Human Right. 17 Brooklyn Journal of International Law, 309. University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper. Retrieved from: SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2687505.

Hevia, Martin, Herrera Vacaflor, Carlos (2012, Sept). The Legal Status of In Vitro Fertilization in Latin America and the American Convention on Human Right. Suffolk Transnational Law Review. Retrieved from: SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2160733.

Lauritzen, Paul (1990, Mar.-Apr.).  What Price Parenthood?The Hastings Center Report, 20, (2), 38-46. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/ stable/3562619).

Lemaitre, Julieta,  Sieder, Rachel (2017, Jun.). The Moderating Influence of International Courts on Social Movements: Evidence from the IVF Case Against Costa Rica. Health and Human Rights Journal (HHR). Retrieved from: https://www.hhrjournal.org/2017/06/the-moderating-influence-of-international-courts-on-social-movements-evidence-from-the-ivf-case-against-costa-rica.

Mackinnon, Catharine A (1991a, Mar.). Reflections on Sex Equality under Law100 Yale Law Journal, 1281-1328.

Mackinnon,C. A(1991b). Toward a Feminist Theory of the State, Cambridge/London: Harvard University Press.

O’Connell, Ciara (2016). Engendering Reproductive Rights in the Inter-American System. In Gender, Sexuality and Social Justice: what’s law got to do with it, Part 2. Institute of Development Studies, 58-68.

O’Connell, Ciara (2014, Dec.). Litigating Reproductive Health Rights in the Inter-American System: what does a winning case looks like. Health and Human Rights Journal, 16 (2). Retrieved from: https://www.hhrjournal.org/2014.

Péres, Xiomara L. R. (2012, jul.-dic.). La Libertad Religiosa en el Sistema Interamericano de Protección de los Derechos Humanos (Análisis comparativo con el ordenamiento jurídico colombiano). In Revista del Derecho del Estado nº 29, 215-232.Retrieved from: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2190455.

Raday, Frances (2003). Culture, Religion and Gender, in Oxford University Press and New York University School of Law, 1 (4), 663-715. Retrieved from: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2606788.

Siegel, Reva B (2005). What Roe v. Wade should have said: the Nation’s top legal experts rewrite America’s most controversial decision, Edited by Jack M. Balkin, New York: New York University Press, 63-85 and 244-8.

Siegel, Reva B (2013). Equality and Choice: Sex Equality Perspectives on Reproductive Rights in the Work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 25 (1), 63-80.

Stevens, John Paul (1992). The Bill of Rights: a century of progress. 59 University of Chicago Law Review13, 31.

Stopler, Gila (2008). A Rank Usurpation of Power—The Role of Patriarchal Religion and Culture in the Subordination of Women, 15 Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, 365-398. Retrieved from:  https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/djglp/vol15/iss1/5.

Sustein, Cass R (2005). Testing Minimalism: A Reply, 104 Michigan Law Review,123.

Tribe, Laurence H. (1990). Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes, New York/London: W. W. Norton & Company.

Walter, Christian (2012). The Protection of Freedom of Religion within the Institutional System on the United Nations. In: Rights in a World Diversity – the Case of Religious Freedom. Pontifical Academy on Social Sciences, 588-603. Retrieved from: www.pass.va/content/dam/scienzesociali/pdf/acta17/acta17-walter.pdf.

Wenz, Peter (1992). Abortion Rights as Religious freedom. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.