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The Right to Abortion in the Council of Europe System

Norberg, Bodil LU (2013) JURM02 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Min forskningsfråga är i vilken utsträckning rätten till abort är skyddad i Europarådets system, med fokus på rättspraxis från den Europeiska domstolen för de mänskliga rättigheterna.

Teorier och förklaringsmodeller som används för att analysera policybeslut, lagstiftning och rättsfall gällande abort i Europarådet presenteras först. I korthet menar dessa teorier att det finns en strukturell diskriminering mot kvinnor. Eftersom mänskliga rättigheter har skapats utifrån manliga normer tar de inte hänsyn till de situationer som endast kvinnor möter, bland vilka graviditet är ett slående exempel. Så länge som kvinnor befinner sig utanför beslutsprocessen kommer kvinnors rättigheter att ses som sekundära rättigheter.

För att analysera... (More)
Min forskningsfråga är i vilken utsträckning rätten till abort är skyddad i Europarådets system, med fokus på rättspraxis från den Europeiska domstolen för de mänskliga rättigheterna.

Teorier och förklaringsmodeller som används för att analysera policybeslut, lagstiftning och rättsfall gällande abort i Europarådet presenteras först. I korthet menar dessa teorier att det finns en strukturell diskriminering mot kvinnor. Eftersom mänskliga rättigheter har skapats utifrån manliga normer tar de inte hänsyn till de situationer som endast kvinnor möter, bland vilka graviditet är ett slående exempel. Så länge som kvinnor befinner sig utanför beslutsprocessen kommer kvinnors rättigheter att ses som sekundära rättigheter.

För att analysera rätten till abort har jag genomfört en omfattande litteraturstudie om jämställdhet, kvinnors rättigheter som mänskliga rättigheter, reproduktiva rättigheter och abortens utveckling. I uppsatsen analyseras rätten till abort i Europa såsom denna har uttryckts i policybeslut från Europarådet och rättspraxis från den Europeiska domstolen för de mänskliga rättigheterna, och vidare analyseras i vilken utsträckning rätten till abort är skyddad i Europarådets system. En kort presentation av abortens historia introducerar ämnet. Tillsammans med de teorier och förklaringsmodeller som presenterats ger denna inledande översikt tillsammans med den nationella abortlagstiftningen och abortpolitiken i Irland, Polen och Sverige läsaren en bättre förståelse av det kulturella och rättsliga sammanhang som rättsfallen från Europadomstolen stammar från. Jämförelsen är viktigt för att belysa hur olikt abortlagstiftning kan uttryckas i de fördragsslutande staterna till den Europeiska konventionen om skydd för de mänskliga rättigheterna och de grundläggande friheterna. De politiska beslut som har tagits i Europarådet inom ämnen som jämställdhet, abort och reproduktiva rättigheter studeras i uppsatsen och används för att bedöma Europarådets ställning till dessa frågor. Vidare ges en översikt över utvecklingen av Europakonventionen i fråga om abort och läran om margin of appreciation presenteras.

Både Irland och Polen har mycket restriktiva abortlagstiftningar. I Polen är abort tillåtet under vissa omständigheter; t.ex. vid livsfara eller fara för hälsa för den gravida kvinnan, vid svår missbildning eller sjukdom hos fostret eller om graviditeten är resultatet av ett brott. I Irland finns inga sådana undantag utom i ytterst sällsynta fall. En kvinna i behov av abort måste resa till en annan stat för att få genomgå behandlingen. Europadomstolen har funnit att det inte finns någon rätt till abort i Europakonventionen (se Tysiąc v. Poland, A, B and C v. Ireland, R.R. v. Poland och P. and S. v. Poland). Om en avtalsslutande stat däremot har antagit regler som tillåter abort under vissa omständigheter, måste det faktiska åtnjutandet av dessa rättigheter garanteras (se Tysiąc v. Poland, R.R. v. Poland och P. and S. v. Poland). Vidare har domstolen i Open Door and Dublin Well Woman v. Ireland klarlagt att rätten att ta emot och sprida information i fråga om abort är av avgörande betydelse för kvinnor, eftersom det påverkar deras hälsa och välbefinnande, och alltså faller under rätten till yttrandefrihet i artikel 10 till Europakonventionen. Slutligen, även om domstolen inte har funnit ett europeiskt samförstånd över när livet anses börja och därför inte använder sig av evolutive interpretation av Europakonventionen för att läsa in en rätt till abort, så lämnades dörren öppen för att potentiellt minska en stats margin of appreciation i denna fråga. (Less)
Abstract
My research question is to what extent the right to abortion is protected in the Council of Europe system, with a focus on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

First, theories and models of explanation are presented that are used to analyse the policies, legislation and cases on the issue abortion the Council of Europe. In short, these theories state that there is a structural discrimination against women. Because human rights have been created based on male norms, they do not take into consideration the situations that only women encounter, of which pregnancy is a prime example. For as long as women are outside the decision-making process, women’s rights will be viewed as secondary rights.

In order to analyse the... (More)
My research question is to what extent the right to abortion is protected in the Council of Europe system, with a focus on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

First, theories and models of explanation are presented that are used to analyse the policies, legislation and cases on the issue abortion the Council of Europe. In short, these theories state that there is a structural discrimination against women. Because human rights have been created based on male norms, they do not take into consideration the situations that only women encounter, of which pregnancy is a prime example. For as long as women are outside the decision-making process, women’s rights will be viewed as secondary rights.

In order to analyse the right to abortion, I have conducted an extensive literature study on the subject of gender equality, women’s rights as human rights, reproductive rights and the development of abortion. The thesis presents an analysis of the right to abortion in Europe as it has been expressed in the policy documents of the Council of Europe and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and to what extent the right to abortion is protected in the Council of Europe system. A brief presentation of the history of abortion is used as an introduction to the subject, and with the theories and models of explanation, this introductory overview together with the national abortion legislation and policies in Ireland, Poland and Sweden gives the reader a better understanding of the cultural and legislative context that the cases from the European Court of Human Rights stem from. The comparison is important to illustrate how very different abortion legislation can be expressed in the Contracting States to the European Convention on Human Rights. The policy decisions that have been adopted in the Council of Europe on the issues of gender equality, abortion and reproductive rights are studied and used to assess the stance of the Council. Furthermore, an overview of the development of the European Convention on Human Rights in regard to abortion is given and the doctrine of margin of appreciation is presented.

Both Ireland and Poland have restrictive abortion legislations. In Poland, abortion is allowed on certain grounds; inter alia the risk to the life or the health of the mother, the severe malformation or ailment of the foetus or if the pregnancy is the result of a crime. In Ireland, no such exceptions exist except for in rare circumstances; the woman in need of an abortion must travel to another State to obtain the procedure. The European Court of Human Rights has found that there is no right to abortion in the Convention (stated in Tysiąc v. Poland, A, B and C v. Ireland, R.R. v. Poland and P. and S. v. Poland). However, if a Contracting State has enacted regulations that allow for abortion in certain circumstances, then the effective enjoyment of these rights must be guaranteed (stated in the cases Tysiąc v. Poland, R.R. v. Poland and P. and S. v. Poland). Furthermore, the Court stated in Open Door and Dublin Well Woman v. Ireland that the right to receive and impart information in regard to abortion under the article 10 right to freedom of expression was of crucial value to women, as it affected their health and well-being. Finally, although the Court have not found a European consensus on the idea of when life begins and therefore will not use the evolutive interpretation of the Convention to confer a right to abortion, it did leave the door open for potentially narrowing a State’s margin of appreciation in this regard. (Less)
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author
Norberg, Bodil LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Abortion, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Public International Law, Statsrätt, Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Council of Europe, Mänskliga rättigheter, Europakonventionen, Abort
language
English
id
3803922
date added to LUP
2013-06-19 08:21:18
date last changed
2013-06-19 08:21:18
@misc{3803922,
  abstract     = {My research question is to what extent the right to abortion is protected in the Council of Europe system, with a focus on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

First, theories and models of explanation are presented that are used to analyse the policies, legislation and cases on the issue abortion the Council of Europe. In short, these theories state that there is a structural discrimination against women. Because human rights have been created based on male norms, they do not take into consideration the situations that only women encounter, of which pregnancy is a prime example. For as long as women are outside the decision-making process, women’s rights will be viewed as secondary rights. 

In order to analyse the right to abortion, I have conducted an extensive literature study on the subject of gender equality, women’s rights as human rights, reproductive rights and the development of abortion. The thesis presents an analysis of the right to abortion in Europe as it has been expressed in the policy documents of the Council of Europe and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and to what extent the right to abortion is protected in the Council of Europe system. A brief presentation of the history of abortion is used as an introduction to the subject, and with the theories and models of explanation, this introductory overview together with the national abortion legislation and policies in Ireland, Poland and Sweden gives the reader a better understanding of the cultural and legislative context that the cases from the European Court of Human Rights stem from. The comparison is important to illustrate how very different abortion legislation can be expressed in the Contracting States to the European Convention on Human Rights. The policy decisions that have been adopted in the Council of Europe on the issues of gender equality, abortion and reproductive rights are studied and used to assess the stance of the Council. Furthermore, an overview of the development of the European Convention on Human Rights in regard to abortion is given and the doctrine of margin of appreciation is presented. 

Both Ireland and Poland have restrictive abortion legislations. In Poland, abortion is allowed on certain grounds; inter alia the risk to the life or the health of the mother, the severe malformation or ailment of the foetus or if the pregnancy is the result of a crime. In Ireland, no such exceptions exist except for in rare circumstances; the woman in need of an abortion must travel to another State to obtain the procedure. The European Court of Human Rights has found that there is no right to abortion in the Convention (stated in Tysiąc v. Poland, A, B and C v. Ireland, R.R. v. Poland and P. and S. v. Poland). However, if a Contracting State has enacted regulations that allow for abortion in certain circumstances, then the effective enjoyment of these rights must be guaranteed (stated in the cases Tysiąc v. Poland, R.R. v. Poland and P. and S. v. Poland). Furthermore, the Court stated in Open Door and Dublin Well Woman v. Ireland that the right to receive and impart information in regard to abortion under the article 10 right to freedom of expression was of crucial value to women, as it affected their health and well-being. Finally, although the Court have not found a European consensus on the idea of when life begins and therefore will not use the evolutive interpretation of the Convention to confer a right to abortion, it did leave the door open for potentially narrowing a State’s margin of appreciation in this regard.},
  author       = {Norberg, Bodil},
  keyword      = {Abortion,Human Rights,Women's Rights,Public International Law,Statsrätt,Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights,Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights,Council of Europe,Mänskliga rättigheter,Europakonventionen,Abort},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Right to Abortion in the Council of Europe System},
  year         = {2013},
}