University of Sussex
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Women’s reproductive rights: repairing gender-based harm in the Inter-American System of Human Rights

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posted on 2023-06-21, 06:02 authored by Ciara O'Connell
This thesis examines women’s reproductive rights litigation before the Inter-American System of Human Rights and determines how the Inter-American System can more effectively take account of, and repair, harms specific to women in reproductive rights cases. The research conducted in this thesis builds upon a growing body of literature on women’s rights in the Inter-American System, and provides an original contribution by employing feminist socio-legal methodologies to identify the structural obstacles which cause violations of women’s reproductive rights, and to challenge the gap between genderbased rhetoric and reparation in women’s reproductive rights cases. The thesis centres around three specific women’s reproductive rights cases, which are critically examined using the Holistic Gender Approach to Reparations developed by Ruth Rubio-Marín and Clara Sandoval. In applying this Approach to the case studies, it is possible to determine how, to what extent and to what effect, each reproductive rights case incorporates gendered harm in its reparation design. This research utilizes doctrinal and empirical research methods to draw conclusions about how the Inter-American System and members of civil society such as women’s rights organizations and litigators can expand upon and improve the Inter-American System’s approach to repairing and eliminating violations of women’s reproductive rights. Through information gathered from interviews with actors familiar with the case studies and the Inter-American System, this thesis determines a number of strategies to improve the transformative potential of reparations issued by the Inter-American Commission and Court. These strategies, when combined with the Holistic Gender Approach to Reparations, establish the foundation on which to develop a “gender reparations tradition” within reproductive rights litigation before the Inter-American System of Human Rights.


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University of Sussex

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