Abortion as a human right: recent international human rights body decisions
Christina Zampas, Legal Adviser for Europe
Center for Reproductive Rights, USA
Recent court decisions related to abortion both at the national and international levels
have been supportive of women's right to access safe and legal abortion. This
presentation will focus on the recent decision of the UN Human Rights Committee in the
groundbreaking case of K.L. v. Peru which found in favor of the Center's client. The
Decision establishes that denying access to legal abortion in certain circumstances
violates women's most basic human rights. The presentation will also discuss the
implications of this case worldwide. Finally, the presentation will note some recent and
forthcoming decisions from the European Court of Human Rights on abortion-related
Catharina Zätterström, Midwife, supervisor for Family Planning Clinics and Youth Clinics in
SLSO South-West Stockholm, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contraceptive counselling is usually given to the woman both before the abortion, by a
physicians or a midwife and after, at the post-aborton visit by a midwife. Roughly 50–60%
of the women will come back for a check-up 3-4 weeks after the abortion.
Women applying for repeat abortions have experienced more psychological problems
during their lifetime compared with women applying for their first abortion. Women who
have had previous abortion/abortions seem to need for special attention, which should
include not only efficient and acceptable contraception but also social and psychological
support based on the individual woman’s need.
In several studies the use of contraceptives amongst women applying for repeat abortion
had been affected by family circumstances more than amongst women applying for their
first abortion. This could indicate the need for including men in family planning programs.
In Sweden immigrant status seems to be an independent risk factor for induced abortion.
Immigrant women also have more early pregnancies and less knowledge and experience
of contraceptives. Immigrant status is also an independent risk factor for repeat abortions.
Although immigrant women after 10 years in Sweden are more socioeconomically equal to
the Swedish-born women regarding education, employment and marital status but they still
have more children and have experienced more induced abortions than Swedish-born
Post-abortion check-up in Sweden is focused on the woman’s medical condition and on
her need for efficient contraceptives. It is seldom designed to suit the individual woman.