Abortion Rights: The Next Front in International Law?
Some prominent coverage in the last couple of days of Nicaragua’s recent enactment of a total prohibition on abortion – see front page stories here and here in the Boston Globe and Washington Post. The reports suggest plans to take the law to the Inter-American Commission and the UN Human Rights Council. The WaPo story also mentions protests by unspecified foreign governments.
Meanwhile, 74 House lawmakers have sent a letter to Amnesty International USA urging it to oppose a proposed AI policy deeming abortion to be a human right in limited circumstances. (That’s an interesting turn of the table: legislators lobbying NGOs, rather than the other way around.) See the respectful acknowledgment by AIUSA here. The matter will be taken up at an AI summit this summer in Mexico City. Of course there are now also international NGOs (leaving the Vatican aside) pressing a pro-life agenda as well.
One could imagine that over the next twenty years or so there will emerge an international norm protecting a right to abortion in some cases, which is not of course to say that it will be an easy agenda to advance.