Nine months a slave: when pregnancy is involuntary servitude to a foetus

Kiva Diamond Allotey-Reidpath, Pascale Allotey and Daniel D Reidpath, (2018). Nine months a slave: when pregnancy is involuntary servitude to a foetus. Reproductive Health Matters, 26(52), 57-61

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Kiva Diamond Allotey-Reidpath
    Pascale Allotey
    Daniel D Reidpath
    Title Nine months a slave: when pregnancy is involuntary servitude to a foetus
    Appearing in Reproductive Health Matters
    Volume 26
    Issue No. 52
    Publication Date 2018-04-13
    Place of Publication London
    Publisher Taylor & Francis
    Start page 57
    End page 61
    Language eng
    Abstract Recent globally compiled evidence suggests that one-quarter of pregnancies end in abortions. However, abortions remain illegal in many countries, resulting in unsafe practices. Debates have largely stalled with the pro-life, pro-choice epithets. To provide further arguments in support of legalising abortion services, we argue that the state cannot demand of a woman that she maintains an unwanted pregnancy because that demand places her in a state of involuntary servitude. Involuntary servitude would put states in breach of international human rights law (Article 8 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). Furthermore, we argue that the fact that a life may be forfeit when a woman withdraws her service is no basis for enforcing the servitude. We draw on the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution as an example to extend the argument and highlight the need to test involuntary servitude in international human rights law through mechanisms offered in the international periodic review of member states. This could provide a robust approach to support and strengthen access to safe abortion services.
    Keyword Abortion
    Right to life
    Reproductive rights
    Copyright Holder author(s)
    Copyright Year 2018
    Copyright type Creative commons
    ISSN 14609576
    DOI 10.1080/09688080.2018.1451173
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    Created: Tue, 27 Nov 2018, 16:41:44 JST by Nur Madihah Mat Latip on behalf of UNU IIGH