calls repeatedly for principled analysis, intellectual integrity and an end to revisionist interpretation yet fails to meet its own challenge. A principled analysis might have acknowledged that the core human rights instruments do not coincide with [the author’s] philosophical position and explored her vision for the development of international law, including means of addressing conflicts of rights.
When the first female President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet was re-elected in 2014 (after previously serving as President from 2006 to 2010), she declared reproductive rights an important focus of her tenure. The Bachelet government put forward a bill in 2015 which legalised abortion in cases of rape, foetal disability, and danger to the life of the mother.
That bill has been the subject of two years of political wrangling and debate, and was challenged in Chile’s Constitutional Court. On 21 August 2017 the Court upheld the constitutionality of the bill, meaning that abortion will be lawful when the pregnancy results from rape, when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life and when the foetus is not viable.
A short YouTube video about the change to Chile’s abortion laws and the case can be found here. The quote included from Pinochet’s advisor is especially chilling.
In 2016, I was in Santiago, Chile, and met with Lidia Casas Baccera, a lawyer who was involved in the case. She asked me whether she could use a review I had written in Human Rights Quarterly . Of course I agreed and the review was translated and included in the materials put before the court scrutinising the Bachelet amendment. It is really exciting that the court has upheld the Bachelet amendment.
Between her two presidential terms, Bachelet served as the inaugural executive director of UN Women. Her government has now succeeded in bringing an end to unjust laws that have punished and endangered women while denuding them of autonomy and rights. She will finish her term as president in March next year, leaving a proud legacy of advancing women’s equality.