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Monica Roa adresses Safe and Legal Forum In Dublin

category international | gender and sexuality | news report author Saturday November 18, 2006 17:27author by C Murray Report this post to the editors

Human Rights Campaigner and Prochoice Activist in Dublin.

Monica Roa from Women's Link Worldwide addressed the Safe and Legal Forum In Dublin last evening, as part of a week of Prochoice events organised by IFPA and safe and Legal. She made Legal History in Columbia by challenging the abortion laws as a human rights issue. The campaign by Women's Link Worldwide was called the Laicia Campaign.

And the talk was very interesting. Monica showed a film of the campaign from start to finish, including the agit-prop, media coverage and the day of the Judgement. The documentary was short and in Spainish with acompanying English Subtitles.

Monica is programmes director for Women's Link Worldwide. The case she was
involved in was ground-breaking as it focussed on the human rights aspects of
obtaining abortion; and liberalisation of the Columbian abortion laws.

In Columbia any citizen has the right to bring a petition to court to change the
constitution, she had been working in New York as a lawyer on the issues of
gender and inequality when she decided to take the case.

It was named LAICIA: A high impact Litigation.

The difficulty with the Columbian situation was the vast gap between paper law and the
interpretation of specific rights, so the campaign was aimed at raising awareness,
gender-consciousness of the approach to women's bodily integrity as viewed and
interpreted by the courts system.

The timeframe from 2004-2006 was sometimes fraught with difficulties but at one and
the same time the focus on womens health and bodily integrity was kept in focus.
She had to file twice due to an inhibitory decision by the court and contacts from
legal offices to say that parts of the petitions had been excised, as well as receiving threats
and having her computer removed from her home.

The case was run on the premises of anti-abortion laws being:

1.Unequal on the basis of the life , health and integrity of the woman.
2.Violation of the right to equality.
3.Violation of the constitutional incorporation of International obligation derived from
human rights treaties.

The judgement is 600 pages long and in Spainish.
It has not been wholly translated yet.
Parts of the Judgement were read out at the meeting last night.

All institutions are required in Columbia to uphold the right of a woman to
seek and have an abortion. Opt-outs on ethical grounds by medical personnel
are only acceptable on an individual basis- the institute must provide personnel to
uphold the woman's rights.

Cases of abortion on grounds of rape, incest, enforced ivf/implantation are conditional on
a filed police report- no burden of proof is required or proof from a judge.

More info at:

Related Link:
author by C Murraypublication date Sun Nov 19, 2006 12:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The backround to the Columbian case is at:

Women's Human Rights Network , which is associated with the AWID:
Association for Women's Human Rights in Development.

The LPR/Polish story is at the link:

The case for constitutional change in Poland will be in debate until January 07, but
will be updated through links during the course of it's development.

Related Link:
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