Forced pregnancy in Italy violated ‘woman’s human right to health’, UN experts rule

UN News/Sarah Scaffidi Rooftop statues overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Rome, Italy.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The Italian Government violated a woman’s “human right to health” after a law which denied her the right to refuse fertility treatment she had previously agreed to, “led her to undergo a forced pregnancy”, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) said on Wednesday.

In 2008, the couple at the centre of the case, visited a fertility clinic in Italy and requested in vitro fertilization treatment, or IVF, where the egg is fertilized outside the mother’s womb. They asked the clinic to test for possible genetic disorders, before implantation.

They were told that the law prohibited clinical research on human embryos, so the couple filed and won a lawsuit, which ordered the clinic to carry out pre-implantation genetic testing, but the case was referred the matter to Italy’s Constitutional Court.

Meanwhile, it was discovered that the embryos produced by the woman were in fact all affected by hereditary bone deformation and consequently not transferred to the woman’s uterus.

In 2009, the couple tried again. While one of six embryos tested was free of the disorder, it was graded “average quality” with little chance of success.

Fearing a miscarriage, the woman tried to withdraw her consent to transfer the embryo, but the clinic insisted that according to the law, once fertilization took place the embryo must be implanted in the uterus, or she would face legal consequences.

Because of this threat, she agreed to the procedure and later suffered a miscarriage.

The Committee’s 18 independent human rights international experts deal with cases in countries that have signed on to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Italy ratified in 1978.

After Italian courts refused to hear their case, the woman and man together took it to CESCR, which is mandated to receive complaints from individuals who have no other legal recourse in their countries of origin.

Back in 2016, CESCR informed the States parties that sexual and reproductive health “entails a set of freedoms” that include “the right to make free and responsible decisions and choices, free of violence, coercion and discrimination, regarding matters concerning one’s body and sexual and reproductive health.”

The Committee noted that Italian law restricted the woman’s right to take back her consent, which in the case in question, had led to a forced medical intervention and eventually a miscarriage.

They specified that transferring an embryo to the woman’s uterus without her valid consent constituted “a direct violation” of her human right to the highest attainable standard of health and her human right to gender equality.

Pointing out that States parties to the Covenant are under an international legal obligation to comply with the Committee’s findings in individual complaint cases, CESCR called for Italy to compensate the couple, ensure their access to IVF treatment without fear of forced medical intervention and adopt measures necessary to guarantee that all women are free to decide medical intervention affecting their bodies.

Moreover, Italy should ensure women’s rights to withdraw their consent to the transfer of embryos to their uterus. The experts requested Italy respond within six months to the Committee and explain how the country would be implementing its ruling.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN

Venice will now start charging tourists an entrance fee

Parliament elects Ursula von der Leyen as first female Commission President

Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere break another record, UN report shows

FROM THE FIELD: One teen’s journey from refugee camp to US school principal

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

European Parliament strengthens EU consumer protection rules

European Commission requests that Italy presents a revised draft budgetary plan for 2019

Unlock the value proposition for Connected Insurance

Libya ‘in race against time’, but dissolving conflict ‘a realistic prospect’, Security Council hears

“Access denied”: the Greek health system under pressure

European Commission recommends common EU approach to the security of 5G networks

Health spending set to outpace GDP growth to 2030

‘Catastrophic’ healthcare costs put mothers and newborns at risk

Breaking news: Juncker’s Commission mutant trojan horse is on the loose in Strasbourg

The eighth round of TTIP negotiations concludes in Brussels amid scepticism and new fears

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

The 100-year climate catastrophe of Mont Blanc

Brexit may finally not really happen; The Brits have second thoughts

Paris, Rome, Brussels and Frankfurt to confront Berlin over growth and the Athens enigma

Algorithmic warfare is coming. Humans must retain control

Europe and UN form bulwark against ‘might makes right’ worldview, EU foreign affairs chief tells Security Council

Iran nuclear talks’ deadline extended: the match is still open for many

How traditional Islamic giving can play a role in the future of aid

“As German Chancellor I want to be able to cope with the merger of the real and digital economy”, Angela Merkel from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Despite progress towards peace, Afghanistan facing ‘daunting challenges’ ahead of presidential vote

The ECB will do whatever it takes to set the Eurozone economy again in motion

High level political talks didn’t break the stalemate in Ukraine

Vaccination: European Commission and World Health Organization join forces to promote the benefits of vaccines

Camino de Santiago – a global community on our doorstep

UN member states express their will to tackle global migration but specific actions are still missing

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Rohingya cannot become ‘forgotten victims,’ says UN chief urging world to step up support

UN committed to helping Haiti build better future, says Guterres, marking 10-year anniversary of devastating earthquake

Health privatisation: reviving Alma-Ata

Currency Union might not let an independent Scotland join the EU as the “Yes” front now leads

Greece: Tsipras’ referendum victory does not solve the financial stalemate of the country and its banks

ACP-EU : Agreement on climate change, migration and post-Cotonou

Grievous violations continue against Myanmar civilians, Human Rights Council hears

EU Ombudsman investigates the European Commission

UNICEF delivers medical supplies to Gaza in wake of deadly protests

FROM THE FIELD: Weaving profits in Azerbaijan

Cyclone Idai: UNICEF warns of ‘race against time’ to protect children, prevent spread of disease in flood-ravaged Mozambique

UN chief hopes for new agreement after Israel concludes international observation mission

Russia is ready for its Phase 3 evaluation once it fulfills high-priority recommendation

COP24: World sports join team UN in race against climate change

“Working together to make a change at the COP 21 in Paris”, an article by Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU

How civil society can adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Retirees will outlive their savings by a decade

The European Commission to stop Buffering

Syria: UN Humanitarian Coordinator calls for unimpeded access from within the country

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

FROM THE FIELD: A UN peacekeepers-eye view of DR Congo

Syria: UN-backed watchdog says chemical weapon ‘likely used’ in February attack

Guterres hails historic Convention banning violence and harassment at work

Sexual abuse of elderly likely to ‘grow dramatically’, UN expert says

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

“They are trying to make improvements, but of course they are quite slow for my generation”, Vice President of JADE Victor Soto on another Sting Exclusive

Europe must remember its past to build its future

EP leaders call for negotiations on upgraded Transparency Register to continue

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s