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Author: Sara De Vido

The book explores the relationship between violence against women on one hand, and the rights to health and reproductive health on the other. It argues that violation of the right to health is a consequence of violence, and that (state) health policies might be a cause of – or create the conditions for – violence against women. It significantly contributes to feminist and international human rights legal scholarship by conceptualising a new ground-breaking idea, violence against women’s health (VAWH), using the Hippocratic paradigm as the backbone of the analysis. The two dimensions of violence at the core of the book – the horizontal, ‘interpersonal’ dimension and the vertical ‘state policies’ dimension – are investigated through around 70 decisions of domestic, regional and international judicial or quasi-judicial bodies (the anamnesis). The concept of VAWH, drawn from the anamnesis, enriches the traditional concept of violence against women with a human rights-based approach to autonomy and a reflection on the pervasiveness of patterns of discrimination (diagnosis). VAWH as theorised in the book allows the reconceptualisation of states’ obligations in an innovative way, by identifying for both dimensions obligations of result, due diligence obligations, and obligations to progressively take steps (treatment). The book eventually asks whether it is not international law itself that is the ultimate cause of VAWH (prognosis).

Margaret Brazier and Emma Cave

545, HL. 29 See Re DD (No 4) (Sterilisation) [2015] EWCOP 4, [8] per Cobb J: ‘This case is not about eugenics. This outcome has been driven by the bleak yet undisputed evidence that a further pregnancy would be a significantly life-threatening event for DD’. And see [114]. 30 To do so may breach Articles 3 and 8 of the ECHR: see VC v Slovakia (2014) 59 EHRR 29 on forced sterilisation of a Roma woman. 31 The Mental Capacity Act 2005 applies largely to persons of age 16 and over who lack capacity (see s 2(5)). For those aged under 16 who lack competence

in Medicine, patients and the law (sixth edition)
Open Access (free)
‘Case history’ on violence against women, and against women’s rights to health and to reproductive health
Sara De Vido

and the United States, for example).414 Eugenics purported to ‘improv[e] the human gene pool by eliminating genes deemed undesirable.’415 In 1922, nineteen US states had in force eugenic sterilisation laws which targeted ‘confirmed criminals,’ the ‘feeble-minded,’ and also ‘idiots,’ ‘imbeciles,’ ‘hereditary insanity or incurable chronic mania or dementia,’ ‘epileptics’ and those addicted to drugs or alcohol.416 In 1948 Japan adopted a Eugenic Protection Law, which forced sterilisation and abortion on people with intellectual and mental illness and severe

in Violence against women’s health in international law
Margaret Brazier and Emma Cave

, Jeanette was sexually mature. The Law Lords held that the legality of the proposal to sterilise Jeanette must depend only on whether sterilisation would ‘promote the welfare and serve the best interests of the ward’. 122 Consideration of eugenics and whether sterilising Jeanette would ease the burden on those caring for her were irrelevant. 123 Their Lordships concluded that as Jeanette: (1) would never be capable of making any choice for herself on whether to have a child; (2) would never even appreciate what was happening to her; and (3) would suffer damage to her

in Medicine, patients and the law (sixth edition)