Professor Copelon and the IWHR Clinic helped to develop theory and proposed language supporting reproductive rights as human rights adopted in the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo Conference 1994) and the Fourth Conference on Women (Beijing 1995) conference documents. IWHR helped to spearhead and organize the "Roundtable on Human Rights Dimensions of Women's Health, with Particular Attention to Sexual and Reproductive Rights," sponsored by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in 1998. This meeting laid the foundation for continuing work around reproductive rights and health in many sectors.
Defending Pregnant Women
IWHR authored two human rights briefs to challenge the prosecution of pregnant women for the death of a fetus following a miscarriage. In each case, the women were either prosecuted for murder (Gibbs v. Mississippi) or manslaughter (Mississippi v. Buckhalter) of their fetus following a miscarriage.
Challenges to Criminal Abortion Restrictions
IWHR has worked to challenge criminal abortion laws and restrictions in UN forums, including the practice of coercing confession from women suffering complications from clandestine abortions by withholding treatment in public hospitals in Chile, the complete abortion ban in Nicaragua, the compete abortion ban, lack of post-abortion care and ban on contraceptives in the Philippines. In Colombia, we had advocated for women's right to have a legal abortion against illegal obstructions and the government's failure to ensure this right.
The Clinic is assisting the Center for Reproductive Rights on the case F.S. v. Chile, a case pending before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which challenges the forced sterilization of a 20-year old woman because she was HIV positive. The Clinic also works in collaboration with Colombian service providers documenting to the UN Human Rights Bodies the forced sterilization of girl-child soldiers.
Fetal "Right to Life"
In 2007, the Clinic submitted an international law amicus brief to the Constitutional Court of Slovak Republic in support of legislation providing increased access to abortion services. In response to fetal "right to life" arguments, the brief summarizes the reject of the claim of a fetal right to life in the foundational and subsequent interpretative human rights documents.