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  • Human Rights Research Center

Inter-American Court Recognizes Gender-Based Violence During Pregnancy and Childbirth

March 8, 2023

[Image credit: iStock via The Washington Post]

Cited article by Regina Tamés, Human Rights Watch

HRRC celebrates the Inter-American Court of Human Rights' recognition of gender-based violence during pregnancy, childbirth, and post-partum. All women should receive proper health care and be able to make informed decisions based on the information provided to them by healthcare professionals.

Article Summary

In a landmark first, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights recognized a form of violence experienced by many women, now referred to as "obstetric violence". The ruling came from the Brítez Arce v. Argentina case, which was brought to the court in January 2023. In 1992, Cristina Britez Arce died when she was nine months pregnant as a result of cardiac arrest. During her pregnancy, "she presented several risk factors that were not adequately addressed by the health system." This included an ultrasound showing a dead fetus.

The Inter-American Court found that Britez Arce did not receive the appropriate care or access to information with alternative care options leading up to her death. This is the first time a judicial ruling recognized the state’s obligation to prevent obstetric violence to fulfill several human rights, including the rights to life, health, and humane treatment.


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