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Expanding the feminisation dimension of international law: targeted anti-abortion protest as violence against women

Author(s): Tania Penovic, Ronli Sifris

In: Cambridge International Law Journal, Vol 7, No 2, 2018, pp. 241-267

International law has expanded significantly to encompass abuse of women’s rights, as a result of pressure from international civil society. There is now strong support for recognising violence against women as a human right issue. But attempts by women’s groups to promote consensus on reproductive rights, especially the right to safe access to abortion, have met with strong opposition or conservative religious bodies at both an international and local level.  This article includes a case study of local direct action in Australia against access to abortion, and also a wider evaluation of the impact of anti-abortion protest groups on women’s rights. It also examines how far legislation to limit anti-abortion activism in designated areas is effective, and how far such legislation is consistent with international norms and feminised international laws.