Human Rights Speaker Series: The Zika Crisis: A Balancing Act for Women´s Human Rights, Public Health, & Disability Rights


The scope of abortion rights has been forcefully debated worldwide, including in international fora and in light of international human rights principles. Regulation of abortion across the world has varied from complete prohibition, to authorization in limited exceptions, to legal abortion being recognized in law and practice. Concurrently, states have been advancing the rights of individuals with disabilities under international law, with access to equal treatment and prohibition of discriminatory measures central to the discussion.

The implications of the Zika virus on fetal development have raised concerns about reproductive health issues in the face of legal restrictions to the access to abortion. At the same time, pursuing abortion owing to the potential disability of a fetus has raised concerns from human rights advocates of individuals with disabilities.

This panel will debate the tensions between the right of access to abortion and the protection of the rights of individuals with disabilities raised by the Zika virus, including global health, public policy, and international human rights law issues.


  • Oscar Cabrera, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and Georgetown University Law Center
  • Rebecca Cook, International Program on Reproductive and Sexual Health Law, University of Toronto, 
  • Monica Roa, Women’s Link Worldwide

Moderator: Daniela Kraiem, American University Washington College of Law

This event is sponsored by ASIL and the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

Date and Location

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Tillar House
Address 1: 
2223 Massachusetts Ave NW
Zip Code: