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Revisiting Baby Boy v. United States: Why the IACHR Resolution did not Effectively Undermine the Inter-American System on Human Rights’ Protection of the Right to Life from Conception
23 FLA. J. INT’L L. 221-76 (2011)
  • Ligia M De Jesus, Ave Maria School of Law
Abstract
Not many are aware Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton were challenged before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in 1981. In Baby Boy v. United States, the quasi-judicial regional human rights body concluded that the abortion of Baby Boy, a viable male fetus, was permissible under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and, incidentally, the American Convention on Human Rights, notwithstanding the fact that the latter protects the right to life "from the moment of conception" and the former contains an implied right to life for every "human being". In addition, the Commission held that the United States’ creation of a fundamental right to abortion through Roe v. Wade was not incompatible with the Declaration or the Convention and that neither instrument required member states to ban abortion. This article examines the nature of the Baby Boy resolution, its potential legal effects, the legal weight it actually has in the Inter-American system and whether it created a treaty exception to the right to life for voluntary abortion. It concludes that Baby Boy did not validly create an abortion exception to the right to life in Inter-American system on human rights. It also demonstrates that Baby Boy is not an authoritative interpretation of the Declaration or the Convention, has no precedential value on abortion in the Inter-American system of human rights and therefore neither Latin American states nor the Inter-American Court on Human Rights have a duty to follow the Commission’s decision therein.
Keywords
  • American Convention on Human Rights,
  • article 4,
  • Inter-American system,
  • right to life,
  • conception,
  • abortion,
  • unborn,
  • Baby Boy
Publication Date
2011
Citation Information
Ligia M De Jesus. "Revisiting Baby Boy v. United States: Why the IACHR Resolution did not Effectively Undermine the Inter-American System on Human Rights’ Protection of the Right to Life from Conception" 23 FLA. J. INT’L L. 221-76 (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/ligia_dejesus/7/