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April 18, 2024

U.S. State Abortion Bans: Medical Exceptions, Human Rights Impacts

The Supreme Court building in the United States

In April 2024 the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in two cases involving access to emergency abortion care in Idaho. How the Supreme Court decides will affect the broader U.S. conversation around how medical exceptions to abortion bans across the country interact with federal law, medical ethical obligations, and international human rights law. In this webinar, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, the UN special rapporteur on the right to health, and leading medical and human rights experts discussed how clinicians and advocates in the United States can draw on international standards and comparative experiences to counter narrow medical exceptions and promote human rights.

This event was co-sponsored by the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and the Global Health Institute at Georgetown University with Ipas and Physicians for Human Rights.


Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng is the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to health and co-chair of the O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination, and Global Health.

Dr. Guillermo Ortiz is a senior medical adviser at Ipas and obstetrician gynecologist from El Salvador.

Rebecca Reingold (moderator) is the associate director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law.

Payal Shah is the director of the program on sexual violence in conflict zones at Physicians for Human Rights.