• Bonnie Venter

The Worldly Gavel

Welcome to the October edition of the Worldly Gavel!

October, of course, marks one of my favourite months. Not only do I get to celebrate my birthday but due to Halloween I also get to enjoy some spine-chilling horrors (and of course the lack of sleep afterwards).

From a medical law perspective, October was a busy month which marked another great victory for the reproductive health freedoms of women! [Read more about it below].

In no particular order of importance here are some of the latest medical law developments.

At last, abortion has been decriminalised in Northern Ireland! This marks a momentous victory for those in favour of the human right to self-determination. Due to this triumph, women will no longer be forced to travel to Britain to obtain abortions. Legal abortion services are now finally accessible in their own country. (BBC)

The Portuguese Medical Council decided to suspend a doctor for six months after a baby was born without eyes, nose and a part of the skull. Dr Carvalho allegedly performed three ultrasounds but failed to inform the parents of any abnormalities. (Fox)

Scientists in the Netherlands reported that they are within 10 years of developing the first artificial womb which could save the lives of premature babies. (The Guardian)

The Johannesburg High Court denied an asylum seeker’s urgent application to be kept on chronic haemodialysis treatment after her kidneys failed. (MedicalBrief)

A Kenyan doctor is seeking to legalize female genital mutilation (FGM) and in turn have the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2001 repealed. She argues that FGM is an age-old Kenyan tradition and that a ban on the practice infringes on women’s right to exercise their cultural beliefs. (CNN)

That’s it from Worldly Gavel for the month of Spooktober. Check-in with the Patient Project next month for more another update on medical law from around the world.

Have you come across any thought-provoking medical law news this month? What’s your opinion on the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on our social media pages:




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The Patient Project is made available for educational purposes only. The website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a practicing legal professional. The information presented may not necessarily reflect the most current legal developments or judgments. The website materials may be changed, improved, or updated without notice. The author is not responsible for any errors or omissions. All views expressed on the website are the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which the author has been, am now or will be affiliated with in the future.

© 2023 Bonnie Venter

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