I/A Court, Gretel Artavia Murillo et al. ("In Vitro Fertilization") v. Costa Rica


Source: Wikicommons

We have prepared an amicus curiae brief in this case of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The case arises out of a total ban on In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) by Costa Rica in effect since 2000. Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world to ban IVF and the only one in the Americas. Costa Rica justifies the ban arguing that IVF causes the destruction of human embryos’ which, it claims, are protected life under Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights (Right to Life).

The case has been brought before the Inter-American Court by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights arguing that Costa Rica’s ban is an excessive measure that violates articles 11.2 (Prohibition of Arbitrary or Abusive Interference with Privacy) and 17.2 (Right to Marry and to Raise a Family) and 24 (Right to Equal Protection) of the American Convention.

In our brief we urged the Court to avoid entering into the difficult terrain of defining when life begins and rather approach the case through the lens of Article 29 of the Convention (Interpretative Parameters of the Convention), in particular paragraph (a) ""No provision of this Convention shall be interpreted as … permitting any State Party … to suppress the enjoyment or exercise of the rights and freedoms recognized in this Convention or to restrict them to a greater extent than is provided for herein" and (b) "No provision of this Convention shall be interpreted as … permitting any State Party … restrict the enjoyment or exercise of any right or freedom recognized … by virtue of another convention to which one of the said states is a party". Thus, we proceeded to show the Court that the total ban is an excessive measure by describing how IVF is regulated in all States of the Americas, pointing out that Costa Rica is alone is banning it. Then we argued that the ban on IVF causes a violation of several rights contained in human rights treaties that have been ratified by Costa Rica including the Protocol of San Salvador to the American convention; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities; the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Inter-American Convention on Violence against Women; and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Our brief, submitted in September 2012 in Spanish and English, has been endorsed and co-signed by eleven academics and human rights practitioners from the USA, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and Greece.