CEDAW incorporation and federalism: the role of subnational conflict for the strengthening of women's rights through an abortion case in Argentina

The paper examines a conflict-centered subnational incorporation model of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), through the lens of an abortion case in Argentina: “Case of L.M.R.” from the Province of Buenos Aires. This case was brought by feminist organizations to the Human Rights Committee after a 19 year-old with a permanent mental disability was denied a non-punishable abortion in a public hospital. The case was highly visible in national and local media, generating the first provincial health policy regarding non-punishable abortions in the country. The provincial Superior Tribunal advanced an interpretation of the de facto total ban on abortion following human rights law arguments. This process of subnational mobilization entailed an incorporation of human rights law that could be interpreted as an informal enforcement mechanism, and as a channel contributing to human rights effectiveness and democratic legitimacy.