Professor Natalia Pires de Vasconcelos to speak Tuesday on inequality and health litigation amid pandemic in Brazil

Professor Natalia Pires de Vasconcelos, who was a Visiting Scholar here at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center earlier this year, will discuss legal challenges to inequities in health care in Brazil in an online presentation that our Center will host from 12 noon to 1 p.m. next Tuesday, November 9.

Pires is Assistant Professor of Law at Insper São Paulo, Brazil, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, Yale Law School. She is a founding member of the Center for the Analysis of Liberty and Authoritarianism, a Brazilian thinkthank known by its acronym, LAUT. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Law from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and an LL.M. from Yale Law School. Her scholarship concerns social and economic rights in Latin America, with a focus on the right to health and health litigation.

In her presentation Tuesday, Pires will discuss “Business as Usual: Inequality and Health Litigation during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil.” Here’s her précis:

Brazil’s active judicial system has the power to define the constitutional content of the country’s healthcare policy by forcing the government to embrace equal protection of the right to health. In this talk, I present the results of an upcoming chapter in which I compare the pandemic’s effect on the judicial protection of the right to health for those incarcerated and those who are free. In both cases, courts had serious incentives to take the pandemic seriously and consider its disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. The judicial system, however, has approached the COVID-19 pandemic as mostly ‘business as usual.’ For those who are free, courts endorsed a ‘right to everything,’ granting patients’ requests regardless of the potentially disruptive effects on public policy, unequal access to judicial services, and pressing priorities related to the pandemic. For those incarcerated, judges upheld a long-lasting ‘right to nothing,’ remaining indifferent to the public-health risks presented by overcrowded and unsanitary conditions of Brazilian prisons and denying thousands of early-release and house-arrest requests by people in prisons.

Register here to attend Pires’ online presentation.

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