Brazil Congress Might Ban All Abortions Even When Mother’s Life Is in Danger

    March against abortion in Brasília - Valter Campanato/ABr

    More pregnant women could die in Brazil if it passes a law banning all abortions, including in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is in danger, critics said.

    Thousands of women took to Brazil’s streets earlier this month to protest against the bill, which is supported by increasingly influential evangelical Christian groups.

    “It’s intentional fraud from fundamentalist congressmen who think that their religious dogmas have greater weight than the democratic state,” said congresswoman Erika Kokay, who opposes the constitutional reform bill.

    “It’s absurd and is a huge setback against legislation on women’s rights in force since the 1940s,” she said.

    Abortion is illegal in Brazil, home to the world’s largest Catholic community, except when pregnancy is due to rape, endangers the mother’s life or if the fetus has anencephaly, in which a baby is missing parts of the brain and skull.

    More than 1 million abortions take place in clandestine clinics each year and thousands of women end up in hospital as a result of botched procedures, according to government estimates.

    A Congressional committee, which voted by 18-1 in favor of a bill to ban abortion under all circumstances earlier this month, is voting again on certain sections with the aim of securing a unanimous vote.

    Kokay – the committee’s only female member and the only one to oppose the bill in the earlier vote – said she and other politicians will oppose it in Brazil’s top court, if necessary.

    Conservative lawmakers say that life begins at conception and laws must protect the unborn child’s rights at all costs.

    The move to criminalize all abortions is part of a trend by a growing evangelical caucus in Brazil’s Congress to roll back women’s rights on social issues, campaigners say.

    “We want congress to guarantee more rights, not to remove them,” said Jurema Werneck, Brazil director of Amnesty International, which has launched an online campaign against the bill with about 40,000 signatures collected so far.

    The bill requires two-thirds of the votes in both chambers of Congress to become law as part of a constitutional amendment.

    It would then need to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by Brazil’s conservative President Michel Temer.

    The law could win votes as part of a trade-off for other legislation the governing coalition seeks to pass, such as pension reform to plug a gaping budget deficit, analysts said.

    Deborah Duprat, a prosecutor for citizen’s rights in the Office of the Attorney General, said the bill was unconstitutional and a “violent act” against women that puts their lives at risk.

    “The World Health Organization states that unsafe abortion is one of the main causes of death among women that could be avoided,” she said.

    This article was produced by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Visit them at http://www.thisisplace.org

    Tags:

    • Show Comments (0)

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    comment *

    • name *

    • email *

    • website *

    Ads

    You May Also Like

    Brazilians protesting in the streets

    Lula’s Conviction Is a Testament to How Far Brazil Has Come as a Democracy

    After Dilma Rousseff was ousted as president in August 2016, Brazil’s pro-impeachment camp confidently ...

    Brazilian protesters in front of the National Congress - Antonio Cruz/ABr

    Amid Attempts to Grant Amnesty to Politicians, Brazilians Take to the Streets Against Corruption

    Brazilians furious at corruption demonstrated on Sunday in support of a politically explosive probe ...

    Brazilian airports are being privatized to raise cash

    Short of Cash, Brazil Plans a Massive Privatization to Raise US$ 28 Billion

    With Brazil’s budget deficit calculated at reaching almost US$ 50 billion, president Michel Temer ...

    Brazil's federal police

    A Suitcase Full of Money: The Evidence of Bribery Against Brazil’s President

    Brazilian federal police handed a top court an investigation alleging that President Michel Temer ...

    African mother cares for sick child

    US to Join Brazil in Fight Against Malaria and Tuberculosis in Africa

    Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and his US counterpart, George Bush, agreed ...

    Street market in São Paulo, Brazil

    Elections and Uncertainty About Pension Reform Lower Brazil’s Credit Rating

    Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s cut Brazil’s credit rating further below investment grade as ...