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Brazil’s Congress Votes on Controversial Abortion Bill

By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL- On Tuesday Brazil’s Lower House will once again try to vote on a controversial bill which includes the establishment of beginning of human life at conception, which would make abortion in the country illegal. According to a recent study, however, shows that the majority of Brazilians accept abortion in specific cases.

Brazil, Women protest against bill which could make all forms of abortion illegal
Women protest against bill which could make all forms of abortion illegal, photo Rovena Rosa/Agência Brasil.

“The interruption of pregnancy is accepted by a significant portion of the population, depending on the situation,” said members of Agencia Patricia Galvão, which along with Instituto Locomotiva, conducted the study.

The report released on Monday shows that the majority of Brazilians are favorable to abortion, when in confronted with specific situations including if the fetus is diagnosed with a serious or incurable disease (41 percent) if the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother (48 percent) or if the woman becomes pregnant after being raped (59 percent).

The study dubbed “Perceptions of Abortion in Brazil”, however, showed that the in all other cases, including pregnancy in girls 14 years old and younger Brazilians are contrary to abortion of the fetus.

This will be the third attempt to finalize the discussion of the bill on the House floor. The main text approved earlier this month by a Chamber commission prohibited of all forms of abortion in the country.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Representative Jorge Tadeu Mudalen life begins at the point which the egg is fertilized by the sperm and not just after birth. “We are supportive of life,” said Mudalen, during the November vote.

Representative Jô Moraes (PCdoB-MG), one of the only three women on the 20-member Congressional committee and the only lawmaker that voted against the bill, says that the measure could make abortion unfeasible in cases already allowed by the Brazilian legal system.

“The right to the interruption of pregnancy in cases the life of the mother is at risk and in cases of rape was won in the last century. The attempt is a disrespect to the current legislation on the rights of women,” she said in an interview with news magazine Carta Capital.

In Brazil, abortion is legal in three cases: when the mother’s life is at risk, when the pregnancy results from rape and when the fetus is anencephalic. According to the 2016 National Abortion Survey, conducted by the University of Brasilia (UnB), in 2015 alone 500,000 women performed illegal abortions.

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