by Steven Ertelt
August 21, 2006
Brasilia, Brazil (LifeNews.com) — A new poll in Brazil finds an overwhelming majority of people there want the South American nation to keep its current pro-life law banning abortions. The poll comes several months after the Brazilian government backed down on supporting a bill in the nation’s congress to legalize abortion.
According to a poll by Datafolha published in Folha de Sao Paulo some 63 percent of Brazilians say they favor the current law that bans abortions unless the woman’s life is in danger from the pregnancy or she is a victim of rape.
Only 17 percent of Brazil residents want to change the law to legalize abortion and some 11 percent want abortions banned in all cases, including life of the mother or rape and incest.
About 9 percent of the 6,969 Brazilian adults polled had no opinion. The poll has just a two percent margin of error because of the large sample and Datafolha conducted it on August 7 and 8.
Abortion has been a crime since 1940 and about 80 percent of the residents of the large nation are Catholic.
In January, the government backed down from a bill it sent congress last September to legalize abortion.
If approved, the legislation would legalize abortions up to 12 weeks into pregnancy and up to 20 weeks in cases of rape or incest, if the mother’s life is at risk, or if the unborn child is unlikely to survive after birth.
The government backed down in part because of upcoming elections. Due to corruption scandals, the ruling government had lost public support and it didn’t want to be engaged in a highly controversial topic like abortion that could cost it additional support.
"Taking a life is no way to address an unwanted pregnancy," Angela Guadagnin, a congresswoman leading the effort to stop the bill, told Reuters at the time. "We’re not going to let it happen."
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, of the pro-abortion Workers’ Party, has also suggested he opposes the bill.
Brazilian abortion advocates are trying to use the issue of illegal abortions to press for support for the legislation. They say thousands of women are injured from illegal abortions every year.
But pro-life groups point out that it’s because women are using an ulcer drug, Cytotec, which is not intended for use in abortions. They also point to countries with legal abortions and show that women still die from and are injured by abortions.
Last November, Pope Benedict XVI called on pro-life advocates to step up to the plate to defend life. During a meeting with Brazilian bishops, the Pope made a special plea for them to lead the fight against the legislation.
Brazil’s bishops strenuously fought the legislation. They called the measure "a frontal attack on the basic right of every human being: the right to be born."
The abortion battle in Latin American nations isn’t confined to Brazil. Only Cuba and Guyana have legalized abortions, but abortion advocates in Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay are trying to authorize abortions there.