Brazil Could See Intense Debate to Legalize Abortion in Coming Months

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 10, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Brazil Could See Intense Debate to Legalize Abortion in Coming Months Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 10
, 2007

Brasilia, Brazil ( — The pro-abortion move across Central and South America to legalize abortions is headed back to Brazil and the nation’s minister of health has asked for a debate on the issue and a bill to make it legal. The nation currently prohibits all abortions except those to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.

Jose Gomes Temporao claimed as many as 200,000 women were having illegal abortions and suffering from life-threatening complications as a result.

Though legalizing abortion didn’t make it safer in other names, he wants Brazil to follow suit.

And pro-life groups point out that complications occur 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.

Despite his call for legalizing abortion, an August 2006 poll by Datafolha published in Folha de Sao Paulo some 63 percent of Brazilians say they favor the current law

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.

Also, a Pew Research firm poll from October 2006 found that 79 percent of Brazil residents said abortion was never justified, 16 percent said sometimes justified and just 4 percent said abortion was always justified.

Temporao also called for a less religiuous-oriented debate over abortion but leaders of the church in this overwhelmingly Catholic nation say abortion violates Christian views. Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid, the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, told a gathering of 10,000 people that the church would not back down.

A new debate on abortion would be the second after the government backed down from a bill it sent congress in 2005 to try to legalize abortions.

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.

Only Cuba and Guyana have legalized abortions in Latin America, but abortion advocates in Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay are trying to authorize abortions there.