Brazil Poll: Citizens Oppose Catholic Church on Abortion, Results Disputed

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 15, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Brazil Poll: Citizens Oppose Catholic Church on Abortion, Results Disputed Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 15,

Brasilia, Brazil ( — A new poll of citizens in Brazil claims that a strong majority oppose the views of the Catholic Church there, which doesn’t want the nation’s government to legalize abortions. However the results of the survey differ significantly with previous polls showing most Brazilians want the pro-life law retained.

The Ibope polling agency conducted interviews with 2,002 Brazilian adults in mid-May and asked: "The Catholic Church opposes abortion under any circumstance. Do you agree or disagree with this view?"

The survey showed just 41 percent sided with the Catholic Church’s pro-life stance while 59 percent disagreed with it.

Ibope’s polling comes nowhere close to the results of other polls on the topic of abortion — likely because it mentioned banning all abortions. Had the poll reflected the status of the current abortion law in Brazil it would probably have come up with different results.

An August 2006 poll by Datafolha published in Folha de Sao Paulo found some 63 percent of Brazilians say they favor the current law banning abortions except those to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.

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. Another 9 percent had no opinion.

The Datafolha poll featured interviews with 6,969 Brazilian and had just a two percent margin of error because of the large sample size.

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.

The feeling of Brazilians is important because Brazil’s socialist-leaning president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Brazilian health minister Jose Gomes Temporao want to legalize abortion.

They have already announced a plan to distribute the morning after pill, which can cause abortions in limited circumstances, at no cost.

Temporao claimed as many as 200,000 women were having illegal abortions and suffering from life-threatening complications as a result. He abortions abortion legalized even though legal abortions still hurt women physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid, the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, told a gathering of 10,000 people earlier this year that the church would not back down from supporting the law.

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