Brazil Health Committee Unanimously Defeats Bill Legalizing Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 7, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Brazil Health Committee Unanimously Defeats Bill Legalizing Abortion

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 7
, 2008

Brasilia, Brazil ( — A health committee in the Brazilian parliament has defeated a proposed that would have legalized abortion. Today’s vote took place in the Social Security and Family Commission of the Chamber of Deputies and it went better than expected for pro-life advocates opposed to the bill.

Marie Smith, the director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues in Washington, told about the vote and said Deputy Luiz Carlos Bassuma, the MP who orchestrated the pro-life side of the debate, was pleasantly surprised.

Bussama, the president of the Parliamentary Front in Defense of Life, had hoped a majority of the members of the health panel would reject legalizing abortion and he was taken aback when they unanimously voted against it 33-0.

"Two deputies who defend abortion left in protest and, to our surprise, their substitutes came in and voted against the bill together with 31 other legislators in favor of life," Smith said.

The South American nation only allows abortions in the very rare cases when the woman is a victim of rape or if the pregnancy threatens her life.

The vote represents the views of Brazilians as an April poll found them strongly opposed to changing the nation’s law that prohibits abortions.

The daily newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo conducted the poll March 25-27 with interviews of 4,044 Brazilian adults and the survey had a two percent margin of error.

The poll found 68 percent of Brazil citizens want the current pro-life law to remain in place — a number that has increased in each of the last two years.

The 2007 version of the poll found 65 percent wanted to keep the abortion ban and 63 percent favored the ban in 2006.

Just 14 percent said they favored modifying the pro-life law to allow abortions in some cases — down from 16 percent last year and 17 percent in 2006. Only 11 percent of Brazilians favor making abortions legal wholesale and that statistic remains unchanged from the 2006 survey.

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 wants abortion legalized even though legal abortions still hurt women physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The newspaper poll confirmed those from an October 2006 survey by the Pew Research firm.

Pew found 79 percent of Brazil residents said abortion was never justified, 16 percent said sometimes justified and just 4 percent said abortion was always justified.