Brazilian voters get their final say in what has become a contention presidential election over the issue of abortion when they head to the polls on Sunday.
The race has seen candidates battle over who will really uphold the current pro-life law that prohibits virtually all abortions.
Runnoff elections are scheduled for Sunday pitting centrist candidate Jose Serra against Dilma Rousseff of the ruling Workers Party. Over the last two weeks, they have battled over the current abortion law, which protects unborn children from abortion and only allows it in the cases of rape or to save the life of the mother.
Pope Benedict XVI has told Brazil’s bishops to emphasize the Catholic Church’s opposition to abortion. he said yesterday that priests should remind their congregations to use their votes to uphold the respect of human life and that democracy itself is undermined and “betrayed at its very roots” when abortion is allowed.
Serra, the opposition candidate, has focused part of his campaign on a criticism that she will not sufficiently protect unborn children.
Anna Franzonello, an attorney with Americans United for Life, a pro-life legal group in the United States, explains the debate the two have had during the second round of the presidential election.
Rousseff has signed a pledge that she will not initiate a liberalization of the abortion laws and, in the past, she has supported expanding abortion. the pledge claims she is “personally against abortion” and she promises “not to “take the initiative to propose alterations of points that have to do with abortion legislation.
“Her failure to win an outright majority in the first round of voting on October 3 is attributed to her liberal positions on abortion and other social issues. Recent polls demonstrate that over 70% of Brazilians oppose any changes to the existing abortion laws,” Franzonello explains.
She warns pro-life voters to closely examine Rousseff’s language of her pledge.
“Of course, voters should always be cautious when a politician’s promise at election time does not align with her past statements and actions. Pro-life voters in Brazil should note that Rousseff was careful only to promise not to initiate changes to the abortion laws. She did not promise to oppose pro-abortion measures,” she said.
“Whether or not Rousseff’s signed statement is enough to win Brazil’s presidential election this weekend, the real take-away is that there is a growing global movement against pro-abortion politics. Citizens of the world are tired of politicians and their appointees denying human beings their most basic human right – the right to life,” she concluded.