Brazilian lawmakers consider anencephaly abortion ban

.- Lawmakers in Brazil have put three bills up for debate in an attempt to overturn a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court on April 12 that legalized abortion in cases of anencephaly.

The Supreme Court voted 8-2 last month to legalize abortion in cases of unborn babies with the condition, which causes the brain to develop only partially or be completely absent.

Over 80 percent of Brazilians have said they do not support abortion in such cases and the country’s bishops have repeatedly voice opposition to any such proposals.

In response to the ruling, Evangelical congressman Marco Feliciano introduced the first bill on May 9 which specifically aims to curtail the power of the Executive Branch to promulgate Supreme Court rulings. 

He claims that Justice Marco Aurelio Mello, who wrote the Supreme Court ruling on abortion, announced his position to the media beforehand and violated the court’s norms for confidentiality.

On May 10 congressmen Roberto de Lucena, Salvador Zimbaldi and Joao Campos announced a bill similar to Feliciano’s, arguing that the high court has no authority to legislate from the bench.

The third bill, announced on May 14 by Congressman Nazareno Fonteles, calls on the Brazilian Congress to overturn the ruling. Fonteles said the court has “repeatedly” violated the Brazilian constitution, which states that only Congress has the power to enact laws.

“Rulings by the Supreme Court on matters that are clearly to be decided by the Legislative Branch have become increasingly more common,” his bill states.

According to Catholic attorney Ives Gandra Martins, who was cited in the first of the three bills, the bill put forth by Congressman Fonteles “could overturn this ruling, if the National Congress had the courage to do so.”

Pro-life leaders praised the sponsors of the three measures and called for support especially for the measure by Congressman Feliciano.

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