Media reports on the day before the elections placed Feghali eight points ahead of her rival, Fernando Dornelles. However, the final vote tally revealed that Dornelles beat the pro-abortion candidate by several hundred thousand votes.
Leaders from Feghali’s Communist Party blamed the defeat on the “dirty tricks of the right,” referencing the efforts by independent pro-life groups to inform voters that as a congresswoman Feghali was a major backer of a measure to legalize abortion in Brazil.
Feghali had been enraged by the efforts of pro-life groups and, prior to the elections, accused the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro of actively campaigning against her. Election officials responded by ordering an intense investigation and search of the residence of Cardinal Oscar Scheid for evidence of his political involvement. Agents came up empty handed and officials were forced to lift a court ordered ban, which had been requested by the Feghali campaign to prevent Church leaders from speaking on abortion.
In the end, it appears that the conflict with the Archdiocese not only turned public opinion against Feghali, but also focused the campaign on the issue of abortion, which she had worked to avoid.
Feghali did everything possible to hide her ties to abortion from the public, including removing from her website all references to abortion and her voting record on the issue.
Pro-life analysts in Brazil told CNA, “If Feghali had been transparent and honest about the facts, she would have lost by a much greater margin.”
.- Pro-life groups in Brazil are celebrating the results of the country’s general elections in which abortion rights candidate, Jandira Feghali, lost to her bid for the Senate despite earlier polls that indicated she was ahead of her rival.