In an expected move, the Supreme Court of Brazil reversed a ruling by one of its judges in July that granted provisional legalization of anacephaly abortion.
The 7-4 ruling came after several weeks of debate between those who demanded permission to abort babies suffering from the malformation and those who defended the right of such babies not to be killed.
This past July 1, then Supreme Court Chief Justice Marco Aurelio Mello issued a ruling on his own legalizing the practice, in response to a case brought by the National Confederation of Health Workers.
On Wednesday night the Court reversed the ruling, saying the decision on this matter should be made by the entire body of justices, which will issue a definitive ruling on the issue in the coming months.
Justice Mello attempted to justify his ruling by alleging that anacephaly constitutes a risk to the life of the mother. But that theory has been discarded by doctors, since anacephaly causes the imminent death of the child either before or after birth, but does not cause the mother to be at risk.
The Court has 30 days to issue a ruling on whether or not it will legalize such abortions.