A new poll of Brazilian lawmakers shows that the majority of the nation's congressional leaders taking office on Feb. 1 this week are directly against the legalization of abortion.

A poll released on Jan. 29 by the GI News Network in Brazil asked the 513 congressmen whether or not they agreed with legalizing abortion in the country. Of the 414 who responded, 267 said “no,” 78 said “yes,” 37 said “in some cases” and 32 said they did not have an opinion on the question.

The 267 lawmakers who voiced opposition to abortion make up 52.4 percent of the Brazilian Congress and 64.4 percent of the total number of members who responded to the question.

The GI poll, which took place Nov. 29 through Jan. 27 via phone and e-mail, also found that of those who took the survey, 74.6 percent said they were Catholic. Only 10.2 percent of these – some 52 lawmakers in total – said they identified themselves as Catholics who support abortion.

GI also reported that during the 1990s, more than 50 measures on abortion came before the Brazilian House of Representatives. Most proposed changes to the law that would lessen or increase the penalties against those who practice or undergo an abortion.

Brazil’s new president, Dilma Rousseff, has voiced her support for the legalization of abortion on numerous occasions. Her stance cost her seven million votes in the first round of presidential voting on Oct. 3 last year, the same date on which the 513 members of the new Congress were elected.

During the runoff elections on Oct. 31, however,  Rousseff said she was “personally opposed to abortion” and promised not to send any measure that would legalize the practice to the country's congress. 



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