Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Apr 27, 2020 / 15:35 pm America/Denver (CNA).
A majority of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal has voted against an intervention seeking to decriminalize abortion for expectant mothers diagnosed with the Zika virus.
The judges convened a virtual plenary session April 24 to hear arguments for and against the “Direct Action on Unconstitutionality-ADI 5581,” a legal intervention filed with the court by the National Association of Public Defenders.
While the court has until April 30 to vote on the matter, 7 of its 11 members have already voted in opposition, effectively rejecting the measure.
Abortion is illegal in Brazil but previous Supreme Court rulings have declared it a “non-punishable crime” in cases of rape, a proven risk to life of the mother and, as of 2012, babies diagnosed with anencephaly.
The Zika virus garnered international attention in 2015 after areas of Brazil noted a spike in cases of the birth defect microcephaly – a condition marked by abnormally small heads, brains, and developmental delays – following a recent outbreak of the virus in areas of northeastern Brazil.