Brazilian congress debates law that would legalize abortion


On September 27, the special secretary for Women’s Policies, Nilceia Freire, sent a proposal to the Brazilian Congress that would legalize abortion in that country and allow them to be obtained at state-run health facilities.

If approved the measure would modify the Brazilian Penal Code and remove all references to abortion as a crime.  It would allow abortion on demand up the 12th week and in cases of rape up to the 20th.

It would also allow abortion at any time for life of the mother, in cases of anencephaly, or if there is “incompatibility with life.”

Currently abortion is allowed in Brazil only for the life of the mother or in cases of rape.  In cases of rape, women are not required to file a police report before obtaining an abortion, thanks to a measure signed into law last March by President Lula da Silva.

Bishop Odilio Scherer, Secretary General of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, said the president’s actions were disappointing, as he had previously sent a letter to the bishops promising he would not sign any law that would constitute an attack on human life, in whatever stage.  “We had hoped that the president would think hard and not present the proposal,” said Bishop Scherer, adding that now the bishops hope further laws endangering the lives of the unborn will not be implemented.

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