Government commission recommends legalization of abortion in Brazil

.- A government commission established to study the question of abortion in Brazil has made its official recommendation that the practice be legalized.  Members of the commission met on Monday to hammer out the final details of a proposed law which was sent yesterday to the Special Secretary for Policies for Women, Nilcea Freire.

A radical feminist, Freire is renowned in Brazil for her efforts to legalize abortion and the morning-after pill through reinterpretation or modification of existing laws.  

At the conclusion of Monday’s meeting, she stated approval of the commission’s proposal would be one of the priorities for feminist groups in the country.

Congresswoman Jandira Feghali, a supporter of the measure and member of the Communist Party of Brazil, said the approval of the proposal “would not be easy.”  “The different social movements need to move quickly in order for the proposal to be considered this year.  If it is postponed until 2006, which is an election year, the chances of it being approved will be even less.”

Brazil’s Health Minister, Saraiva Felipe, said if the proposal is approved by Congress, he would not put any obstacles in the way of its application, but in no way would he work for its approval.

On the other hand, pro-life Congresswoman Angela Guadagnin expressed disappointment at the commission’s conclusions.  “Such conclusions by the commission were to be expected since most of the members were in favor of the legalization of abortion.  They certainly do not represent the will or the desire of society.” 

At the same time, she said, the commission’s final report will have little importance.  “As opposed to what happened with the Commission, the situation in Congress will be different.  In fact, there is a sharp divide over this issue and the proposal will not go forward,” she predicted.

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