To the Streets

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Thousands of Brazilians took to the streets in cities across the country over the weekend to protest a bill that would equate abortions with homicide, including in cases where the pregnancy is the result of a rape, Le Monde reported.

On Saturday, about 10,000 demonstrators – predominantly women – marched through São Paulo to protest the new measure, with demonstrations also taking place in other cities, including Rio de Janeiro and the capital, Brasilia.

The proposed law, supported by conservative lawmakers, would equate abortions after 22 weeks with homicide.

Currently, Brazil permits abortion only in cases of rape, a significant risk to the mother’s life, or when the fetus has no functioning brain. Violating this law results in prison sentences of up to three years.

But the new bill would offer sentences of up to 20 years. Health professionals carrying out the procedure would also be punished.

Supporters of the bill said that Brazil’s 1940 penal code did not account for modern abortion capabilities, equating late-term abortion with infanticide. However, the bill is seen as a political move to galvanize Evangelical support ahead of municipal elections in October.

Critics say such late-term abortions are often sought by child rape survivors who detect their pregnancies much later than most women. They also pointed out that convicted rapists are usually sentenced to around 10 years, according to the BBC.

Data from 2022 showed that of the 74,930 rape victims in Brazil, 61.4 percent were under 14, according to the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety. Researchers highlight that late-term abortion restrictions disproportionately affect children, poor women, Black women, and those in rural areas.

Left-wing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, facing pressure from both sides, emphasized treating abortion as a public health issue while denouncing the harsh penalties proscribed by the bill.

Feminist movements across Latin America have recently achieved significant victories, with Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina moving toward decriminalizing or legalizing abortion.

Brazil’s top court also began considering decriminalization last year.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at [email protected].

Copy link