On Thursday, the Federal Council of Medicine in Brazil announced their support for legislative reform of the country’s current abortion laws. The proposed legislation being debated in the Brazilian Senate would legalize abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It would also expand a current exception that allows abortion in only in the case of brain defects to include other fetal anomalies and would allow abortion in cases of insemination or in-vitro fertilization without consent.

The Council’s president, Roberto Luis d’Avila, told reporters, “The reality of the facts shows that women are getting abortions with great inequality… Rich women are getting them in safe conditions and the poor, completely unsafe… with complications, losing their uteruses, losing parts of their intestines, dying. It’s not possible. This inequality is unacceptable from the medical point of view.” In a statement released by the Council, d’Avila said “The council is not in favor of abortion, but rather the empowerment of women and physicians. In this sense, medical organizations agree with the proposal still under consideration in the Congress.”

The Brazilian National Conference of Bishops has already spoken out against the Federal Council of Medicine for its position. Despite being predominantly Catholic, approximately 1 million abortions are performed illegally in Brazil a year. About 200,000 women die each year in Brazil from unsafe abortion, which is the fifth leading cause of death for women in the country.

Media Resources: International Business Times 3/23/2013; Associated Press 3/21/2013; BBC 3/21/2013

Human face painted with flag of Brazil from Shutterstock

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