Brazil: Reject Abortion Ban

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Brazil: Reject Abortion Ban
Constitutional Amendment Would Endanger Women, Girls; Violate Rights

December 12, 2017

(São Paulo) – Brazilian lawmakers should reject a dangerous constitutional amendment that would prohibit abortion in all circumstances, Human Rights Watch said today. The proposed amendment would ban abortion even for pregnancies resulting from rape, or when the life of the woman is in danger.

The proposed abortion ban is part of a constitutional amendment being considered on December 12, 2017, by a special congressional committee of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies. The committee approved the amendment in November, in a controversial vote, with 18 men voting yes and 1 woman voting no.

Continued at source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/12/12/brazil-reject-abortion-ban

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Brazilian who pushed abortion debate ends pregnancy abroad

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Brazilian who pushed abortion debate ends pregnancy abroad

By renata brito and sarah dilorenzo, associated press
SAO PAULO — Dec 11, 2017

A woman believed to be the first in Brazil to ask the state for permission to end a pregnancy that did not result from a rape or involve medical issues has had an abortion — in Colombia.

With one request denied by the Supreme Court and fearing that another would languish in the justice system, Rebeca Mendes told The Associated Press on Monday that she decided to have the procedure done abroad so as not to be punished in Brazil.

The decision ends her involvement in a case that garnered national headlines in Latin America's most populous nation and sought to push the limits on restrictive abortion laws.

Continued at source: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/brazilian-pushed-abortion-debate-ends-pregnancy-abroad-51725692

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Bolivia lawmakers vote to ease abortion limits

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Bolivia lawmakers vote to ease abortion limits

The Associated Press
December 6, 2017

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Bolivian lawmakers voted on Wednesday to ease the country’s tight restrictions on abortions, shrugging aside opposition from religious groups.

The Legislative Assembly vote will allow “students, adolescents or girls” to have abortions up to the eighth week of pregnancy. The measure doesn’t specify ages, but it appears to apply to girls up to and including 17 years old and older students who still depend on their parents or guardians.

Continued at source: http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/bolivia-lawmakers-vote-to-ease-abortion-limits

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UN says Canadian funding for reproductive health agency critical after U.S. cuts

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UN says Canadian funding for reproductive health agency critical after U.S. cuts

Michelle Zilio, OTTAWA
December 6, 2017

The head of the UN reproductive health and rights agency says Canada's financial support has been critical to the agency's work after President Donald Trump cut U.S. funding this year.

Natalia Kanem, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, says the withdrawal of almost $70-million (U.S.) in American funding will put millions of women's lives at risk in the years to come. Dr. Kanem, who was in Ottawa on Wednesday to launch the agency's annual population report, said the Canadian government's renewal of $15.6-million (Canadian) in funding is "lifesaving" for vulnerable women and girls in some of the poorest regions of the world.

Continued at source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/un-says-canadian-funding-for-reproductive-health-agency-critical-after-us-cuts/article37230933/

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Brazil: No Woman Should Need to Beg for An Abortion

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No Woman Should Need to Beg for An Abortion

Margaret Wurth, Researcher, Children's Rights Division
December 1, 2017

Last week, Rebeca Mendes Silva Leite, a 30-year-old woman from São Paulo, Brazil, asked Brazil’s Supreme Court for permission to safely and legally terminate an unplanned pregnancy she does not want to continue.

No woman should find herself in this position. But because Rebeca lives in Brazil, where abortion is illegal in most circumstances, she does not qualify for a legal abortion.

Continued at source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/12/01/no-woman-should-need-beg-abortion

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Brazil’s Abortion Battle

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Brazil’s Abortion Battle

By Sabrina Fernandes
Nov 29, 2017

The Brazilian right's efforts to destroy abortion rights are key to their broader crusade against the Left.

Brazil’s right wing has gotten ahead through a series of dirty tricks. The 2015 impeachment of Workers Party (PT) president Dilma Rousseff, pushed through despite the absence of any “crime of responsibility,” is the most notorious example. Now, through similarly slick manuevers, they’re seeking further restrictions on reproductive rights. This, in a country where already one woman dies from a clandestine abortion procedure every nine minutes.

Currently, abortion is legal only in particular cases, such as when there’s a direct threat to the life of the pregnant person, or when the pregnancy results from rape. It’s these exceptions that the conservative and Evangelical parliamentary front is seeking to destroy. Through a variety of proposed bills and amendments, they may eliminate the right to abortion completely.

Continued at source: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/11/brazil-abortion-rights-cunha-rousseff

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Ecuador: Congress Boosts Women’s Protection Against Violence

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Ecuador: Congress Boosts Women's Protection Against Violence

Published 29 November 2017

According to the National Institute of Statistics, 244 women have been murdered in Ecuador since 2014.

Ecuadorean lawmakers have approved a bill better protecting women against domestic violence and femicide while guaranteeing free access to public healthcare for those suffering complications during an abortion, a procedure still banned in the Andean country.

The bill was unanimously approved November 25, on the evening of the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women, and dispatched to the government waiting for approval. However, Monica Aleman, a lawmaker from the center-left governing party, then made a request to modify the bill.

Continued at source: https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Ecuadors-Congress-Approves-Bill-on-Gender-Violence-20171129-0043.html

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Even sex is in crisis in Venezuela, where contraceptives are growing scarce

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Even sex is in crisis in Venezuela, where contraceptives are growing scarce
By Mariana Zuñiga and Anthony Faiola
November 28, 2017

CARACAS, Venezuela — Yorlenis Gutierrez, a 28-year-old mother, spent months vainly scouring pharmacies for a drug whose scarcity is complicating her sex life and those of countless other Venezuelans. In a country beset by shortages, this is one of the most difficult: the disappearance of contraceptives.

When she couldn’t renew her supply of birth-control pills, Gutierrez and her husband made a choice. Long-term abstinence was not an option, they agreed.

Continued at source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/even-sex-is-in-crisis-in-venezuela-where-contraceptives-are-growing-scarce/2017/11/27/5d970d86-b452-11e7-9b93-b97043e57a22_story.html?undefined=&wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

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No exceptions for health and rights: Women’s movements hold the key to get the world we want

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No exceptions for health and rights: Women’s movements hold the key to get the world we want
November 26, 2017
Musimbi Kanyoro, President and CEO, Global Fund for Women

In today’s world, women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are being attacked and rolled back by those in positions of power. Take the Mexico City Policy, or Global Gag Rule, for instance, which has been expanded by the U.S. administration. It cuts off billions of dollars in funding for critical health services around the world like access to contraception or STD screenings.

However, women have never been known to sit and wait for change to happen. And while rollbacks threaten women’s health and rights each day, grassroots women’s groups and movements around the world are working to ensure that women and girls not only have access to critical health services that they need in their own communities, but understand their bodies, are aware of their rights and how to access them, and are safe from violence and discrimination.

Continued at source: http://www.thedailystar.net/women-action/no-exceptions-health-and-rights-womens-movements-hold-the-key-get-the-world-we-want

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BRAZIL – Developments regarding Amendment No.181 banning abortion

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BRAZIL – Developments regarding Amendment No.181 banning abortion
Nov 24, 2017

Amendment No.181, a provision to include protection of life from conception to the text of the Constitution of Brazil, was approved by the Special Commission of the Chamber of Deputies on 8 November. It would criminalize abortion under all circumstances. Since it was passed by 18 men to 1 woman, the mobilization against the measure has been intense. A few days ago, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, declared the amendment would not pass in the Congress. An article in Folha de São Paulo argued that the President intends to keep spirits appeased inside the Chamber, due to his hopes of being re-elected in 2018. Debating abortion could create negative consequences for him. On the other hand, Maia is from a conservative party and has joined with religious groups inside the Chamber many times, under the pro-family/pro-life flags. The stakes are high and even with his strategy of stalling the processing of the amendment, the scenario is frightening and his position remains ambiguous.

Very shortly after the Commission’s vote, the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, instead of opposing the measure as regressive, published an editorial proposing to hold a referendum – to resolve the matter via public opinion, thus ignoring the right to abortion as a human rights issue and giving it the status of something that has to pass popular scrutiny. If there were to be a referendum, the odds would not be in favour of women, as the capacity to mobilise public opinion is much greater for conservative religious sectors, who own TV and radio channels and who receive generous international funding and resources in Brazil.

Subsequently, however, members of the Congress have been overwhelmed by a stream of public statements and opinion pieces in the main news and media channels, depicting this measure as absurd. The solidarity letter of the Special Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Santiago, Chile on 9 November 2017 garnered 341 signatures by 18 November.

Then a Joint Note by UN agencies – UNFPA, UN Women, Pan American Health Organization (WHO) and the OHCHR Regional Office for South America – was published on 20 November. It expressed grave concern that the measure, if passed, would create a great risk to the health and lives of women and girls.

The feminist movement has been leading the debate, as political pressure is paramount and it has been expressed and supported on many different fronts: social media, newspapers, the streets, press releases, and more. There were rallies in 24 cities in the country on 13 November, including as many as 7-10,000 people in São Paulo alone. In addition, Amnesty International was able to gather 40,000 signatures in a call to action and Avaaz, with its first petition related to abortion, obtained over 100,000 signatures. This is all the fruit of joint organizing and resistance by progressive sectors of civil society, gathered together in the Frente Nacional Contra a Criminalização das Mulheres e pela Legalização do Aborto (National Front against the Criminalization of Women and for the Legalization of Abortion), who lobbied extensively with parliamentarians in order to bring all our reasons why this amendment must not pass into the public debate.

On 21 November, another demonstration took place in Brasilia, the day the Special Commission was due to start reviewing amendments to the amendment banning abortion. Without hesitation, women went into the streets once more (photos) and reached out to allies and potential allies in both houses of the Congress, as well as its President. Our Congressional allies started to pay more attention and said they would attend the Special Commission in order to dispute the terms of the amendment. This signaled to the Special Commission that this amendment must be discussed thoroughly and cannot be decided by an empty Chamber. The review was postponed until 22 November, and the Commission is expected to return to debating the amendment next week. In the meantime, we will seek to mobilize in the context of the International Days against Violence against Women around 25 November. In a desperate counter-measure, a Republican Party congressman tabled four proposals to curtail feminist advances and to increase the penalty for all parties involved in an abortion procedure. Meanwhile, the feminist movement has been targeted by far-right conservative and religious sectors on social media, but this is not new.

Abortion is a subject at the centre of the tension between conservative and progressive sectors. With the rise in the number of seats occupied by religious legislators, it has become a minefield, widening the terms of the dispute from abortion to embrace any subject related to discrimination and gender equality, such as confessional religious education, and attempts to prohibit discussion of gender identity in schools and elsewhere by evoking “family values” as the basis of opposition.

The risk is that although ideologically the progressive parties agree with and support the right to abortion, the electoral situation may jeopardize their rightist alliances, which are part of their voter base. Further, the rightist parties are being contacted by the right to try to find ways to reach and influence the House President Maia. He is key in the upcoming progress of the amendment as soon as it leaves the Special Commission. While he has declared the amendment will not pass, he is also inclined to the right as he and his party have joined forces with the most religious sectors.

Thanks from the movement in Brazil to everyone who signed the solidarity letter and the petitions! We received 390 signatures, which were sent to allied congressmen and to the Frente Nacional Contra a Criminalização das Mulheres e pela Legalização do Aborto (National Front against the Criminalization of Women and for the Legalization of Abortion).

SOURCE: E-mail/photos from Angela de Freitas and Rajnia Rodrigues, Sexuality Policy Watch, 22 November 2017

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Source: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/brazil-developments-regarding-amendment-no-181-banning-abortion/

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