They Lost Argentina’s Abortion Vote, but Advocates Started a Movement

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They Lost Argentina’s Abortion Vote, but Advocates Started a Movement

By Daniel Politi and Ernesto Londoño
Aug. 9, 2018

BUENOS AIRES — They narrowly lost the vote. But as supporters of a bill to legalize abortion in Argentina began to shake off a stinging defeat in the Senate on Thursday, they took consolation in having galvanized a reproductive-rights movement across Latin America and began to consider how to redirect their activism.

A coalition of young female lawmakers who stunned the political establishment by putting abortion rights at the top of the legislative agenda this year seemed to be on the verge of a historic victory with the bill. But intense lobbying by Catholic Church leaders and staunch opposition in conservative northern provinces persuaded enough senators to vote against it.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/09/world/americas/argentina-abortion-laws-south-america.html

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Tensions flare in Brazil as supreme court considers loosening abortion restrictions

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Tensions flare in Brazil as supreme court considers loosening abortion restrictions

by Marina Lopes
August 6 2018

SAO PAULO — Brazil’s supreme court is considering decriminalizing abortion through the 12th week of pregnancy, stoking activists' hopes that the country could follow other Latin American nations in loosening abortion restrictions.

Hearings on the issue, which began Friday and continued on Monday, included testimony from dozens of doctors, specialists and religious leaders. Tensions flared in the days leading up to the hearings, with activists on both sides speaking out. Outside the supreme court on Friday, women donned red robes resembling those worn on the hit TV show, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in favor of decriminalization. Meanwhile, #AbortionisaCrime trended on Twitter, and churches sounded their bells in protest.

Continued: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2018/08/06/tensions-flare-brazil-supreme-court-considers-loosening-abortion-restrictions/?utm_term=.b55e1952e7f8

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Brazil’s Supreme Court Considers Decriminalizing Abortion

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Brazil’s Supreme Court Considers Decriminalizing Abortion

By Manuela Andreoni and Ernesto Londoño
Aug. 3, 2018

Leer en español

PETRÓPOLIS, Brazil — For three days after she had an illegal abortion, Ingriane Barbosa Carvalho hemorrhaged in silence. Even as she writhed in pain, and an infection caused by the botched procedure spread, Ms. Carvalho insisted to relatives she was just nursing a stomach bug.

By the time she sought medical help, it was too late. Ms. Carvalho, a 31-year-old mother of three, died seven days later.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/03/world/americas/brazil-abortion-supreme-court.html

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Despite threats, Brazilian activist readies for abortion hearing

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Despite threats, Brazilian activist readies for abortion hearing

Karla Mendes
RIO DE JANEIRO
Reuters
August 2, 2018

Undeterred by death threats, a leading pro-choice campaigner said on Thursday that she is ready to give evidence to Brazil’s top court in a hearing that could pave the way to decriminalize abortion, an issue which divides the Catholic nation.

With the supreme court hearing due to open on Friday, the government has assigned a round the clock bodyguard to protect Debora Diniz, a law professor at the University of Brasilia, after she received death threats in June.

Continued: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-despite-threats-brazilian-activist-readies-for-abortion-hearing/

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Professor forced into hiding by death threats over Brazil abortion hearing

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Professor forced into hiding by death threats over Brazil abortion hearing
Campaigner involved in case that could lead to legal abortion in first 12 weeks of pregnancy enters protection programme

Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro
Thu 2 Aug 2018

Days before a Brazilian supreme court hearing on a move that could eventually decriminalise abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, a leading feminist campaigner is in hiding after receiving death threats.

Debora Diniz, a professor of anthropology at the University of Brasília, who helped bring the legal action with bioethics institute Anis, is sequestered in an unknown location but will still appear at the two-day hearing, which starts on Friday.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/aug/02/professor-forced-into-hiding-by-death-threats-over-brazil-abortion-hearing

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Brazil: Decriminalize Abortion

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Brazil: Decriminalize Abortion
Court Considering Petition to Expand Access

July 31, 2018

(São Paulo) – Brazil’s abortion laws are incompatible with its human rights obligations, Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a video about the issue. Human Rights Watch will speak at a public hearing on August 3 and 6, 2018, as part of a Supreme Court case challenging the criminalization of abortion in Brazil in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Human Rights Watch will urge the court to consider Brazil’s obligations under international law in reaching its ruling.

Abortion is legal in Brazil only in cases of rape, when necessary to save a woman’s life, or when the fetus suffers from anencephaly – a fatal congenital brain disorder. Women and girls who terminate pregnancies under any other circumstances face up to three years in prison.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/07/31/brazil-decriminalize-abortion

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Brazilian women braced for battle amid simmering fears over abortion

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Brazilian women braced for battle amid simmering fears over abortion
The abortion debate is nearing a crossroads in a country where stringent laws put women seeking terminations at deadly risk

Jo Griffin in Rio de Janeiro
Thu 26 Apr 2018

For her first abortion, Anna went to a clandestine clinic in the south zone of Rio de Janeiro where a doctor bungled the procedure and left her needing further treatment. Years later, no trace remains of the now-defunct clinic, yet memories of the experience still stir anxiety.

“Even if the service was good, you knew you could go to prison if you were found out,” says Anna, who wanted to be known only by her first name. “And if something went wrong, who could you ask for help? There was no one.”

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/apr/26/brazil-women-braced-for-battle-simmering-fears-abortion-law

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Brazil could soon outlaw abortion altogether

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Brazil could soon outlaw abortion altogether

February 14, 2018
By Ciara Long

Sabrina has had several abortions, but it's her most recent that still makes her uneasy.

Sabrina isn’t her real name — she agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity since abortion in her country, Brazil, is illegal, except in cases of rape, life-threatening pregnancy or a fatal brain defect in the fetus.

Continued: https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-02-14/brazil-could-soon-outlaw-abortion-altogether

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Brazil: The forgotten mothers and babies of Zika

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The forgotten mothers and babies of Zika

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN
November 2, 2017

(CNN)Barely more than children themselves when they give birth, many of the forgotten mothers of Zika-striken babies in the Brazilian state of Alagoas are shiny-new teenagers, just learning to navigate their developing bodies.

Traversing the challenges of motherhood at that age is tricky at best; attempting to navigate them with a baby who carries the mark of the mosquito is almost unthinkable.

Rakely Santos da Silva was only 15 when she gave birth to her "special" child. She told women's rights activist Debora Diniz, who was traveling across Alagoas interviewing mothers of babies affected by Zika, that she had no idea her daughter, Mirela, had congenital Zika syndrome when she was born.

Continued at source: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/01/health/zikas-forgotten-women-mothers-babies/index.html

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A new ruling in the Brazilian Supreme Court prior to the hearing on the Zika submission

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A new ruling in the Braziliuan Supreme Court prior to the hearing on the Zika submission: notes from Debora Diniz and Sonia Correa

by Safe Abortion, Dec 6, 2016

27 November - It has just been announced that the Brazilian Supreme Court is set to rule on the preliminary injunction of the Zika case on 7 December 2016. The preliminary injunction request refers to all demands of the case: access to information, to wider choice on contraceptive methods, to pregnancy termination for pregnant women infected with Zika and experiencing mental suffering, to free transportation to rehabilitation centres and to the disability cash transfer programme for all children with the congenital Zika syndrome.

At this point it it hard to anticipate how votes will go, although it is expected that the Court may deny the injunction regarding abortion by saying they need more in-depth debate on the issue.

The Anis Institute of Bioethics filed an amicus curiae request on the case (as have two anti-choice organizations), but none have been ruled upon yet. We are working to try and schedule meetings with the Justices before 7 December.

1 December On 29 November, when ruling on a case involved the release of five employees accused of illegal abortion in a clandestine abortion clinic in a city neighbouring Rio de Janeiro, three Supreme Court Justices (members of one of the Court’s two chambers, composed of five Justices) went further than the case involved and ruled that abortion should not be a crime if performed in the first three months of pregnancy.

This extended opinion was delivered on 29 November by Justice Luís Roberto Barroso, accompanied by two other Judges, Rosa Weber and Edson Fachin. This opinion went beyond sustaining the release of the clinic staff to weave an argument in defence of the decriminalization of abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

A news report on the judgement explains: ‘For Justice Luís Roberto Barroso, the anti-abortion articles in the Criminal Code disrespect women’s basic rights. “Women bear alone the burden of pregnancy. Therefore, there will only exist gender equality if women have the right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy or not,” he wrote in his decision. Moreover, anti-abortion laws penalize low-income women who don’t have access to private clinics that would perform abortions in secret. Barroso said that the state should avoid pregnancy interruptions – but with sexual education policies and the distribution of contraceptive methods.’ See: plus55, 30 November 2016.
Debora Diniz continues: It is important to clarify, as there’s been some confusion even in the national media, that this decision does not mean the decriminalization of abortion in Brazil: it is just one case, and according to our procedural law, it is not a binding precedent. It is, however, a clear and strategic message, led by Justice Cardoso (who was the lawyer of our anencephaly case), that some Justices are ready to ask the right question on abortion cases, which is: how can abortion be considered a crime under the Brazilian Constitution’s provisions on gender equality, dignity, and right to health?

It is also a relevant framing for our Zika case, although they may not get into this debate specifically next week when ruling on the preliminary injunctions – but it may be of great importance for the final decision, whenever it comes. And it is a debate that we can work to further develop on other cases as well. The christian fundamentalist caucus at the National Congress is already making noise to push back against the new ruling, but this is nothing new, it is more of the same of what they have been doing over the last 10 years.

4 November

Sonia Correa writes: This was the first time the Court has expressed a comprehensive position on abortion rights. Four years ago, when considering termination of pregnancy in the case of anencephaly and stem cell research, the Court solidly affirmed that the absolute right to life from conception was not enshrined in the Brazilian Constitution. Judge Barroso’s opinion expresses the understanding that the fundamental rights of women provided for in the 1988 Constitution make the complete criminalization of abortion unconstitutional, as defined in the 1940 Penal Code, which is still in force today. According to Judge Barroso, while the potential life of the fetus is obviously relevant, the criminalization of abortion before the end of the first trimester of pregnancy violates several fundamental rights of women granted by the 1988 Constitution: personal autonomy, physical and mental integrity, sexual and reproductive rights and gender equality. The opinion also refers to racial inequality and discrimination and considers that the law as it is does not sufficiently observe the principle of proportionality necessary for the fair application of criminal justice.

Unfortunately, as soon as the news of the Court’s opinions was made public, members of the House of Representatives created a committee whose aims was to contest the judgment as a breach of interference by the Court in “a matter that is fundamentally the responsibility of the legislature”. It is worth remembering that this is an overtly conservative legislature, which has been openly attacking abortion rights since it was elected in 2015, and that a number of regressive bills are pending for a final vote, including the nefarious provisions that grant rights to the “unborn” (Statute of the Unborn) and make abortion a heinous and punishable crime under any circumstances. It is impossible to predict the unfolding of this pitched battle over abortion that now appears to divide the powers of the Brazilian republic nor the effect on the hearing on 7 December.

We will continue publishing reports as events unfold. The Sexuality Policy Watch newsletter will carry an expanded version of Sonia Correa’s analysis above later this week.

SOURCES: Email from Debora Diniz; plus55, 30 November 2016; Email from Sonia Correa;

See also the Campaign newsletter from 23 November for a full report on the Zika hearing scheduled for 7 December.
Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

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