Brazil senators call for plebiscite on abortion; Supreme Court considers decriminalization

September 26, 2023

Brasilia (EFE) – A group of Brazilian senators announced Tuesday that they will call for a referendum so the entire population can decide on abortion, just as the Supreme Court deliberates on whether to approve its decriminalization until 12 weeks of gestation.

Senator Rogério Marinho said in statements to journalists that the initiative has the support of 45 senators, the number needed to secure the approval of a legislative decree to convene the plebiscite.


Dear Supreme Court of Brazil, Use Your Power to Protect Women

Video by Eliza Capai (11:34 minutes)
Text by Joanna Erdman
Sep 26, 2023

Ms. Capai is a Brazilian filmmaker. This short film is adapted from her feature-length documentary “Incompatible With Life.” Ms. Erdman is a professor of health law and policy at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, state anti-abortion laws came into immediate effect, clinics closed the same day, and people desperately searched for care against the clock of pregnancy. That is to say, there is an urgency to injustice, much as the time for justice is always now.

These lessons are being tested in Brazil. Last week Brazil’s Supreme Court opened voting in a case to decriminalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This would be a sea change in the country, as explored in the film above. Today Brazil prohibits abortion, with only narrow exceptions in cases of rape, risk to life and a fatal fetal condition known as anencephaly.


Brazil’s top court opens vote on decriminalizing abortion up to 12th week of pregnancy

Mauricio Savarese, The Associated Press
Published Sep 22, 2023 

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s top court opened a session Friday that will decide whether abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy will be decriminalized nationwide.

The South American nation currently allows abortions only in cases of rape, an evident risk to the mother’s health or if the fetus has no functioning brain.


Brazil’s Supreme Court to vote on decriminalising abortion

Sept 22, 2023

By Katy Watson, BBC News, South America

Brazil's Supreme Court has started voting on whether to decriminalise abortion. However, the session was quickly postponed after a minister called for the vote to take place in person instead of via video - and no new date has yet been set.

Currently, abortion is only allowed in three cases: that of rape, risk to the woman's life and anencephaly - when the foetus has an undeveloped brain. If the Supreme Court votes in favour, abortion will be decriminalised up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.


Abortion Rules in Chile Survive Threat of Constitutional Rewrite

Eduardo Thomson, Bloomberg News
Sep 15, 2023

An clause in the draft of Chile’s new constitution that would have annulled current abortion rules in the South American country failed to reach enough support in a vote Friday.

The article stating “all human beings are persons” won 29 votes in favor, 17 against and 4 abstentions at the Constitutional Council. It needed 30 votes to pass. Several council members had warned the clause would have made current abortion rules unconstitutional.

Chile allows abortions only in three cases: rape, risks to the mother’s life, or if the baby has a medical condition that means it isn’t expected to survive. The current law was approved in 2017 during the second government of Michelle Bachelet.

The abstentions Friday were among council members from the center-right Chile Vamos coalition and show a break from the majority right-wing Republicanos party, Claudio Fuentes, a political scientist at Universidad Diego Portales, said on social media.


Chilean anti-abortion group in legal fight to keep donors secret

A year-long investigation reveals how powerful anti-rights groups are influencing politics and protecting donors

Paulette Desormeaux, Catalina Gaete
13 September 2023

A wealthy and well-connected anti-abortion group has gone to court to block the disclosure of its private donors following an investigation by openDemocracy and La Pública.

It comes after a year-long effort by the two news organisations that reveals how three powerful anti-rights nonprofits in Chile are using legal loopholes to protect the identity of funders while influencing politicians to limit reproductive and equal rights for women and LGBTIQ communities.


Winning the right to abortion: the revolution of Latin American women

When Roe v. Wade was repealed in the United States, decades of progress in the struggle for reproductive rights were threatened. But across the Western Hemisphere, the tide has recently been in favor of the right to choose, with the decriminalization of abortion in Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico

Beatriz Guillén
SEP 10, 2023

Simone de Beauvoir once said: “Never forget that a political, economic or religious crisis will be enough for women’s rights to be questioned again. These rights are never to be taken for granted; you must remain vigilant throughout your life.” It was an omen. Such a situation occurred in June 2022, when the United States Supreme Court repealed the right to abortion in the country, 50 years after it was encoded into law.

The repeal of Roe v. Wade proved that changes in political or judicial power could put past victories into jeopardy. It dealt a blow to the decades of struggle; however, it failed to stem the tide throughout the Western Hemisphere. In Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, the justice systems have recently decriminalized the interruption of a pregnancy at the federal level. These rulings have emerged as beacons of hope in the defense of women’s reproductive rights in the Americas.


Beaten, suffocated, forced into an abortion: the fate of one Venezuelan woman under Maduro

Latest Amnesty International report documents ongoing state detention and torture in the South American country – all while its president seeks renewed links with the west

Luke Taylor, The Guardian
Tue 29 Aug 2023

When Emirlendris Benítez suddenly went missing in August 2018, her family feared the worst. So they were incredulous to hear Venezuela’s attorney general announce on television 10 days later that she had been detained on a motorway and arrested for orchestrating a plot to assassinate President Nicolás Maduro with a drone.

The 42-year-old tradeswoman was sentenced to 30 years in prison and remains behind bars in Caracas where Amnesty International says she has been the victim of some of the most egregious human rights abuses.


‘Gigantic step backwards’: far-right gains in Chile threaten abortion rights

Concerns mount as ultraconservative Republican party’s ‘right to life’ proposal could be enshrined in constitution

John Bartlett
Mon 21 Aug 2023

The hard-won right to an abortion in Chile is at risk of being overturned, activists have warned, as the country’s far right moves to enshrine protection for “the life of the unborn child and maternity” in a new constitution.

Concerns have grown over the ultraconservative Republican party’s plans to pare back reproductive rights in Chile as it now holds significant sway in the fate of the country’s constitutional saga.


Peru allows abortion of 11-year-old rape victim after UN pressure

August 17, 2023

LIMA - An 11-year-old rape victim was allowed an abortion in Peru over the weekend after being initially refused the procedure, in a case that rights groups say highlights the lack of support for minors who suffer sexual abuse.

The girl, publicly identified only as "Mila," was raped for years by her stepfather, according to a police report. Earlier this month, Mila - approaching 18 weeks pregnant - was turned away at a hospital in the Amazon region of Loreto, which refused to perform the abortion.