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Protests in Brazil against the criminalization of abortion resulting from rape

Photo: Mauro Pimentel Agence France-Presse “Being a girl is not being a mother,” protesters chanted in Rio de Janeiro Thursday evening.

France Media Agency in Rio de Janeiro

Published at 11:35 a.m.

  • Americas

Thousands of people demonstrated Thursday in several cities in Brazil against a text examined in Congress which plans to criminalize abortion and apply sentences of up to 20 years in prison, even when the pregnancy results from rape.

“Being a girl is not being a mother,” chanted demonstrators in Rio de Janeiro, who also marched in Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Florianopolis, according to images posted on social networks and in the media.

The deputies “defend the right of the fetus but do not defend the right of a girl to refuse to carry a pregnancy resulting from rape”, criticized Vivian Nigri who came to swell the ranks of the demonstration in Rio de Janeiro.

In Brazil, abortion is only authorized in cases of rape or risk for the mother or fetal brain abnormality. Brazilian legislation also does not provide for any limitation period when the pregnancy is the result of rape. Apart from these exceptions, abortion is punishable by up to four years of imprisonment.

The text, currently being examined in the Chamber of Deputies, is defended by evangelical deputies. It plans to qualify as “simple homicide” any abortion performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy, even when it results from rape.

It also plans to punish abortion carries a prison sentence of six to twenty years when performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy. This is double the sentence incurred by a rapist in Brazil.

Under pressure from conservative deputies, the text was sent directly to the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, without having been debated in committee, triggering concern in the progressive camp.

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No date has yet been set for the vote on this text by Brazilian deputies.

The spokesperson for the High Commission of UN Human Rights Commissioner, Elizabeth Throssell, expressed concern about the modalities for reviewing the text.

“We fear that this emergency procedure avoids discussion of the project in parliamentary committees. But it is a necessary step to understand its implications and its compliance with international human rights standards,” she told the press in Geneva on Friday.

< p>If adopted by the Brazilian Congress, the text will particularly affect female victims of rape who often have difficulty speaking or only detect signs of pregnancy late.

At the end of May, the Brazilian Congress overcame a veto by left-wing President Lula and adopted an article prohibiting the State from financing activities linked to abortion or even sexual reassignment surgery on minors.

In Brazil, a girl under the age of 13 is raped every 15 minutes, according to official statistics. Around 20,000 girls under the age of 14 become mothers each year in the country.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116