The struggle for the decriminalization of abortion in Latin America is historical for feminist movements. Do you know anyone who has had an abortion?
In Brazil, abortion is only considered legal in some cases provided for by law, such as at risk for the life of the pregnant woman, anencephalic babies and in cases of pregnancy resulting from sexual violence, but the application of the legislation is complex and depends a lot on the will and acceptance of the medical team, see several cases of rejection of care within the legal norms. In cases that do not fall under those mentioned, abortion is illegal and criminal, where the penalty provided is from one to three years of detention.
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say it is “for or against abortion”, is an individual statement, permeated by individual values and beliefs, and this cannot be the basis of a dialogue about abortion in Brazil, why?
Because, what matters to know is the practical relationship, since a woman who claims to be against abortion may be charged with a social expectation of the “correct” statement, morally permeated by Christian logic. It is noteworthy that many women do not know if they will ever need to resort to the practice.
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Now, if we go back to the question I started in the first paragraph of the text, the answer will be found in the reality of Brazilian women. Possibly your answer will be “YES”, as we see in the data from the 2016 National Abortion Survey, which shows that 1 in 5 women have already had an abortion, of which the majority profess some kind of faith, are aged between 18 and 40 years and , for the most part, these women are already mothers and know exactly the weight of the responsibility of raising a child.
Therefore, the agenda on abortion is women’s, or at least it should be, since reality shows that, even though it is illegal, it is a fact that abortion takes place daily in Brazil.
There is a risk of death and there is a risk of imprisonment
This risk increases for black women and those in greater vulnerability, who are more conditioned to unsafe procedures, ranging from the use of herbs, clandestine medicines and, in some cases, veterinary medicines, clandestine clinics, among others.
It is a fact that women know how to abort and know how to help the women around them who abort. But it is noteworthy that not every interruption procedure is unsafe and risky, hence the need to legalize it, so that it is safe, painless and rare.
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This risk is unequally divided among women, there is an integral “lack of protection” by the Brazilian State to fundamental rights, especially for black women from the periphery, in addition to rural women, who often do not even enter the research statistics.
Wealthy women abort painlessly, with all the care and protection, as they get “money” to carry out the interruption procedures, possibly not even fearing imprisonment and death. The data also show how the women in a greater situation of vulnerability are also those who raise their children alone, and there is no question of the “disappearance” of the father, the abandonment, but this is a subject for another text.
Of course, you, the woman who reads this text, know another woman who has had an abortion throughout her life or know of stories of hemorrhages, curettages, etc. Now imagine those women you know, mothers, aunts, cousins, friends who could be imprisoned or dead. It seems a sensationalism, but it is not, since abortions are real and happen daily in Brazil, reaching 500 thousand clandestine abortions per year.
:: In Brazil between 2009 and 2018, 721 women died after miscarriage: out of ten, six were black or mixed::
It is still necessary to problematize all the difficulties that a woman who is already a mother in undergoing tubal ligation procedures (voluntary sterilization) or access to contraceptives, which are not 100% safe, but which can to some extent prevent unwanted pregnancy, since as a matter of fact, the Family Planning Law does not work, there is no Reproductive Justice and many abortions occur for lack of financial conditions to take care of one more child.
The discussion about the need to legalize abortion is just the tip of the iceberg, so that we can, from that point on, discuss women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
In countries where abortion is legal, there is a whole policy of access to women’s health. In Argentina, for example, the most recent country in the region to legalize abortion, the practice is possible without the need for mediation and without costs. There they also approved a Bill that offers a “thousand-day insurance” to prevent abortions due to the fact economic.
We women know why we need it, why it is right for life at a given time, why it is a health need and why we suffer violence.
There should be no discussion about the reasonableness of the reasons for having the right to abort by the 12th week, just as there should be no discussion about a rape victim who decides to keep the pregnancy, this is the democratic state we seek, this is the construction that allows us to be “subjects” of rights over our bodies and our lives, which is viscerally linked to reproduction in a patriarchal society where paternal abandonment is real and constant and motherhood is a solitary exercise, for the most part.
In times of denial and loss of rights, it is more than necessary that we can fight for women’s rights, so that we can conquer the territory of our own bodies.
*Sabrina Mendes Pereira, is a Marxist feminist, mother of 2, biologist, teacher of basic education and doctoral student in Environmental Sciences.
**This is an opinion piece. The author’s vision does not necessarily express the newspaper’s editorial line Brazil in fact.
Source: Federal District BdF
Edition: Flávia Quirino