Abortion is illegal in Brazil except when performed to save the woman's life or in cases of rape. This paper gives a brief history of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary efforts to change abortion-related legislation in Brazil in the past 60 years, the contents of some of the 53 bills that have been tabled in that time, the non-governmental stakeholders involved and the debate itself in recent decades. The authorities in Brazil have never assumed full public responsibility for reproductive health care or family planning, let alone legal abortion; the ambivalence of the medical profession is an important obstacle. Most politicians avoid getting involved in the abortion debate, but the majority of bills in the 1990s have favoured less restrictive legislation. Incremental legislative and health service changes could help to improve the situation for women. Advocacy is probably the most important action, to promote an environment conducive to change. Clandestine abortion is a serious public health problem in Brazil, and the inadequacy of family planning services is one of the causes of this problem. The solutions should be made a priority for the Brazilian public health system.
Guedes, A. C. (2000). Abortion in Brazil: Legislations, reality and options. Reproductive Health Matters, 8(16), 66–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(00)90188-5