Brazilian court decriminalizes abortion by stealth

Editors’ note. This comes from our friends at SPUC—the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children

Rodrigo Maia, president, Brazil's House of Representatives

Rodrigo Maia, president, Brazil’s House of Representatives

On Tuesday, the Federal Supreme Court, Brazil’s highest, dropped the charges against five people accused of performing clandestine abortions, on the grounds that abortion during the first three months should not be considered a crime.

Leading judge Luís Roberto Barroso wrote as part of the ruling that criminalization of abortion is “incompatible with the empowerment of women, their physical and mental integrity and their sexual and reproductive rights.”

Previously, abortion was permitted only in cases of rape, when the mother’s life was at risk, or when the baby has anencephaly.

“Major attack on the rule of law”

There has been much criticism of the ruling, with claims that it was “slipped through” when the nation’s attention was focused on the loss of the Chapecoense football team in Tuesday’s air disaster.

The president of Brazil’s House of Representatives, Rodrigo Maia, led calls for the ruling to be overturned, and immediately set up a “special committee” to “rule clearly” on abortion.

“Whenever the Supreme Court legislates in place of the House of Representatives or the National Congress,” he said, “we must respond, confirm or correct the court’s decision, as is the case right now.

“This is a major attack on the rule of law,” said Evandro Gussi, leader of the Green Party. “Abortion is an abominable crime because it claims the lives of the innocent.”