Human Rights Watch

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Brazil: Decriminalize Abortion

Court Considering Petition to Expand Access

Tuesday 31 July 2018

(São Paulo, July 31, 2018) – Brazil’s abortion laws are incompatible with its human rights obligations, Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a video about the issue. Human Rights Watch will speak at a public hearing on August 3 and 6, 2018, as part of a Supreme Court case challenging the criminalization of abortion in Brazil in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Human Rights Watch will urge the court to consider Brazil’s obligations under international law in reaching its ruling.Abortion is legal in Brazil only in cases of rape, when necessary to save a woman’s life, or when the fetus suffers from anencephaly – a fatal congenital brain disorder.

Women and girls who terminate pregnancies under any other circumstances face up to three years in prison. Media reports suggest that more than 300 abortion-related criminal cases were registered against women who had an abortion by the courts in 2017, many reported by health professionals after the women went to medical facilities in need of post-abortion care. Human Rights Watch documented the consequences of Brazil’s restrictions on abortion in a July 2017 report on the impact of the Zika outbreak.

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