SAO PAULO – Thousands of women marched in Brazilian cities on Monday to protest a bill that, if it becomes law, would prohibit all abortions and which already has been approved by a Chamber of Deputies committee.
In Sao Paulo, hundreds of women, many not wearing any clothing above their waists, marched down Paulista Avenue, one of the city’s main arteries, to demand their right to decide whether or not to have abortions and to criticize the bill which, if approved by the legislature, would open the door to penalizing the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, even in the case of rape.
In an 18-1 vote, lawmakers last week took the first step toward criminalizing abortion in all cases, including those in which is it currently allowed by law, such as in rape cases, situations where the mother’s life is at risk or there are problems with the fetus.
Constitutional Amendment 181 was dubbed the “Trojan Horse Amendment.”
“The amendment initially was one of women’s demands, given that it broadened maternity leave, but they’ve changed it. This is a nightmare for women,” Samia Bomfim, with the Feminist Leftist Front, told EFE, noting that a woman is raped every 11 minutes in Brazil, on average.
The marchers noted that the amendment, as modified by lawmaker Jorge Tadeu Mudalen to establish that “life begins at conception,” received the support of 18 legislators on the parliamentary committee, all of them men.
In any case, the amendment has a long road ahead of it before it can be approved and it will have to get the support of the full lower and upper houses of Parliament before it can enter into force.