Supreme Court to hear case that calls for decriminalization of abortion in Brazil until 12th week of pregnancy
Justice Rosa Weber has scheduled ADPF Case 442 in a virtual session of the court from September 22-29
Ativistas a favor da legalização do aborto manifestam-se na cidade do Rio de Janeiro, em 2018. Mulheres brasileiras marcham convocando o Supremo Tribunal Federal para votar a legalização do aborto (Foto de Mauro Pimentel/AFP)
Justice Rosa Weber has included a vote on the ADPF (Allegation of Violation of a Fundamental Precept) on the court’s case schedule in a virtual session from September 22-29. The case, filed in 2017 by the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL), with technical support from Anis – Bioethics Institute, asks that abortions performed with the consent of the pregnant person cease to be a crime until the 12th week of pregnancy.
According to the arguments of the case, the criminalization of abortion violates the rights to dignity, to citizenship, to non-discrimination, to life, to equality and to freedom, the right not to suffer torture or inhuman, degrading or cruel treatment and the right to health and family planning, all provided for in the Brazilian Constitution.
By the time they are 40 years old, 1 in 7 Brazilian women will have had at least one abortion, according to the most recent National Abortion Survey, from 2021. Women who have abortions in Brazil are ordinary women: the majority are young, have children and follow one of the major religions in the country – Catholicism, Evangelicalism or Spiritism. Criminalization removes girls, women and birthing people from the health system and drives them into the insecurity of the black market. This is why the World Health Organization recommends the decriminalization of abortion as a fundamental public health policy.
The Supreme Court needs to decide whether articles 124 and 126 of the Criminal Code, which criminalize abortion, even when performed with consent, are unconstitutional. If the case is approved, Brazil will join Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Australia and many other countries where the termination of an unwanted pregnancy can be performed legally and safely, within the system of health. An approval would also reduce the maternal mortality rate in the country, given that, according to the Ministry of Health, every 2 days a Brazilian woman dies as a result of an unsafe abortion.