BRAZIL – Brazil senator calls for referendum on abortion as Supreme Court considers decriminalisation

26 September 2023

Abortion is illegal in Brazil except in cases of rape, risk to the woman’s life, and when the fetus has anencephaly. In each of these exceptions, it was the Supreme Court who was involved in and voted to legalise them.

A group of Brazilian senators announced on 26 September that they will call for a referendum so the entire population can decide on abortion, just as the Supreme Court deliberates on whether to approve decriminalisation of abortion up to 12 weeks of gestation.

Senator Rogério Marinho said in statements to journalists that the initiative has the support of 45 senators, the number needed to secure the approval of a legislative decree to convene the referendum. “We are confident that the vast majority of the Brazilian population defends life [i.e. is anti-abortion],” Marinho said, dismissing the idea that the decriminalisation of abortion should be decided “by eleven judges” of the Supreme Court.

Last week, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on decriminalising abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy in a virtual debate that had not yet set an end date. The president of the Supreme Court, Rosa Weber, the rapporteur of the case, voted in favour of decriminalisation at the start of the voting. No date has yet been announced for the in-person hearing.

In calling for a referendum, the Senator also called for anti-abortion demonstrations in all Brazilian cities on 12 October, a Catholic holiday and the Day of the Child.

SOURCE: La Prensa Latina, by EFE, 26 September 2023  + PHOTO ; SEE ALSO: Brazil – Federal Supreme Court to Vote. ICWRSA Newsletter, 28 September 2023