Hearing on the Situation of Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Brazil at the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, 8 March 2023
The following civil society organizations were granted a hearing at the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) regarding sexual and reproductive rights, in which they called for concrete action on the part of Brazil to guarantee provision of legal abortions: Ipas, Anis, Portal Catarinas, CRIOLA, CLADEM Brasil (Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights) and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The hearing took place on 8 March 2023 at a meeting of the Commission in Los Angeles in the USA. The groups provided up-to-date information to the Commission on the situation of sexual and reproductive rights in Brazil, using two exemplary cases from the states of Santa Catarina and Piauí. These demonstrated what was happening nationally — the systematic denial of access to abortions that are legal under Brazilian law and institutional barriers for women and for girls under the age of 12. These cases also reveal intersectional discrimination that disproportionately affects black women and girls living in situations of poverty and vulnerability.
The CSOs asked the Commissioners for recommendations to the Brazilian state that would ensure legal abortion is available in all Brazilian states, and particularly to ensure that for girls there is no refusal of an abortion, even when the pregnancy is at 22 weeks, and that girls should be considered autonomous to make their own informed decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy resulting from rape.
The organizations also called for the updating of Brazil’s existing abortion regulations, to bring them into accordance with the new 2022 WHO Abortion Care Guideline.
Civil society representatives at the hearing were: Beatriz Galli, Ipas and the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (Cladem/Brasil), Catalina Martinez, Regional Director of the Center for Reproductive Rights; Gabriela Rondon, Anis – Instituto de Bioética; Laysi da Silva, Criola, and Paula Guimarães, Portal Catarinas.
The Brazilian government was represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which spoke for the Women and Racial Equality departments and the Ministry of Health.
Citing the cases of the girl from Santa Catarina and the girl from Piauí, IACHR Commissioner Julissa Mantilla Falcón, Rapporteur on Women’s Rights, called on the Brazilian State to adopt concrete actions that prevent the placing of institutional barriers to legal abortion and proposed measures to implement this, such as holding public agents liable who violate these rights.
SOURCE: Report by Beatriz Galli, E-mail, 11 April 2023 ; VISUAL: Julissa Mantilla Falcón, IACHR Commissioner speaking in the hearing, Instagram: Catarinas on Instagram: “As violações do direito ao aborto legal no Brasil foram apresentadas à Comissão Interamericana de Direitos Humanos (CIDH) em audiência…”