BRAZIL – Talking about abortion as a health issue is talking about democracy 

by Thiago de Souza Amparo (above)

“The poor woman is poking her uterus with a crochet needle, drinking tea from anything. Meanwhile, madam can have an abortion in Paris, she can go to Berlin, find a good clinic and have an abortion,” Lula said in defending the legalization of abortion this Tuesday. Back in 1998, he said he was against abortion and even LGBT marriage. He changed position, luckily.

“It is not the first time that Lula has spoken pro-abortion: in 2021, in an interview with rapper Mano Brown on his podcast, Lula defended being personally against abortion, but in favor, as head of state, of abortion as a ‘women’s right’ and ‘public policy’. In 2009, as president, he championed the same.

“Rhetoric is one thing, public policy is another: Lula and Dilma, in the presidency, were ambivalent in their rhetoric and failed to attempt to change public policy on the subject. Anyone who thinks that Lula’s flirtation with abortion is going too far is wrong – thinking like that implies naturalizing national politics, dictated by men (85% in Congress).

“Talking about abortion as a health issue is talking about democracy, one that goes beyond the navels of men. Lula’s attempt today seems to be the search for a less divisive way of dealing with one of the most divisive issues in national politics: a focus on inequality, violence and public health. On the right, the debate is impoverished between pro-life, on the one hand, and pro-death, on the other.

“First, focus on inequality. Criminalizing abortion kills black women (5 deaths from unsafe abortion per 100,000 live births; among whites, there are 3) and poor women (rate goes to 8.5 deaths). Second, focus on violence. Legal abortion in case of rape is supported by 87% of Brazilians; only 16% of evangelicals are in favor of a total ban on abortion. Third, focus on public health. Safe access to abortion is the true pro-life policy: its availability in the health system protects mothers from death from unsafe abortion and even tends to decrease the total number of abortions performed.”

Thiago de Souza Amparo is a Brazilian lawyer, law and human rights scholar and professor, a journalist and a leading figure in public debate on diversity and inclusion in Brazil. 

SOURCE:, 4 April 2022 ; PHOTO