Brazil toughens regulations on rape abortion

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Brazil on Friday set new requirements for access to abortion for rape victims, including the obligation for medical staff to offer the woman to see the embryo or fetus by ultrasound.

The woman wishing to have an abortion will also have to “tell in detail” what happened, and will be warned that she risks legal action if she cannot prove her point.

Finally, the rape will necessarily be reported to the police with the filing of a complaint, whether the woman wants it or not.

Brazil, led by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, and where conservative Catholic and Evangelical churches are particularly powerful, only allows abortion in cases of rape, danger to the woman’s life or serious congenital problems of the fetus.

Even these exceptions are poorly accepted by the religious right.

These new standards were issued by the Ministry of Health following protests in early August around the case of a 10-year-old girl claiming to have been raped by her uncle, and to whom the authorities of her native state, Espirito Santo, refused the abortion.

She finally flew to the northeastern city of Recife, where she was able to have an abortion, not without having to go through a violent far-right demonstration in front of the hospital.

The identity of the girl and the hospital had been passed on to the demonstrators by far-right activist Sara Winter, a staunch supporter of Bolsonaro who is linked to the Minister for Women Damares Alves, an evangelical pastor.

The new restrictions were immediately denounced by supporters of the right to abortion.

“I have just presented a bill to block this decree, which is an obstacle for legal abortion and represents psychological violence against women,” notably tweeted left-wing MP Jandira Feghali.

Sixteen MPs also wrote to UN human rights official Michelle Bachelet, asking her to intervene on behalf of the protection of women’s rights.

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