In Sexy Brazil, Religion Dictates Abortion Laws

Uploaded by TheVJMovement on 12.05.2011

Brazilian culture often portrays
the ideal woman as feminine and sexy.
Furthermore, sexual and erotic behavior
is acceptable in public.
But this carefree image hides a deeply
religious and conservative culture.
Brazilian women may have the freedom
to wear string bikinis, but not to do what
they want with their bodies,
especially when it comes to abortion.
Brazilian society is hypocritical.
She [a woman] could be wearing buttons
on the tips of her breasts. But if she removes
these buttons from the tips of her breasts,
she could be attacked on the beach,
because [then] her breasts would be out in the open.
There is a very fine line
regarding limits, in our society.
The origins of these limits
can be traced to the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately every year, around
the world many women have abortions.
A woman has the freedom to not to want her child,
but she doesn't have the freedom to kill her child.
If you can kill a child in the mother's womb,
then why can't you kill a child at birth
or when he is eight years old,
or 80 years old?
If you don't want the child
because you can't afford it,
there are many women who want to be mothers
but can't because they are sterile.
More than 70 percent of Brazilians
are Roman Catholic, and public sentiment
reflects the church's views.
I'm against abortion,
mainly for spiritual reasons.
I think it [the fetus] was meant to be born.
If the person was not able to prevent
[the pregnancy] for whatever reason --
be it financial or intellectual --
if they weren't able to prevent it,
then I think they must have the baby.
It [the fetus] already laughs and cries in the belly.
So, how can a person abort another
person who already exists in there [the belly]?
[A person] who already has a reason for existing in there?
Abortion is only permitted
in the case of rape or risk to the mother's life.
Otherwise, it's a crime and punishable
by up to three years in jail.
Some lawmakers want to go even
further to deter women from having abortions,
and to punish those who do.
There are many regressive legal projects,
which aim to take away [women's] rights.
For example, there is a rape grant,
[a government] stipend for pregnant rape victims
to continue an undesired pregnancy.
Today, there are many parliamentary
initiatives within the National Congress.
Many of these initiatives are led by representatives
who are linked to certain religions.
These representatives use religious dogma
to defend their mandates.
One of the leaders from one of these
initiatives requested the creation of a CPI [parliamentary inquest].
This parliamentary committee would investigate
allegations of abortion as if it were a high-level
crime against society, such as government corruption.
The laws and threats may make it harder
for women to get abortions, but those
who want to end their pregnancies
are finding ways.
Dr. Eliza Rocha works in public hospitals
treating women for emergency complications
resulting from botched abortions.
There are many different [abortive] methods
passed on between friends or
from mother to daughter.
The most ancient are the teas.
Some have been proven to trigger
abortions and others haven't.
The insertion of sticks to
generate trauma in the uterus --
which can lead to a perforation in the uterus -- these
complications are some of the worst we see.
And nowadays, even though it's
still illegal in our country,
women are buying Misoprostal [ulcer medicine].
Last year, the Ministry of Health reported
that one million women had illegal abortions
and a quarter of them ended up
in the hospital with complications.
The number of women dying in Brazil
from abortions is absurd.
It's just absurd.
And in the name of what? And why?
There's a sign that things are changing.
When the Catholic Church excommunicated the
medical team who performed an abortion
on a nine-year-old rape victim,
many Brazilians, including the
President [Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva] were outraged.
For the first time, the debate
shifted -- at least temporarily --
from the religious domain to public health.