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Abortion is currently illegal in Brazilmarker, except if the pregnancy puts the life of the woman in danger, or if the pregnancy is the result of a rape. A recent development was a decree by the Health Ministry, stating that a police report of rape is enough to allow the public health system to perform abortion. This measure has faced strong opposition from religious groups, particularly the Roman Catholic Church.

Otherwise, in Brazilmarker the punishment for a woman which performs an abortion on herself or consents to an abortion is one to three years imprisonment. If the abortion causes any harm to the woman, the punishment increases by one third. If the abortion causes the death of the woman, then the punishment is doubled for the consenting party. Legislation about abortion can be found on the Brazilian Penal Code, Title I (Crimes Against the Person), ch. I, Article 124 (Crimes Against Life).


A 1991 World Bank report estimated that the lifetime abortion rate is over two abortions per woman. In 1992 the Ministry of Health estimated the total annual abortion rate at between 800,000 and 1.2 million, based on extrapolations from abortion-related hospitalizations under the health system. The World Health Organization believes that this may be an underestimate.

Public opinion

A March 2007 Datafolha/Folha de S. Paulo poll found that 65% of Brazilians believe that their country's current law "should not be modified", 16% that it should be expanded "to allow abortion in other cases", 10% that abortion should be "decriminalized", and 5% were "not sure".

Excommunication controversy

In March 2009, a controversy between the Brazilian government and the Catholic Church erupted following a series of excommunications related to a high profile abortion case. A nine year old girl was discovered to have been raped by her stepfather and was pregnant with twins. Doctors in Recifemarker performed an abortion on her on March 4, after realizing that she could die if the pregnancy was to be continued. Archbishop José Cardoso Sobrinho announced the excommunication of the girl's mother as well as the doctors who performed the abortion. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva criticized the Archbishop, who responded by advising the President to study some Theology.


  1. Expanding family planning options: An assessment of the need for contraceptive introduction in Brazil, World Health Organization, 1994
  2. " Brazilians Want to Keep Abortion as Crime." (April 12, 2007). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
  3. Brazil attacks church opposition to girl's abortion Stuart Grudgings, Reuters. Retrieved ~~~~~

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