Social Issues

Brazil senators call for plebiscite on abortion; Supreme Court considers decriminalization

Brasilia, Sept. 26 (EFE) – A group of Brazilian senators announced Tuesday that they will call for a referendum so the entire population can decide on abortion, just as the Supreme Court deliberates on whether to approve its decriminalization until 12 weeks of gestation.

Senator Rogério Marinho said in statements to journalists that the initiative has the support of 45 senators, the number needed to secure the approval of a legislative decree to convene the plebiscite.

“We are confident that the vast majority of the Brazilian population defends life,” Marinho said, dismissing the idea that the decriminalization of abortion should be decided “by eleven judges” of the Supreme Court.

Last week, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on decriminalizing abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy in a virtual trial that has not yet set an end date.

The president of the Supreme Court, Rosa Weber, the rapporteur of the case, voted in favor of decriminalization at the trial’s opening.

Abortion is banned in Brazil except in cases of rape, risk to the mother’s life, and when the fetus has anencephaly, a condition in which an embryo fails to develop much of the brain, skull, and scalp.

No date has been set for the next hearing. Still, it could be extended indefinitely if any of the 11 justices who make up the Supreme Court request more time to analyze the case.

In announcing the call for the plebiscite, the senators also called for anti-abortion demonstrations in all Brazilian cities on October 12, a roman catholic holiday in honor of Our Lady of Aparecida, the patron saint of Brazil, as well as the Day of the Child. EFE


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