Brazilian lawmakers will propose stricter punishment to pregnant women who will choose abortion to end the outcome of Zika virus infection on unborn babies. Abortion is illegal in most South American countries.
The Catholic government of Brazil has decided to propose a legislation that will discourage women from thinking of abortion as an option. ThinkProgress reports that the new law will be tougher on pregnant women who could have five years imprisonment if they abort a baby. And more so on the doctors who could be sentenced to 15 years of jail.
“With the crisis that has hit our country, a feminist movement has tried to take advantage to change our abortion laws,” Ferreira said.
“This movement needs to be confronted. Everyone needs to realize the gravity of the crime that is abortion and that it is not acceptable.”
The Catholic Church has cleared that the abortion is against the Catholic institution’s ideals and is not an option in the case of Zika.
On Thursday, Pope Francis said: “Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil.”
Director of the Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis of the Pan American Health Organization, Marcos Espinal said that abortion is a sensitive matter in countries like Latin America where people are mostly Catholics.
“But what we say is that the decision of pregnancy is a decision of the woman, her partner and their doctor. We advise that women talk to their doctors, tell them if you have symptoms of Zika virus. Of course, we must obey the country’s laws and this should be discussed in this context.” Espinal said in a report by Scientific American.
Abortion is allowed in the cases of: rape, anencephaly (another extreme neurological disorder which causes death in infancy) and when a mother’s life is at stake.
Following the debate regarding the legalities of abortion, United Nations urged Latin countries to revoke policies which restrain pregnant women from abortion. UN said that the governments “ignore the reality that many women and girls simply cannot exercise control over whether or when or under what circumstances they become pregnant.”