What is Abortion?

Abortion is the interruption of pregnancy, or removal early of an embryo or fetus in the mother’s womb, causing its death. Can occur spontaneously or induced. Induced abortion can be accomplished through the use of medicines or surgically.

In Brazil, abortion can only be performed legally in cases of rape, when the continuity of pregnancy carries a risk of death for both the mother and the fetus is anencéfalo (anticipation therapy of birth).

Abortion is practiced in the majority of societies known in the world and has economic causes, social and individual.

Why women abort

In relation to induced abortion, we can say that women abort when you do not wish to carry a pregnancy. There are factors cultural/social and economic that influence the option of a woman by abortion.

In general, women abort when the pregnancy is unplanned, due to failures of contraceptive methods, incorrect use of the same or unprotected sex.

The reasons for the social and cultural forces that lead to the option for an abortion include the lack of a stable relationship with the father of the future baby, when a woman considers herself too young to be a mother, fear of being judged by family and society, lack of support from the family and the State, and the lack of structure, emotional and psychological to cope with the responsibilities of motherhood.

As to the economic reasons, the woman may decide on abortion when you already have children and not have financial conditions to sustain a child, when you don’t have conditions to afford the financial burden of a pregnancy and creating a child or when the pregnancy implies in the interruption of their economic activities.

In the cases of rape, in which the brazilian law guarantees the right of women to abortion, in general, the option for the same stems from the not desire to carry a pregnancy resulting from an act of violence committed against you.

When the pregnancy carries a risk of death to the mother, if also permitted by the brazilian legislation as a condition for the realization of legal abortion, the woman chooses by the end of the pregnancy to preserve her own life. In many cases, the woman already is a mother and takes into consideration the fact that your (s) kids might be orphaned if the pregnancy is carried forward.

For women who choose to abort a abortion due to fetal malformation, a situation also accepted by law in Brazil, the general decision is motivated by a desire to shorten the suffering caused by loading a baby who is not able to survive after birth.

There are private reasons, and natural, of nature strictly personal that also lead women to abort.

Types of abortion

Abortion can be classified into three types:

  • Spontaneous abortion: spontaneous abortion is one that occurs regardless of the will of the woman, with the interruption of pregnancy occurring until the 20th week. Can be caused by genetic abnormalities and conditions maternal health, among other factors.
  • Abortion Legalized: legalized abortions, or legal abortion, is one in which the woman decides for the termination of pregnancy and such a choice is supported by local legislation. In Brazil, abortion legalized includes pregnancies arising from rape, when the pregnancy carries a risk of death to the mother and when the fetus is anencéfalo.
  • Abortion Illegal: abortion illegal is the one whose motivations are not provided for in local legislation on the subject or when it is held in locations not officially recognized for the procedure. The advocates of the decriminalization and legalization of abortion in Brazil argue that illegal abortion is a public health issue.

Abortion is a crime

In Brazil, under the legal point of view, abortion is defined as the interruption of gestation, with the intent to cause the death of the fetus, regardless of gestational age. The abortion was voluntary or caused is considered a crime, detailed in the Penal Code of 1940, in articles 124 to 127.

However, article 128 of the Criminal Code sets out the cases of exclusion of antijuricidade, that is, the cases in which the woman can turn to a legal abortion.

Difference between decriminalization and regulation of abortion

The decriminalization of abortion implies that the same be considered a crime, exempting the woman that the practice of punishment legal. However, decriminalization does not imply the obligation of the State to offer the service in the public health nor to give support to those involved.

Already the legalization of abortion means, in addition to decriminalization, the State makes available to the precedimento in public hospitals, promoting education campaigns, counselling and other measures of support for women.

Abortion in public health

Many advocates of the legalization of abortion in Brazil claim that the theme needs to be viewed as an issue of human rights and public health, not criminal.

Such a position is justified by the fact that, according to estimates, about 1 million women resort to illegal abortion in Brazil per year, a situation that results in the death of approximately 200 thousand as a result of the procedure.

The numbers demonstrate that the legal prohibition of abortion does not prevent its practice, that ends up being performed in inadequate conditions and without proper medical care. The solution to this scenario would be the regulation of abortion, that all women had access to complete the procedure safely, in the framework of the Single Health System (SUS).

Annually, occur 250 thousand hospitalizations for the treatment of complications arising from unsafe abortions performed in unsanitary conditions, which generates a cost of about 30 million to the State. The hospitalizations resulting from abortions and unsuccessful outweigh those for treatment of cases of cancer of the breast or cervix of the uterus. Curettage (cleaning of the body of the uterus to prevent infections) is the procedure hospital the most performed in Brazil.

Abortion: against and in favour

In the discussion on the decriminalization and legalization of abortion in Brazil, as well as about the theme in a general way, we can group the arguments against and in favour of the following form:

Arguments against abortion: life begins from conception, therefore the fetus has the right to life; the woman assumes the risk of becoming pregnant when you do sex, even when you use birth control methods; the fetus may not be punished for the crime of rape committed by another person; the right to life of the fetus outweighs the woman’s right to choose; the legalization of abortion would not end with unsafe abortions and their consequences for the health of the woman; the abortion due to fetal malformation is a human being and has the right to life; the risk of life to the mother, represented by the pregnancy does not negate the right to life of the fetus;the legalization of abortion would imply the use of the same as a birth control method.

There are also arguments of religious nature against the abortion. The main of them says that abortion is a murder, a crime defined in the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament (“thou shalt Not Kill”).

The arguments in favour of abortion:the legalization of abortion would give women the poor the right to carry out the procedure with adequate medical assistance; – it is only to the woman to decide on a process that occurs in your body; the legalization of abortion would reduce the female mortality in function of the abortions performed without proper medical assistance; the woman is the one who bears most of the consequences of physical, psychological and social of a pregnancy, so you must have the right to decide about their continuity; no contraceptive method has a 100% effectiveness; the criminalization of abortion violates women’s rights.

Abortion in Brazil

According to the results of the National Survey of Abortion (PNA), is made in 2016 by the University of Brasilia (UNB) and by the Anis Institute of Bioethics, 20% of brazilian women have done at least one illegal abortion at the end of her reproductive life. This would mean that one in every five brazilian women age 40 years have done an abortion on at least one occasion.

Still according to the numbers obtained in the aforementioned research, in 2015, 417 thousand women residing in urban areas of the country interrupted a pregnancy, a figure which rises to 503 thousand when the rural area is included.

The profile of the woman who aborts, according to the results of the research, age between 18 and 39 years of age, literate and belonging to all social classes, with the largest portion (48%) completed primary education and 28% had higher education. Of the total respondents, 67% were already mothers. The study also pointed out that the religion declared is not a deterrent to the practice of abortion, since 56% of the cases filed were practiced by catholic and 25% is evangelical or protestant.

Abortion in the world

Abortion is practiced in the majority of societies known in the world. It is estimated that are made between 46 and 55 million abortions per year worldwide, about 126 thousand per day. The data indicate that 78% of these abortions are performed in developing countries and the remaining 22% in developed countries.

97 countries allow abortion caused by the woman’s decision, and 93 prohibit or only accept it in cases of rape, when there is a risk of death to the mother, in case of malformation of the fetus or incest.