In a decree that could make jurisprudence, the Brazilian Supreme Court has decided that, “it is not a crime to abort during the first trimester of pregnancy”. In Brazil, abortion is generally considered to be a crime and can carry a prison sentence of up to three years. Conversely, abortion is decriminalised in three cases: if the foetus has acephaly (i.e. no brain), if the mother-to-be’s life is in jeopardy or if the pregnancy is the result of rape.
The Supreme Court explained that it would be “anticonstitutional to criminalise voluntary abortion” during the first trimester, thereby revoking the prison sentence metered out to the employees of a Rio clinic who were accused of having committed an illegal abortion in 2013.
The Court stated that the criminalisation of abortion “violates the various fundamental rights of women”, adding that it is “incompatible with the sexual rights and right to reproduction of women, who cannot be forced by the State to continue with an unwanted pregnancy”.
Elle a précisé que la criminalisation de l’avortement « viole divers droits fondamentaux des femmes », ajoutant qu’elle est « incompatible avec les droits sexuels et le droit à la reproduction des femmes, qui ne peuvent être contraintes par l’Etat de poursuivre une grossesse non désirée » (cf. Brésil : la justice de Sao Paulo autorise une femme à avorter à quatre mois de grossesse).