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Reprod Health Matters. 2013 Nov;21(42):165-73. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(13)42726-X.

Brazilians have different views on when abortion should be legal, but most do not agree with imprisoning women for abortion.

Author information

1
Senior Researcher, Cemicamp (Center for Research on Reproductive Health of Campinas); and Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address: afaundes@uol.com.br.

Abstract

Unsafe abortions remain a major public health problem in countries with very restrictive abortion laws. In Brazil, parliamentarians - who have the power to change the law - are influenced by "public opinion", often obtained through surveys and opinion polls. This paper presents the findings from two studies. One was carried out in February-December 2010 among 1,660 public servants and the other in February-July 2011 with 874 medical students from three medical schools, both in São Paulo State, Brazil. Both groups of respondents were asked two sets of questions to obtain their opinion about abortion: 1) under which circumstances abortion should be permitted by law, and 2) whether or not women in general and women they knew who had had an abortion should be punished with prison, as Brazilian law mandates. The differences in their answers were enormous: the majority of respondents were against putting women who have had abortions in prison. Almost 60% of civil servants and 25% of medical students knew at least one woman who had had an illegal abortion; 85% of medical students and 83% of civil servants thought this person(s) should not be jailed. Brazilian parliamentarians who are currently reviewing a reform in the Penal Code need to have this information urgently.

KEYWORDS:

Brazil; abortion law and policy; criminalization; imprisonment; opinion poll; public opinion

PMID:
24315072
DOI:
10.1016/S0968-8080(13)42726-X
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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