Apologies for the radio silence, but ’tis the season. Things may still be slow around here, due to life, but time’ll tell. Someday, I should be able to return to the long-form analysis I love writing.
Anyway, Brazil. Abortion.
Roughly a fifth of Brazilian women will have an abortion by age 40—either by paying exorbitant fees to secret clinics, ordering abortifacient pills, or traveling to Uruguay. If caught, they can be criminally tried, though in practice few such women are jailed.
Legally, Brazilian women can only abort if they’ve been raped, if their life is threatened, or if sonograms reveal a brain deformity in the fetus. Cunha’s proposed bill would make things more difficult for women in the first category. It would require rape victims seeking abortions to report to a police station and have their bodies examined, and it could limit access to the morning-after pill. People who give women advice on how to obtain abortions could be jailed.
That means me, should I ever step foot in Brazil. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of pushback.
Women’s rights activists here have been emboldened in the past few years, and not only because they have Cunha as their foil. Social media makes it easier to organize, and as more Brazilian women attend college and get good jobs, they’ve become eager to shake up traditional gender roles. No more dama na casa—lady in the house—they say: It’s time for men to start sharing in the housework and respecting female bodies.
“Some people call this the spring of the woman,” said Silviana Bahia, who has also been involved in a burgeoning black women’s protest movement in the country. “Men need to change the way they look at women.”