Brazil: women forced to hear the heartbeat of the fetus before abortion

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By John

The governor of the Brazilian state of Goias, Ronaldo Caiado, has promulgated the law that obliges women intending to have a legal abortion to carry out an examination in which it is possible to listen to the heartbeat of the fetus. According to the author of the law, former Christian Democrat MP Fred Rodrigues, the aim of the law is to avoid “cases of illegal abortions”. The text also establishes the Day Against Abortion on August 8th.

Brazilian law guarantees access to legal abortion through the National Health Service (SUS) only in cases of rape, risk to the life of the mother or anencephalic fetus. In all other cases, abortion is considered a crime under the penal code, with a prison sentence of one to three years.

Last December the municipal council of the city of Maceió approved a law that obliges women about to have an abortion to meet with doctors so that they can show them the development of the fetuses week after week with the support of images. Hospital staff are also required to inform, by showing videos and photos, the surgical methods used for the abortion procedure and to present all the risks of the intervention.