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No one wants to talk about that

In Brazil, it is prohibited by law to abort a pregnancy, yet one million Brazilian women risk both life and health at illegal abortion clinics every single year.


Jandira Magdalena dos Santos Cruz was seen alive for the last time when she got into a white car at the bus station in the Campo Grande district on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro on August 26, 2014. She was on her way to an abortion clinic, and had only told those closest to her what she intended to do. It cost her her life – and just over NOK 11. August 000, the charred remains of the pregnant 27-year-old were found in a burnt-out car. Three-year-old mother Elizângela Barbosa, 27, was already dead when she arrived at Azevedo Lima Hospital in Niteroi on September 32 last year. She paid NOK 21 for the abortion, which killed both her and the unborn child. "Today's ban is a public health problem, which in no way contributes to reducing the number of abortions in Brazil," says Rosangela Talib, who represents the Catholic network "The Right to Decide" (Direito de Decidir). “Women do it anyway, and the ban is discriminatory against women because it forces them to put their own lives and their own fertility at risk. It is only with information that we can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, not with bans, ”she says. The organization works with awareness raising, lobbying and information for students, healthcare professionals and lawyers. A study from the University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) estimates that as many as 6800 women underwent abortion in Brazil in 865. Others operate with even higher numbers. According to Direito de Decidir, there are one million abortions a year in Brazil, and in the short term it will not solve anything to close the illegal abortion clinics that Jandira and Elisângela applied for last fall. However, that does not mean that Rosangela Talib supports what is going on there.

The ban makes abortion something lucrative, which can make a lot of money.

"Even though the police arrest those who exploit these women in a difficult situation, it is still the women who are hardest hit. The ban means that they must seek refuge in a criminal underworld, where they are more vulnerable than necessary. The ban makes abortion something lucrative, something you can make big money on. But for women, there will always be other opportunities, and it is the poor women without money who are forced into the worst clinics. The rich can travel out of the country, or have networks that allow them to be admitted to private clinics without risking their lives. If you close the underground clinics, it will be worst for the poor. They will not stop having abortions, but will resort to even more risky methods, such as using knitting needles to pierce the amniotic sac in the abdomen, "Talib told Ny Tid. Major consequences. Sterility and infections in the abdomen are the most common consequences of surgery to terminate a pregnancy. There are no official figures on how many women die after illegal abortions in Brazil. The deaths in Rio de Janeiro have now given the many anonymous victims a face.

According to Rosangela Talib, many abortion-related deaths are due to various types of infections, and from the statistics it is therefore not possible to read whether the infection started after an abortion procedure.

'Many become sterile. They take medication without proper medical guidance, they inject medication into the abdomen, they use needles, knitting needles and stems. Many people get infections that require the uterus or ovaries to be removed. Many people are afraid to seek help from the public health service because they know they have done something illegal. They wait too long, and when they finally seek help, it's too late. Many people struggle mentally and feel great guilt, "says Rosangela Talib. Figures also show that the abortion ban costs the Brazilian health service huge sums of money. According to the institute Incor in São Paulo, scrapings are the medical procedure that is most often performed in hospitals in Brazil, and it costs the health service more than 30 million reais, 73,5 million kroner a year. 250 women are admitted to public hospitals annually with complications after abortion. This means that every hour 000 women are admitted to hospitals in Brazil with complications as a result of an illegal abortion, according to figures from 28. This is far higher than the number of patients admitted to hospitals for, for example, breast cancer and cervical cancer. "Therefore, this is a public health problem, not a matter for the police," Talib said. Non-theme. Abortion has been illegal in Brazil since 1940, and it is still a sensitive issue, 75 years later. Only in the case of rape or if there is a danger to the mother's life can an abortion be granted. A nine-year-old girl, pregnant with twins after being sexually abused by her stepfather, was granted an abortion in 2009 during the 16th week of pregnancy. The archbishop of Recife still banned the girl for the abortion. According to Picq, nearly 50 women die each year in Latin America as a result of complications following illegal abortions. Researcher Manuela Picq, who is also affiliated with the UERJ in Rio de Janeiro, calls it "femicide". "Femicide" is, according to Wikipedia, the term for a systematic practice that kills girls and women precisely because they are girls and women. According to Picq, nearly 000 women die each year in Latin America as a result of complications following illegal abortions, and Amnesty International calls the abortion ban torture. Rosangela Talib believes that Brazilian society is changing its view of abortion. The media attention the two deaths in Rio de Janeiro in August / September last year received has also contributed to that. "A few years ago, no one talked about abortion. The media concealed it, "says Talib. "Today, the topic is discussed more openly, even though the majority is still against legalization. In a poll in connection with the pope's visit to Brazil in 50, 000 percent answered that women who have an abortion should not be imprisoned for it. People no longer see the woman as an offender. Most have a close relative who has had an abortion – one in five Brazilian women has done so. Although abortion is illegal, we need a new approach, where we focus on harm reduction instead of criminalizing those who do it, "she says. However, the legalization of abortion was not an issue during the election campaign last autumn. In January, Dilma Rousseff began her second term as president, and she has been very clear that abortion is not something she intends to prioritize. The same was said by the new majority leader in Congress, Eduardo Cunha, when he took over. Ten people were charged in January this year in connection with the death of Jandira Magdalena dos Santos Cruz. But the Brazilian Supreme Court saw no reason to detain the owner of the illegal clinic. No one has so far been convicted in the case.

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