This letter was read at the closing session of the Special Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, held at Santiago (Chile), on November 9, 2017.
Good afternoon to all,
Activists and members of civil society who were gathered at the Special Meeting of the Presiding Officers of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean in the city of Santiago, Chile from 7-9 November 2017, denounce the threat to sexual and reproductive rights currently taking place in Brazil.
In the afternoon of Wednesday, 8 November, a Special Commission of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved, by 18 votes to 1 (18 men to 1 woman), an Amendment to the Constitution No. 181/2015, which would recognize the right to life from conception, thus ending the established right to safe and legal abortion on three grounds in Brazil – risk to the woman’s life, rape, and anencephaly in the fetus.
The next step for this bill will be to go to the full Chamber of Deputies and then to the Senate. Originally, Amendment No. 181/2015 was intended to allow women a longer time for maternity leave in the event of a preterm birth. Now, however, it has been changed to become a platform for completely criminalizing abortion in Brazil.
This legislative proposal is in direct contradiction to the Montevideo Consensus, adopted at the 2013 Latin American & Caribbean Regional Conference on Population and Development (photo above), which reaffirmed reproductive and sexual rights and rejected punitive laws that restrict voluntary termination of unwanted pregnancy and that impact negatively on women’s health and rights.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in its latest report “Distant Worlds”, shows the precariousness of the reproductive life of Brazilian women, especially the poorest women. These women are the majority in Brazil, 4.2 million Brazilians, who, even after decades of investment, still do not have access to contraceptives during their reproductive years. Among these, young women are the most vulnerable: 20% of mothers in Brazil are under 20 years of age.
The National Abortion Survey (ANP) of the Anis – Bioethics Institute, published at the end of 2016, shows that in 2015 alone, more than half a million women in Brazil had an abortion, and included among them are religious women whose churches reject abortion. In Brazil, every 11 minutes a woman is a victim of rape, according to a study released by the World Bank in 2016, a study which also recognizes the under-reporting of cases. That makes 130 women a day, almost 50,000 women a year. In addition, Brazilian women are always presented with new issues that threaten their most basic right, the right to life, with illegal and unsafe procedures, and also in the case of the Zika virus epidemic, in which women were prohibited from having an abortion, leaving them unsupported during a risky gestation and facing a life full of challenges. What will Brazil do with all these women if it ends the possibility of legal abortion?
Women should have the right to decide over their own bodies, their health and their lives with the full support of the country. Laws should provide them with safe solutions and not with punishment because of issues that the State deems wrong or of problems that the State is not able to solve. We cannot and do not accept this amendment. These rights, which were so hard won, cannot be reversed. Their loss would put the lives of women in danger.
In the name of the recently deceased feminist, Fátima Oliveira, activist for women’s reproductive rights and for the health of women of Afro descent, and in the name of each and every woman, we tell the Government, the Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil: we will not give up this battle!
This announcement is signed by over than 50 organizations and networks from different countries in the region to show our commitment and solidarity to Brazilian women. Not one less! We want us alive! We say NO to religious fundamentalism!
We, more than 50 organizations and their representatives, sign to show our commitment and our solidarity to Brazilian women. #NotOneLess #WeWantUsAlive We refuse religious extremism!
Tierra Viva Women’s Organization (Guatemala)
Asociación Chilena de Protección a la Familia – APROFA (Chile)
Youth Network without Borders (Costa Rica)
Vera Rodas – Incide Joven (Guatemala)
Women’s Association Nuestra Voz (Guatemala)
Swedish Association for Sexuality Education – RSFU (Sweden)
Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas (ECMIA)
Lilián Abracinskas – Women and Health in Uruguay (MYSU) and Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (Uruguay)
Carlos Monsalve – Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network (Uruguay)
Cecilia Stapff – Sanitary Initiatives (Uruguay)
Andrea Martínez – Mujeres en el Horno (Uruguay)
Lilian Celiberti – Cotidiano Mujer (Uruguay)
Gabriela Liguori – Argentinian Commission for Refugees and Migrants (Argentina) and The Table for Women’s Life and Health
Bertha Chete – International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) América Latina
Marcele Silva –International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) América Latina (Chile)
Mariana Iacono – International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) América Latina
Ana Fálope – GOJovens (Honduras)
Jinna Rosales – GOJovens (Honduras)
Luis Espinoza Turcios – Interdisciplinary Collective for Research and Promotion of Community Development (CIIP-DC)
Marisa Batres – Humanitas Guatemala (Guatemala)
Valeria Montúfar – Paz Joven (Guatemala)
Flor Hunt – International Planned Parenthood Federation/West Hemisphere Region (IPPF/RHO)
Natalia Acevedo – Profamilia Colombia and International Planned Parenthood Federation/West Hemisphere Region (IPPF/RHO)
Lucy Garrido – Feminist Articulation Marcosur
Adriana Mendoza – Network of Youth Leaders Tú Decided Bolivia and International Planned Parenthood Federation/West Hemisphere Region (IPPF/RHO)
Mamá Riaó (Bolivia) –Network of Youth Leaders Tú DecidedBolivia y International Planned Parenthood Federation/West Hemisphere Region (IPPF/RHO)
Gabriel Reyes Silva – APROFAM and International Planned Parenthood Federation/West Hemisphere Region (IPPF/RHO) (Guatemala)
Bryan Varela – Salvadoran Platform for Youths
Juey Esquivel – UNES (Paraguay)
María Elena Dávila – Girasoles Nicaragua
Herminda Gonzalez – Margen Foundation (Chile)
Fidelia Suarez – Sex Workers Union of Colombia (SINTRASEXCO) (Colombia)
Maria Antonieta Alcalde – International Planned Parenthood Federation/West Hemisphere Region
Oriana López Uribe –Feminists Neighbors for Sexual and Reproductive Justice in Latin America and Caribbean (Resurj) (México)
Richarlls Martins – Brazilian Network for Population and Development
Mabel Bianco – Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (FEIM) and President of the Committee of NGO on the Status of Women in Latin America and Caribean (CoNGO CSW LAC)
Maria Lucia Gutierrez – Foundation for Adolescent Health Civil Association (FUSA AC) (Argentina)
Soledad Reza – Catholics for the Right to Decide (Argentina)
Lola Guerra – Latin American and Caribean Network of Catholics for the Right to Decide
Aidé García –Catholics for the Right to Decide (México)
Pamela Martin Garcia – Foundation for Adolescent Health Civil Association (FUSA AC) / Feminists Neighbors for Sexual and Reproductive Justice in Latin America and Caribbean (Resurj) Latin America and Caribean
Nayeli Yoval – Elige Youth Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights Latin America and Caribean
Vicenta Camuzo – Network of Afro-descendent Women Latin America and Caribean / Youth Alliance Latin America and Caribean / Latin America and Caribean Network for Sexual Rights
Nilda Pinoda – Sombrilla Centroamericana
Sara Garcia – Sombrilla Centroamericana / Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion (El Salvador)
Citizen Group for the Depenalization of Abortion (El Salvador)
Keyla Cáceres – Salvadoran Platform for Youth / Youth Voices for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Larissa Arroyo Navarrale – Citizen Association
Gloria Careaga – Rainbow Foundation (México)
PLEASE SIGN THIS LETTER TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT UNTIL NOVEMBER 18!
And follow the news about the processing of the Amendment here.