As it has been systematically reported by SPW in the last few months, Brazil is now a battleground in regard to the right to legal abortion. The last bad news is that on October 21st, 2015, after a very well orchestrated conservative strategy, the House Committee on Constitution and Justice approved bill number 5069/2013 that would amend the Penal Code in order to criminalize “inducing or encouraging a pregnant woman to have an abortion, including providing assistance to do so” 
The approved text amends the Penal Code in order to criminalize “inducing or encouraging a pregnant woman to have an abortion, including providing assistance to do so”, except in cases of legal abortion. It has also reintroduced the requirement that raped women must file a police report and have a forensic medical examination to be able to request an abortion. This implies that a physician who provides an abortion without forensic evidence will commit a crime. The provision also fundamentally changes the content of Law 12.845/2013, which regulates health care for women who are victims of sexual violence. Firstly, it excludes the definition enshrined in existing law that establishes “sexual violence” to mean all forms of non-consensual sexual activity, even when there may not be physical evidence of violence. Secondly, it changes the existing legal terminology of permitting “pregnancy prevention” for women who get pregnant due to rape to permitting only “a non-abortive procedure or medication that may provide early and efficient prevention of pregnancy resulting from rape”.
Last but not least the provision adds the following language to the existing legislation “In no case will a health professional or institution be obliged to advise on, prescribe or administer any procedure or medication that is considered abortifacient.” This inclusion leaves the room open for interpretations that will prohibit emergency contraception (EC) abortion procedures, in those cases allowed by the law, to be suspended. The next step in the legislative processing will be a vote in the full House, which may take place in the next few weeks.
The good news is however that the approval of PL 5069 was widely repudiated across Brazilian society and this outrage is adding water to the mills of popular rejection of MP Cunha political practices. It triggered a strong and wide mobilization of feminists and women and large. Since last week protests have taken place in various cities culminating with a quite significant demonstration in downtown Rio when thousands of women highly shouted words of order such as: Out Cunha! Cunha Goes and the Pill Stays! It is our bodies, it is our choices, it is about women’s right to life!
Enjoy the photos
Read news on the protest in Portuguese
 This conservative forces had the full support of the Committee’s president MP Arthur Lira, who is very close to MP Eduardo Cunha, current president of the House and author, whose corruption practices are under investigation. Even before the session began, the room was filled with a massive presence of anti-abortion activists, the doors were closed and feminists were unable to attend the session. Repeated attempts by MPs Erika Kokay and Maria do Rosario to suspend voting on the provision were rejected.