On Monday, August 17, religious fundamentalists attempted to invade the Integrated Health Center Amauri de Medeiros (CISAM) in Recife (PE), Brazil, to stop a 10-year-old child from carrying out an abortion. The child became pregnant after she was raped by her uncle. The patient was earlier denied her legal right at the University Hospital Cassiano Antônio Moraes in the Espírito Santo State and had to travel to Recife, the capital of Pernambuco State, which is over 1,800 km away, to access the procedure.
The religious fundamentalists who had gathered outside the health center in Recife were confronted and expelled by a group of feminists who mobilized to protect the life of the child and her legal right. Following their expulsion, the procedure was carried out safely and the child is recovering.
In Brazil, abortion is only permitted in cases of rape, or when there is a risk to the health of the mother or if the fetus has anencephaly (the absence of a portion of the brain or skull). In this case, the procedure had even been authorized by a Court in her home State of Espírito Santo.
Throughout the day, members of conservative groups remained outside the health center in Recife, condemning the procedure and organizing prayer circles. Several anti-abortion parliamentarians were also present, including Clarissa Tércio (PSC), Cleiton and Michelle Collins, from PP, councilman Renato Antunes (PSC), state deputy Joel da Harpa (PP) and former deputy Terezinha Nunes (MDB).
The case was widely commented on across social media. Far-right Bolsonaro supporter Sara Winter called on her networks to oppose the abortion and even called the child an “assassin.” Winter also revealed the name of the victim, in complete violation of the child’s right to privacy.
According to reports, the 10-year-old had been victim of sexual violence for the past four years.
The National Abortion Investigation, carried out in 2015 by the Bioethic Institute, Human Rights and Gender along with the University of Brasilia, revealed that one in every five women between 18 and 40 has had one abortion, totaling around 500,000 such procedures. The total numbers are likely much higher since the investigation did not interview adolescents, women in rural areas and women over 49.
Edited by: Rodrigo Durão Coelho