Brazil's Chamber of Deputies approves the urgency of a bill that equates abortion with murder

Consultation on speeding up discussions on the bill lasted 23 seconds

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo |
Lira considered the urgency of the matter approved in symbolic voting - Reprodução/TV Câmara/YouTube

On Wednesday (12), Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies approved the urgent discussion of the bill that equates abortion with homicide. Officially named Bill 1904/2024, it will now be voted on by the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies, without first going through the relevant committees.

The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira (Progressive Party), put the matter on the agenda without informing the federal deputies and without announcing the bill's number. He asked Pastor Henrique Vieira (Socialism and Freedom Party) about the position of party members on the matter under consideration, but he did not respond. Lira considered the urgency of the matter approved in symbolic voting (when each deputy's vote on the electronic panel isn’t recorded), which lasted just 23 seconds. In general, symbolic voting occurs when there is already agreement among parliamentarians on the matter on the agenda.

The bill adds articles to the Penal Code to make the penalties for simple homicide the same as those for abortions carried out after 22 weeks of gestation, even in cases where the practice is legally allowed. The text also prohibits abortion even in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape, if there is fetal viability.  

At the time of the vote, there was no reaction in the plenary. On social media, however, members of the progressive spectrum attacked what they called Lira's "maneuver".

"Lira has just struck a blow against women's rights. He approved an emergency request without even announcing the vote. The request allows voting on the bill that forces girls and women who suffer sexual violence to have the child of a rapist," wrote Natália Bonavides (Workers’ Party).

Congresswoman Sâmia Bomfim (Socialism and Freedom Party) also spoke out on social media. "Using a maneuver, Lira approved the urgency of the Child Pregnancy Bill, so the bill can go to a voting at any time in the plenary," she posted.

The Nem Presa Nem Morta (Either Jailed nor Killed, in a rough translation) Campaign, which defends the decriminalization of abortion in the country, called Lira's stance "cowardly."

 The National Front for the Legalization of Abortion described the urgent approval as "dishonest and undemocratic."

Edited by: Thalita Pires