Women took to the streets again in São Paulo against the 'Child Pregnancy Bill'

For the second time in the same week, Paulista Avenue staged a protest against a bill that equates abortion to homicide

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo |
Protesters criticize the bill that establishes 6 to 20 years in prison for abortions carried out after 22 weeks of pregnancy - Caroline Oliveira/Brasil de Fato

On Saturday (15), a demonstration against the bill that criminalizes legal abortion, dubbed the “Child Pregnancy Bill”, was held on Paulista Avenue in the city of São Paulo. The protesters walked down Augusta Street towards downtown São Paulo.

Bill Number 1904/2024 punishes women who carry out abortions with the same sentence applied in homicide cases – even for abortion procedures allowed by Brazil’s legislation.

Since Wednesday (12), the bill has been processed on an urgent basis by the Chamber of Deputies, which means it doesn’t need to be assessed by commissions and can go straight to plenary voting.

Marcia Carvalho, an educator, was one of the protesters in São Paulo. She stressed the retrograde nature of the bill.

"We must overturn this bill. We can't go back on the small rights we've already won. Right now, all women have to be on the streets. We can't believe that right-wing extremists are putting this on the agenda with so many problems to be resolved in this country."

The bill establishes a punishment of 6 to 20 years in prison for abortions carried out over 22 weeks of pregnancy. The discrepancy in the sentences applied to abusers – from 6 to 10 years – is also harshly criticized. 

It was dubbed the "Child Pregnancy Bill" because it affects mainly child rape victims. In 2022, they accounted for more than 60% of the victims of this type of crime, which most often takes place at home and is perpetrated by family members.

Writer Daniela Abade, who took part in the event, stressed the proposal's unconstitutionality. 

“It would be absurd to sentence a girl or woman victim of rape, a victim of a horrible crime, and condemn her to spend more time in prison than the criminal himself. We must revert these archaic laws we still have in Brazil. Those defending this bill are fighting for women's death.”

Protesters walked down Augusta street towards downtown São Paulo / Caroline Oliveira/Brasil de Fato

The decision by the Chamber of Deputies to fast-track the process of the bill has sparked demonstrations across the country since Thursday (13).

People’s movements, women's rights organizations and the population in general condemn the agreement between the evangelical caucus and the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, to put the issue on the agenda. 

Jéssica Lourenço, a nursing technician who joined the act in São Paulo on Saturday (15), sees the process as a way to destabilize the government.

"From what I've seen on social media, they've made it urgent to destabilize the government, not because they are really interested in the lives they say they're going to save. We know that once it's born, they don't care anymore. They have to know that we don't agree with it, that people don't agree with it."

Posters allude to the main consequence of the bill: forcing children to give birth from their abusers  / Caroline Oliveira/Brasil de Fato

The negative repercussions made Arthur Lira state that the bill should not be put to vote in the short term. He also stated that he intends to choose a woman to be the rapporteur.

Taking part in the demonstration in São Paulo, federal deputy Fernanda Melchionna (Socialism and Freedom Party) said that the only acceptable way out is for the bill to be shelved.

Posters at the protest against "Child Pregnancy Bill" on Paulista Avenue on Saturday (15) / Junior Lima @xuniorl

"We can't accept this boring ditty of putting the bill aside and, then, proposing another bill with a lower sentence. I expect to bury this bill. I can see that the far right and the centrists are trying to get it off the agenda now and buy time."

Also at the protest, federal deputy Juliana Cardoso (Workers’ Party) emphasized that the demonstration strengthens the political confrontation of the abortion agenda.

"When the streets mobilize, when feminist women mobilize, they strengthen us, who are in such a sexist and hostile atmosphere to confront it much more intensely. This bill cannot be approved. It has to be shelved."

Edited by: Thalita Pires