Hundreds of women march in Rio to demand legal abortion

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Hundreds of women marched in Rio de Janeiro on Friday to demand the legalization of abortion in Brazil.

The march followed a breakthrough for abortion supporters in neighboring Argentina, where the lower house of congress approved a bill this month that would legalize elective abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Carrying banners reading “rich (women) abort but the poor die” and chanting slogans in support of abortion legalization, the protesters in Rio marched from the state assembly to the city council late Friday.

“A woman should not be forced to be a mother” said Tina Tigri, a producer of cultural events who has two children and participated in the protest. “We just want it (abortion) to be legal, safe, in a hospital”

In August, Brazil’s lower house will debate abortion in a public audience. Congress’ decision will help the Supreme Court decide on a case presented last year, when a woman filed a petition to abort because a new child would emotionally and financially affect her family. It is unclear when the Supreme Court will debate the case.

Abortion in Brazil, home to the largest population of Roman Catholics and fast-growing evangelical faiths, is legal in three cases: when a woman’s life is in danger, if a woman has been raped, or when a fetus has anencephaly, a malformation of the brain.

According to health experts between 400,000 and 800,000 women have an abortion each year in the Latin American country— nearly all of them illegally.