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Brazil's abortion law

Soon after being chosen as the new Brazilian Health Minister, Dr. Temporão (1) declared to be in favor of (2) abortion's legalization. He also said that the population should decide (3) through a referendum whether abortion should be legalized. Likewise, the governor of Rio, Mr. Cabral, argued that women must have the right to freely decide whether to abort. Since politicians are normally very cautious about expressing their views about polemical issues, such as abortion, death penalty and so on, these declarations are important because they may stimulate a much needed debate on this problem.

Abortion is obviously a controversial question, especially in a country where the large majority of the population is Catholic. (4) As it is known, Catholics are, in general, against abortion, even in these cases in which the pregnancy results from sexual abuse. Their main argument, which is based on their religion's principles, is that life starts at the moment of (5) its conception, (6) so abortion actually means a murder. In this sense, any woman attempting to interrupt her pregnancy should be punished accordingly.

There are those, including some Catholics, who acknowledge that (7) the abortion actually raises deep moral and ethical issues. However, they allege that moral and ethical principles will not stop women from interrupting (8) an undesired pregnancy. They also remember that many of these women are poor and use very rudimentary and risky methods to abort. Some end up at hospitals because of complications following these dangerous attempts. In reality, a great number of women die every year in Brazil because of these complications. They thus suggest that the debate about abortion should not ignore the moral, ethical, and legal aspects. Nonetheless, the debate cannot neglect (9) either that abortion is also a public health problem.

A referendum about such a complex problem will certainly give place to fierce debates between those who are pro and con its legalization. (10) As the Brazilian society is very conservative yet, it is very unlikely that people will vote for abortion's legality. However, the mere fact that (11) the Parliament (12) accepts to organize this referendum is already very positive. This will enable people to think about the question and to discuss it with their colleagues, relatives and friends. This will in consequence lead them to see the issue from different perspectives. If people become less dogmatic about abortion and become aware of the different aspects inherent (13) to it, the referendum, regardless of its result, will have been worthwhile.


(1) Correction: Change "declared to be in favor" to "declared that he was in favor."
(2) Correction: Change "abortion's legalization" to "abortion legalization" or "legalization of abortion."
(3) Suggestion only: Change "through" to "by" or "by means of.'
(4) Correction: Change "As it is known" to " As is generally known."
(5) Correction: Delete "its."
(6) Correction: Insert "and " before "so" or begin a new sentence with "So."
(7) Correction: Delete "the."
(8) Correction: Change "undesired pregnancy" to "undesired pregnancies."
(9) Suggestion only: Delete "either."
(10) Suggestion only: Change "As the Brazilian society is very conservative yet," to " As Brazilian society is still very conservative."
(11) Correction: Change "the Parliament" to "Parliament" or "the parliament." (12) Correction: Change "accepts" to "agrees."
(13) Correction: Change "to" to "in." Even better would be to change "and become aware of the different aspects inherent to it" to "and become aware of its inherent aspects."

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