No Sex Please, We’re Brazilian

Brazil's Evangelical human rights minister wants to rely on teen abstinence to curb teen pregnancy rates. Can it work?

Damares Alves no sex policies
Human Rights Minister Damares Alves (L) and President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Carolina Antunes/PR

In 2004 teen comedy classic Mean Girls, the fictional American high school students are told by their eminently unqualified sex education teacher Coach Carr simply to “not have sex, because you will get pregnant and die.” Away from the silver screen, in 2020, Brazil’s Human Rights Ministry appears to have taken a leaf from the Hollywood screenplay and has launched a campaign promising to have the solution to combat teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases: kids, just don’t have sex.

The cabinet ministry is using the advent of the National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Week—a newly instated commemoration to...

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