10-year-old rape victim reignites abortion debate in Brazil

A grisly and public legal battle over the right for a child to terminate a pregnancy once again casts light on Brazil's abortion laws

abortion laws in brazil
Photo: Marcello Jr/ABr/Archive

Abortion is only legal in Brazil in very specific circumstances. Women can only legally terminate a pregnancy in four cases: rape, incest, when the mother’s life is in danger, or — since 2012 — in cases of anencephaly, a fatal condition in which infants are born without parts of the brain or skull. Despite those restrictions, an estimated 500,000 abortions happen every year in the country, according to a 2019 estimate. And one case of legal abortion is sparking a heated debate among pro-choice and anti-abortion groups.

A 10-year-old girl from Vitória — the capital city of the southeastern state of Espírito...

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