Come From Away: Students outraged by Brazil stepping backwards

    (Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

    Brazil recently proposed a bill that could change the lives of women in the country. The bill’s proposal is to make abortion illegal in all cases.

    Currently, abortion is not completely illegal in Brazil. Women can interrupt their pregnancies if it falls into one of three categories: if the pregnancy is the result of a rape, if it puts the life of the woman in danger or if the fetus has anencephaly (the absence of a major portion of the brain).

    Bruna Porto, a second-year international student from Brazil at St. Thomas University, has the same thought as most Brazilian women: that the bill’s idea is irrational and another case of gender inequality.

    “Men want to show they want to be [in] control of something they should have nothing to do with — our bodies,” Porto said.

    Unfortunately, the bill is one step closer to being a reality. At the beginning of the month, the Chamber of Deputies approved the bill, and now it might become law if it passes two more steps.

    The deputies who approved the law were all men, which irritated women across Brazil and the Brazilian students at STU.

    Isis Lucchesi, another Brazilian student, said this is frustrating. 

    “The fact that this decision was made only by men shows how women are not taken seriously,” Lucchesi said.

    “[Women] have little voice in decision making and we are not well represented by our politicians.”

    The bill originally was intended to increase maternity leave. Legislating abortion got pushed into it at the last minute, causing protests across the country.

    Instead of helping women, the bill’s idea became another way of showing gender inequality. Because of this, Brazilians are calling the proposal the “Trojan Horse bill,” since it came as a good idea, but turned out to be another way of men trying to control women’s bodies.   

    Lucchesi believes that, even though she is in Canada, she can still make people aware of the situation through social media.

    “I intend to express my opinion about the issue through social media and try to talk about this subject as much as possible to people,” Lucchesi said.

    What was supposed to help women in the largest country in Latin America became a nightmare for a lot of them. However, the female population of Brazil has always been strong and brave and they decided it’s time for their voices to be heard. This isn’t the first time men have tried to control things that do not concern them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like this is going to be the last time either. What is left for Brazilian women, living in the country or not, is to fight and have hope.


    Sofia Paura is a first-year student from Brazil. Come From Away is The Aquinian’s column about world issues and events, told through the perspective of students watching their homes from afar.


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