On State Control of Your Body
And how it goes beyond the fetus they’re trying to “protect”
History moves faster than we think, but at the same time, history has always been here. I’ve been watching the desperation of US feminists at the wake of the cancellation of their abortion rights from Brazil, a country where abortion has been illegal for all of my life. The rich women pay for abortions, the poor ones die trying — this is a saying that is common in pro-choice protests in Brazil and in other countries in South America where abortion isn’t legal. I want to extend my solidarity to US feminists, and reiterate that this is a global fight for our bodily autonomy.
A week before Roe v. Wade was struck down, I was following a story about the denial of abortion rights in Brazil, published by The Intercept. In Brazil, one of the few legal ways to get an abortion is in cases of rape or incest. The mother of an 11-year-old rape victim realized her child was pregnant and sought to terminate the pregnancy, which is allowed by law without judicial permission up until 20 weeks. They were denied the procedure because the girl was 22 weeks and two days along. While the girl’s mother attempted to get permission for the procedure, the girl was taken from her home, allegedly to protect her from her abuser.
The Intercept published videos of the judge and the public prosecutor responsible for the case inducing the little girl and the mother into keeping the pregnancy. At this point, the pregnancy put the girl’s life at risk. In the video, the girl is clearly disoriented, and the judge and prosecutor talk about “her baby” and whether “the dad” would want to keep the baby. The judge asks “Could you stay pregnant for a few weeks longer?” and the prosecutor says “If we take out this baby now, we will have to watch it die outside the womb… is that what you want? It’s so cruel.” (The prosecutor later told The Intercept that this is how she genuinely thought the procedure would happen.)
In the same video, the girl’s mother is adamant that her child must have the procedure. She says her daughter does not understand what is happening, and begs the judge to let her bring her home. Instead of using protective resources of the state to protect the child from her abuser, the child was being kept in a shelter to stop…