Right to choose

Access to illegal abortions in Brazil determined by wealth and education

Brazilian women demonstrate in favor of abortion legalization. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman’s ability to get an abortion in Brazil often comes down to her income level, as wealthier and more highly-educated Brazilians find themselves able to fly abroad or pay high prices for the illegal procedures at home. A 30-year-old woman named Marina told Vocativ that when she became pregnant at 20 and told her doctor she wanted an abortion, he referred her to a clandestine clinic behind an enforced security door where she paid $4,500 for the procedure, which took just an hour-and-a-half.

But for poorer women, getting an abortion can often be an expensive and dangerous task that can include buying illegal pills on a black market, visiting underground clinics, or trying to perform an abortion at home. Those options carry heavy risks: more than 200,000 women are hospitalized each year for complications from abortions, and abortion is the fifth leading cause of maternal mortality in the country. The issue of illegal abortion in Brazil has become even more fraught in recent months as the Zika virus has appeared in the country, affecting pregnant women and their developing babies.

“We really have a social divide between those who can determine whether or not to be pregnant and the ones who don’t have this option at all,” Bia Galli of Ipas, a global nongovernmental agency focused on access to safe abortion, told Vocativ.

Read the full story at Vocativ.

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