Brazilian congressional committee votes to ban all abortions

November 9, 2017 GMT

SAO PAULO (AP) — A congressional committee has voted to make abortion illegal without exception in Brazil.

Brazilian law currently allows abortions in cases of rape, when the mother’s life is at risk or in cases of anencephaly, a birth defect involving the brain. In practice, wealthy women tend to have access to safe abortions in private clinics, while the poor often rely on risky procedures. An academic survey partially funded by the Ministry of Health estimates that more than 400,000 women had an abortion in Brazil in 2015.

The measure approved late Wednesday states that the protections for life in the constitution begin at conception. It’s championed by the Evangelical bloc in Congress.

It’s attached to a constitutional amendment so it would need a super-majority in both houses of Congress to become law.