Brazilian government wants pregnant women monitored
By Julio Severo and Zenóbio Fonseca, law professor and legislative consultant
Brazilian public and private healthcare institutions will be forced, by compulsory norm, to identify and register all pregnant women in Brazil, according to the National System of Register, Surveillance and Follow-up of Pregnant Women for Maternal Mortality Prevention, established by the administration of Socialist President Dilma Rousseff in its Provisory Measure no. 557/11 in 26/12/11. A provisory measure is a legal act in Brazil through which the President of Brazil can enact laws without approval by the National Congress.
At first glance, the federal plan seems done out of concern for women, with its assumption of taking care of high-risk pregnant women, imposing prenatal exams and granting a maximum monetary aid of US $25 for prenatal and postpartum follow-up. The poorest women will jump of joy for the state generosity.
The government says that is forcing all healthcare institutions to register all the women just to know how many women are in a high-risk situation.
However, it is worthwhile to ask some questions: What is the reason for decreeing urgently a Provisory Measure right on December 26, when the whole population of Brazil, including congressmen, was distracted by Christmas? What is the reason to compulsorily register all pregnant women under the excuse of helping pregnancy if the politics and ideology of the ruling Workers’ Party of Rousseff is to legalize abortion in Brazil?
That Provisory Measure was drafted by a government full of feminists that claim that legalization of abortion strengthens the women’s human rights, who treat abortion as a “right to choose” in the cases of normal pregnancy; in other words, to abort (kill) the baby “simply” because a woman should have the freedom of deciding if she wants to continue or not a pregnancy.
It is scary that the Provisory Measure, which is already in force, has focused on the compulsory control of all pregnant women in Brazil as public healthcare issue, but it remains totally silent on the unborn baby and his value and protection.
The 3rd article, clause V, points that the focus is only a woman, never her baby:
“V — to establish politics, programs and actions aimed at improving the healthcare for high-risk pregnant women.”
The 7th article, clauses IV and VI, establishes measures to avoid new female deaths, but it totally excludes unborn babies. Hey, don’t unborn babies also die?
So is it possible that there are other reasons behind the government’s plan? To establish and strengthen an obligatory system to prepare women to interrupt a pregnancy in certain cases? To implement eugenics? Let us see:
“IV: to inform, through computerized system, deaths of pregnant women, adding information about investigation on the death causes and of the measures to be taken to avoid new deaths;
“VI: to propose to federal, state, and municipal administrators of SUS (the Brazilian public healthcare system) the adoption of necessary measures to guarantee access and improve healthcare of pregnant women, and prevent maternal death.”
The most worrying fact is that the Provisory Measure limits the woman’s right to freedom when it forces her to register in a control and surveillance system just because she is pregnant, even though she has a personal health plan and is healthy, with no need for the State for anything. The Provisory Measure leaves pregnant women at the mercy of the state control and intrusion.
To remove the citizens’ freedom is not a democratic action. It is an action of totalitarian governments.
In Brazil, now it is enough for a woman to be pregnant and the State will begin, sooner or later, to control the fruit of her womb compulsorily, regardless of her choices. With such a control, it will be easy for the Brazilian government to impose the number of children that a woman can have and to demand birth control on her, as UN sees fit. After all, the compulsory register system of pregnant women in Brazil has been established to meet UN requirements.
In the short and long run, what will the Brazilian government do to regulate its control on pregnant women? What will happen to unborn babies and their protection? If the Brazilian government decides that an unborn baby with Down syndrome is a risk pregnancy and his mother decides to continue, what will the government do? If a mother has some health problem and decides that her pregnancy is to continue, what will the government do? Which “medical” pressures will a woman suffer in the compulsory system of state prenatal follow-up?
Because it removes the mothers’ freedom and completely overlooks the unborn babies’ protection, the Brazilian Provisory Measure should be denounced.
The perfect concern for mothers involves guaranteeing her full freedom and protection and the protection of life from conception on.
Portuguese version of this article: Governo de Dilma Rousseff quer monitoração de mulheres grávidas