Abortion Facts & Numbers of Brazil
How many abortions are done in Brazil?
During the first semester of 2020, only 1,024 legal abortions were registered at the SUS (Public Health Care System). In the same period, SUS attended 80,900 cases of complications following unsafe abortions, according to news agency G1. It is evident that the number of people seeking medical care for abortion-related complications is considerably greater than the number of people obtaining abortion services.
In the first semester of 2020,there were 1024 abortions conducted within the legal systemthere were 80900 emergencies due to post-abortion complications
There is not enough data available to determine how many abortions are performed in Brazil per year; however, it is possible to estimate that one out of every five Brazilian women living in urban areas has had an abortion. Research conducted by scholars has revealed that abortion is a common experience in the reproductive lives of women and girls, even if this practice is restricted. While legal barriers do not affect the decision to have an abortion, the data shows how they affect the access of black and indigenous women to legal and safe abortions.
How does the Brazilian population feel about abortion?
What Brazilians believe
Based on a survey conducted by IPEC and released on 13/09/2022, 70% of the sampled population opposes the legalization of abortion in Brazil; 8% are neither against nor in favor, and 20% are in favor.
There has been an increase in the number of people opposed to legalization among evangelicals (84%), those who have only completed primary school (80%), and those who live in the Midwest region of the Country (77%). In contrast, anti-abortion positions have declined among voters between the ages of 16 and 24, among those with a higher education (57%) and among those who do not belong to a religious denomination (52%). Despite a reduction in the number of people who oppose legalizing abortion, the numbers are still considerable.
Another survey conducted by Datafolha and Raps indicated that 41.8% of respondents opposed abortion in all circumstances. According to the survey, only 36.2% of the population disagrees with this statement.
Who are the people who have requested legal abortions?
Who are the women who have requested legal abortions?
An independent study conducted by Debora Diniz and Marcelo Madeiro provides demographic data on women who have requested legal abortions. During 2013 and 2015, they analyzed 1,283 medical records of women who had legal abortions at five services in five different regions of the country. Providing an estimate of the number and the demographic profile of abortion seekers in the country .
In that study, the methodology was based on the report provided by the public health service. In order to continue understanding who is seeking and accessing legal abortion services, it is imperative to maintain up-to-date data and a complete registered .
The study run by Diniz and Madeiros is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in Brazil, from understanding the type of services to identifying the demographic characteristics of abortion seekers.
An important finding of this study was that the majority of women who have access to legal abortion services are white. Nevertheless, according to information provided by the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica, black women have the double number of unsafe abortions as white women. Greice Menezes, in the Brazilian magazine Azmina, explained that black women are underrepresented in the access to legal abortion as a result of challenges related to institutional racism .
In addition, Diniz’s and Mandeiros’ study found that a significant number of girls under 14 years of age sought abortion services. In Brazil, child sexual violence is an significant issue, and it is important to emphasize the right of the girls to access legal services as well as the need for a response from the state to safeguard their lives.
What are the abortion services available in Brazil?
How the pandemia influenced the abortion in Brazil
Impact of COVID-19
According to a report by the Brazilian Feminist Magazines Azmina and Gênero e Número, during the 2020 period of the pandemic, only 42 hospitals in the country offered abortion services. Since 45% of the hospitals that offered the service before the pandemic suspended the services due to the sanitary emergency.
Legal abortion by telemedicine
In Brazil, telemedicine abortion is being practised as a solution to isolation and lockdown in cases of sexual violence. The program was initiated by the Núcleo de Atenção Integral a Vítimas de Agressão Sexual (Nuavidas) in the Hospital de Clínicas in Uberlândia.
The services reported that up to April 2021, 15 women  had interrupted their pregnancies using their services. In contrast with sexual violence reports, however, this number appears to be quite low.
Law & Regulation
The abortion law in Brazil
Induced abortion is still regulated as a crime in the Penal Code since 1940  and it has a minimum of one year of detention according to the Art 124 of the Law N 2.848.
There are only three cases in which a person can get access to abortion services without being punished (art. 124-127).
- Rape-caused pregnancy – The person does not need to report to the police
- Imminent danger to the pregnant woman’s life. – A doctor needs to testify this cause
- Under circumstances of anencephaly – A doctor needs to testify this cause
Abortion in Brazil is a crime, with penalties of 1 to 3 years of imprisonment for the pregnant woman, and 1 to 4 years of imprisonment for the doctor or any other person who performs the fetus removal procedure on someone else.
Although abortion is legal in three exceptions, information from October 2020 indicates that only 31 cities in Brazil have legal abortion services. As a result, 13 states, including the federal district, did not have hospitals that covered the abortion services foreseen in the law. However, according to the SUS’s Norma Técnica: Humanized Abortion, it is the State’s responsibility to provide abortion services in public hospitals, within the legal exceptions.
What we don’t know
The Brazilian Data Gap
Although the SUS collects general data about abortion within the health system, much important information is only delivered thanks to NGOs. However, to draw a complete picture about the abortion situation in Brazil, studies would require to answer the following questions.
*This page presents abortion data only for women and girls, since the information available is usually not separated by gender. However, AbortionData.org acknowledges this limitation.
Sources & Partners
 Acento (2021) El aborto legal por telemedicina se abre paso en Brasil. Acento [Online] https://acento.com.do/actualidad/el-aborto-legal-por-telemedicina-se-abre-paso-en-brasil-8938183.html [Accessed] Jan, 28 2022.
 Aiken, A., Lohr, P. A., Lord, J., Ghosh, N., & Starling, J. (2021). Effectiveness, safety and acceptability of no-test medical abortion (termination of pregnancy) provided via telemedicine: a national cohort study. BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology, 128(9), 1464–1474. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.16668
 CLACAI (2017) Mifepristona y misoprostol en seis paises de America Latina.
 Departamento de Saúde Comunitária, Universidade Federal do Ceará. Fortaleza, CE – Brasil (W.F., L.L.C.); Maternal and Child Epidemiology Unit. London School of Higiene and Tropical Medicine, UK (C.M.); Hospital Geral César Cals. Fortaleza, CE – Brasil (J.A.M.P.); Maternidade Escola Assis Chateaubriand da Universidade Federal do Ceará. Fortaleza, CE – Brasil.
 Diniz, D., Medeiros, M. (2012) Itineraries and methods of illegal abortion in five Brazilian state capitals Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, 17(7):1671-1681.
 Diniz, D., Medeiros, M., Madeiro, A., Universidade de Brasília, Brasil, Universidade de Brasília, Brasil, Universidade Estadual do Piauí, Brasil, 2017. Pesquisa Nacional de Aborto 2016. Ciênc. Saúde Coletiva 22, 653–660. https://doi.org/10.1590/1413-81232017222.23812016
 Madeiro, A.P., Diniz, D., 2016. Serviços de aborto legal no Brasil – um estudo nacional. Ciênc. Saúde Coletiva 21, 563–572. https://doi.org/10.1590/1413-81232015212.10352015
 Freitas, J. E. P. D., 2020. Abortion Is A Fundamental Right—Brazil Is Failing To Fully Recognise It. Human Rights Pulse, 19 Septiembre.
 Folego, T. (2017) “Criminalização do aborto mata mais mulheres negras”. Revista Azmina [Online]https://azmina.com.br/reportagens/precisamos-falar-de-aborto-e-como-ele-mata-mulheres-negras/ [Accessed] Jan, 28 2022.
 Key Facts on Abortion [WWW Document], n.d. . Amnesty Int. URL https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/sexual-and-reproductive-rights/abortion-facts/ [Accessed] Jan, 28 2022.
 Hardy, E., & Rebello, I. (1996). La discusión sobre el aborto provocado en el Congreso Nacional Brasileño: el papel del movimiento de mujeres. Cadernos de Saúde Pública, 12, 259-266.
 Fonseca, W., Misago, C., Correia, L. L., Parente, J. A., & Oliveira, F. C. (1996). Determinantes do aborto provocado entre mulheres admitidas em hospitais em localidade da região Nordeste do Brasil. Revista de Saúde Pública, 30(1), 13-18.
 Sethna, C., & Davis, G. (Eds.). (2019). Abortion across borders: Transnational travel and access to abortion services. JHU Press.
 Murray, L., & Khan, N. (2020). The im/mobilities of ‘sometimes-migrating’for abortion: Ireland to Great Britain. Mobilities, 15(2), 161-172.