Brazil: Country Context

  • Abortion is permitted in cases of rape, when the woman’s life is at risk, or in cases of anencephaly. In these cases, abortion is available from the National Health Service.
  • Contraceptive use is high: in 2006, 81% married women aged 15–49 years were using contraception, and the rate was high across all income groups.
  • In 2006, 29.7% of births were reported as unplanned and 17.8% as unwanted.
  • In 2012, a survey found that 54% of births were unplanned.
  • In a 2008 report, the Ministry of Health cited high rates of abortion, including abortions by many women who reported that they were using contraception.
  • Access to safe, but illegal, services is limited to women with economic means, and many who qualify for legal abortion are unable to access services
  • Women have increasingly self-induced abortion using misoprostol, and sought post-abortion care from  the National Health Service.
  • Half of women receiving post-abortion care report violence by health professionals.


  • Diniz SG, Araújo MJ. Commentary: Reproductive health and rights in Brazil 20 years post-International Conference on Population and Development. Global Public Health. 2015;10(2):183-185. doi:10.1080/17441692.2014.986167.

Advocating for access to safe reproductive health care.