Blame it on Rio

by Debbie Stoller

If you’re a Brazillian woman and you wind up with an unintended pregnancy, you’re SOL—abortions are illegal in this South American country, although 800,000 are performed illegally every year, and result in the deaths of 4,000 women annually.

However, now there’s some good news: President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva yesterday announced to his thong-clad nation that he’s going to subsidize birth-control pills so that they are affordable to anyone who wants them. Under his new plan, birth control pills will be available for less than 20 cents US for a month’s supply, and can be bought at over 100,000 pharmacies across the country by anyone with a government-issued ID card–something which just about every Brazillian already carries. And just so the boys don’t feel left out, da Silva also announced that the country will offer more free vasectomies as well. Brazil already distributes 254 million free condoms a year.

While we’d much rather see the girl from Ipanema win the right to safe abortions on demand, we feel a government emphasis on readily available birth control, rather than a focus on abstinence, is a giant  step in the right direction. 

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