Slate is reporting today on new legislation in Brazil that requires all pregnant women to register their pregnancies with the state. It was drafted and enacted by Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's first female president, and a group of conservative legislators. Provisional Measure 557 (PM 557) was designed to ensure better access to quality maternal health care, but it is being criticized as a misguided violation of privacy that won't even accomplish its goals.
For years Catholic and evangelical parliamentarians have been trying unsuccessfully to establish a registry for pregnant women, with Dilma’s support they’ve finally succeeded …
The biggest problem with maternal mortality in Brazil is not access to health care services, which PM 557 claims it will address, but rather the quality of public health services. The majority of preventable maternal deaths actually take place in public hospitals. PM 557 does not guarantee, for example, access to health exams, timely diagnosis, providers trained in obstetric emergency care, or immediate transfers to better facilities. It doesn’t even ensure a pregnant woman will find a vacant bed when she is ready to give birth.
What PM 557 does do is raise questions about preserving a woman’s human rights: her right to privacy, which would be violated by the compulsory government registration to control and monitor her reproductive life; her right to autonomy and dignity, which would be violated by denying her the freedom of choice; and her right to liberty, which would be completely void as she’d be legally obligated to have all the children she conceives (protecting the rights of the “unborn,” which is flagrantly unconstitutional) and will be monitored by the state for this purpose. . .
Can you think of any U.S. presidential candidates who might support such a law here?
Read more at Slate.