Reproductive Justice

19 de April, 2023

Anencephaly: the magnitude of the judicial authorization among medical doctors in Brazil

This study describes the magnitude of medical care for pregnant women with an anencephalic fetus, presenting an empirical study with physicians. Anencephaly is an abnormality incompatible with postpartum life. The right to abort in this case is currently under litigation at the Brazilian Supreme Court. This survey was conducted among 1,814 medical doctors, all of them affiliated to the Brazilian Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Febrasgo), corresponding to 12% of the doctors within this federation. The results show that, in a group of 9,730 women cared by the physicians over the last 20 years, 85% preferred to interrupt pregnancy in case of anencephaly. This data reveals how medical care for women who are pregnant with an anencephalic fetus is a common experience in health care services, as well as the ethical challenge imposed by the restrictive Brazilian legislation on abortion.

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