Justiça Reprodutiva

20 de outubro, 2022

Maternal mortality: when a pandemic overlaps with the anti-gender crusade, 2020

While I am writing this piece, Brazil is the global epicenter of two tragedies—the COVID-19 pandemic and the anti-gender crusade that has transformed Latin America into an example of how to advance authoritarian politics against women and sexual minorities. The two events are not a coincidence: Brazil has been badly hit by the pandemic in large part because of the government’s systematic denial of scientific evidence, a common tactic used by authoritarian governments that seek to control populations through fear. For example, despite the lack of proper scientific evidence about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, it is widely offered as the official treatment for COVID-19. Brazilians are not even allowed to properly count COVID-19-related deaths. The continuous turnover of the leadership at the Ministry of Health has stymied national surveillance efforts. It has fallen to civil society, media and local municipalities to count the bodies. The government’s denial of science has also left women behind: contrary to the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Brazilian government has declined to recognize reproductive health needs as essential health care.

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