Anti-Abortion Groups Protest in front of São Paulo Hospital

40 Days movement for life prayed in front a hospital that performs legal abortions

Júlia Zaremba
São Paulo

Anti-abortion activists stand on one side, praying Hail Mary while holding rosaries, crosses, and images of Jesus Christ. Local residents and women's rights activists stand on the other side with signs defending victims of sexual violence.

This has been the scene for a week in the square in front of the Pearl Byington Hospital, a reference in the care of victims of sexual violence in Bela Vista (central region of São Paulo).

Just over a month ago, 40 Days for Life activists set up a tent on the site to "pray for an end to abortion." The action should end on Sunday (3).

Women's rights activists stand on the other side with signs defending victims of sexual violence - Júlia Zaremba/Folhapress

The movement was created in the conservative state of Texas (USA) and spread around the world. The goal is to end abortion by prayers, fasting, and vigils in front of places that perform the procedure.

In Brazil, abortion is permitted in three situations: rape, risk to a woman's life, or fetal anencephaly.

Members of the campaign's São Paulo branch refused to talk to Folha. "Just prayer," said Celene Salomão, 54, a former PSL candidate for federal deputy.

Communication on social media is active. The profile of 40 Days for Life of Sao Paulo shows videos and photos of prayers in front of the hospital.

Lawyers and activists report embarrassment to patients in front of the hospital. The anti-abortion activists have yelled "Satanist" and "murderer" at women and doctors.

The Secretary of State for Health, responsible for Pearl Byington, says that there was no impact on care.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

Read the article in the original language