By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BRASILIA, May 20, 2008 ( – Brazil’s first national “Youth Conference”, held in the capital city of Brasilia in late April, concluded with a declaration in favour of the legalization of abortion and the creation of an educational system free of “homophobia”.

The 2,280 attendees were given preliminary materials published by the government and bearing the name of President Luiz Lula, which claimed that illegal abortions were causing maternal deaths and that women never die of legal abortions. 

One such publication claimed that an unnamed “study” revealed that “70 thousand women die every year because of complications caused by badly-done abortions. In countries where the procedure is legal, there is no record of deaths for this reason.”  No citation was given.

In fact, official statistics in the United States have reported approximately 0.8 deaths per 100,000 abortions (, and pro-life organizations have long claimed that such deaths are underreported.

Participants were also given government materials that defended homosexuality as a “right”.  “It is necessary… to guarantee to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites, transsexuals, and transgender people the right to freely express their sexual orientation,” said one preliminary document.

Another stated that, “to be homosexual (gay or lesbian), bisexual, transvestite or transsexual isn’t an illness, isn’t illegal, isn’t wrong, and isn’t an option.  It’s an orientation like heterosexuality, that is to say, another way of living and expressing one’s love.”  The publication reaffirmed the fact that the World Health Organization no longer categorizes homosexuality as an illness.

The final resolutions approved by participants included a declaration that the government should “implement public policies to promote the sexual and reproductive rights of young women…guaranteeing access to contraceptive methods, and the legalization of abortion.”

It also urged the government to “implement public policies that promote the democratization of access to a secular, non-sexist, non-racist, non-lesbian-phobic/homophobic/transphobic, non-heteronormative, democratic and anticapitalist education”.

The declarations of the government-sponsored conference contradict a poll taken as late as 2006 by UNESCO, in which 47% of Brazilian youth between the ages of 16 and 19 stated that they would not like to have a homosexual as a neighbour, and 49% of male youth said that they thought that a man who has sexual relations with another man is either ill, or shameless.

A recent poll of Brazilians nationwide found that a majority of 68% oppose the further decriminalisation of abortion, which is illegal but not currently punished in Brazil in cases of rape.

Related Links:

National Youth Conference official site (in Portuguese)

Results of UNESCO Poll of Brazilian Youth (Spanish)

  Related Coverage:

Smashing Defeat for Pro-Abortion Forces in Brazil

More than Two-Thirds of Brazilians are Against the Legalization of Abortion

Brazilian Government Punishes Dissenters of Pro-Homosexuality Policy