On the Pro-Life Victory in Brazil: “I have Never Seen This Happen in the National Congress!”

Editor’s note: The following are Professor Hermes Rodrigues Nery’s observations of a pivotal moment in the international struggle to protect the right to life.  On May 7, an abortion decriminalization bill that had been in process in the Brazilian National Congress for almost 17 years and was supported by the socialist regime of Luiz Lula was rejected in committee in a unanimous vote of 33-0.

By Professor Hermes Rodrigues Nery

Translated, Adapted, and Redacted by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BRAZILIA, May, 15, 2008 ( - "It was a victory and more.  I have never seen this happen in the National Congress", exclaimed Professor Humberto Viera, President of the National Pro-Life and Pro-Family Association, after Deputy Jofran Frejat announced the result of the historic session of the Social Security and Family Committee of the National Congress, which brought to a vote Bill 1135/91.  This bill, which seeks to decriminalize abortion in Brazil has been in process for almost 17 years in the Brazilian congress.

Bill 1135/91 was rejected by the overwhelming majority of the deputies present in the committee, with the result of 33-0, due to the fact that the small contingent of abortionists, lead by Deputy Cida Diogo, withdrew ranting and raving, and shouting insults. 

The feminists were yelling at the top of their lungs, "The government is secular, the government is secular!", to which Deputy Nazareno Fonteles responded that the government is secular but not atheist, and that the Brazilian people have a sense of God. 

The feminists were driven to hysterics by deputies Henrique Afonso and Luiz Bassuma, who together with deputies Miguel Martini, Leandro Sampaio, Dr. Talmir Rodrigues, José Linhares, and João Campos, lead the pro-life contingent that assembled in the meeting room of the committee, in which the rest of the deputies were one by one positioning themselves in favor of life.

One José Genoíno, infuriated, sullen, and arrogant, was thundering in his defense of the feminists, affirming that, "the legislator is not elected for moral groups, but for liberty and democracy".  The abortionist shock troops did everything to buy time, insisting on the extension of the session, making use of every protocol to undermine the pro-life deputies.  This irritated the rest of the deputies, some of which were still undecided and who ended up voting for Deputy Jorge Tadeu Mudallen’s report in reaction to the excesses of Cida Diogo. 

"This isn’t worth it, that woman is going too far, I’m going to vote against her," bellowed one of them at two o’clock in the afternoon, when the abortionist deputy decided to pull a, "congratulations to you" for Deputy Íris de Araújo, whose anniversary was that day.

After the beginning of the session, at 9:30, Jamie Ferreira Lopes affirmed, "we have 16 votes guaranteed."  But little by little, as the abortionists continued their performances, the undecided deputies were being convinced to distinguish the wheat from the weeds. 

The deputies spoke to one another, exchanged glances, gesticulated, nodded, and came to an agreement.  The 33 votes were consolidated during the long, seemingly interminable hours.

Cornered, the abortionists portrayed themselves as victims of a coup, and complained that the pro-life deputies were being tough on them, mainly after Deputy Rolando Caiado took his turn speaking, and pulverized them mercilessly.

Cida Diogo was increasingly disturbed, especially with the balanced and firm way the proceedings were conducted by the committee president, who explained the rules several times to the recalcitrant deputy, showing that he was well prepared and in good spirits for a difficult session.  The president simply maintained the rules of the institution, so as not to lose control of the situation in the midst of the rhetoric of the abortionists, who wanted to catch him with a slip of protocol with which they could later use to request that the session be annulled.  But Frejat was tireless in affirming, "I have to follow the rules."

Unable to defeat him, since he had the rules at hand, the abortionist comandante Cida Diogo began to use demagoguery, saying that the pro-abortion deputies were being restricted in their freedom of speech, comparing the situation to Brazil’s former dictatorship.

President Jofran Frejat explained to them, with the calmness of someone telling a story to a child, that he couldn’t go back, having placed an issue in discussion and before that to a vote, and being approved unanimously by the committee, since the committee has sovereignty in accordance with the rules.

Deputy Dr. Rosinha, who had written a long discourse by hand and was unable to speak because the request for a vote had been approved, began to pout and pace, while the feminists whispered in his ear.  The anger of the abortionists increased when support among the deputies grew for Mudallen’s report, never leaving their chairs during the entire session, and increased when the alternates began to arrive, enthusiastic about voting in favor of life.

It was then that Dr. Rosinha, in a fit that skirted the edges of decorum, stated to the President of the Session that he would be leaving because he was the victim of a strange conspiracy and although he would want to know exactly what was happening, he would not agree to participate in the voting. 

At that point his fellow deputies Darcíso Pierondi—Dr. Pinotti and Genoíno had already left—and Cida Diogo, decided to accompany Dr. Rosinha, accusing everyone of being "pedophiles and rapists" at which Jorge Tadeu Mudallen’s eyes widened in horror, seeing to what depths of gratuitous offense they were capable of, rejecting the rules of democracy that they constantly defended.

When the feminists had left like restless souls, the atmosphere in the room gradually became calm. . . Finally at 2:13 pm the historic vote began.  One by one they were giving their "yes" to life.  All of them, absolutely all of them, were voting in favor of the approval of the Mudallen Report, until, at the end, President Jofran Frejat, in a chorus with the rest of the deputies who were saying "I vote yes for life," gave his vote for life, which, after so many years, brought an end to Bill 1135/91, archiving it in the Committee.

The session having ended, there were congratulations and tears from many of the pro-life leaders in a climate of the "embrace of peace", as in the Eucharistic celebration.  Jaime Ferreira Lopes, Coordinator of Brazil Without Abortion, began to sing, while many began to make calls on their cell phones to spread the news: "33 - the age of Christ!"   I called Bishop Carmo João Rhoden of the Diocese of Taubaté, who received the news like a present during this month of festivals for the 100th anniversary of our diocese…It was a unique moment: 33 to zero, without precedent in history, and which the press the next day, would simply ignore, registering the fact in footnotes or remaining entirely silent about the matter…

Professor Hermes Rodrigues Nery is the Coordinator of the Diocesan Commission in Defense of Life and the Movement for Legislation and Life of the Diocese of Tabuaté, Brazil.

See related coverage:

  Smashing Defeat for Pro-Abortion Forces in Brazil

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