The following summarizes two blog posts published in response to Provisionary Measure 557 (PM 557), legislation enacted by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on December 27 that will require all pregnancies to be registered with the government.
- Beatriz Galli, RH Reality Check: "Rousseff claims that PM 557 will address Brazil's high rates of maternal mortality by ensuring better access, coverage and quality of maternal health care, notably for high-risk pregnancies," Galli, policy and human rights adviser for Ipas Brazil, writes. However, "PM 557 does not guarantee access to health exams, timely diagnosis, providers trained in obstetric emergency care, or immediate transfers to better facilities," she notes, adding, "So while the legislation guarantees R$50.00 [roughly US$27] for transportation, it will not even ensure a pregnant woman will find a vacant bed when she is ready to give birth. And worse yet, it won't minimize her risk of death during the process." She concludes, "Last but certainly not least, MP 557 violates all women's right to privacy by creating compulsory registration to control and monitor her reproductive life" (1/6).
- Gillian Kane, Slate's "XX Factor": "At first glance, Provisional Measure 557 (PM 557) is not a bad law. It purports to address Brazil's high maternal mortality ratio by ensuring better access to quality maternal health care, notably for pregnant women at a high risk for health complications," Kane, a senior policy adviser for Ipas, writes, adding, "The problem is that it won't reduce maternal mortality. Notwithstanding the fact that many of its provisions are legally and constitutionally questionable, its requirements are not based on sound public health policy." Kane continues, "Passing such a controversial law during the height of the holiday season without congressional review or approval suggests some backroom negotiations were at play," and concludes, "One thing we can be certain of is that maternal mortality rates will not be dropping any time soon, but the prosecution of women for harming a fetus or for getting an abortion could be on the rise" (1/6).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.