Brazilian Public Policies for Reproductive Health: Family Planning, Abortion and Prenatal Care
Azevedo, Anamaria Ferreira
Developing World Bioethics 2007 August; 7(2): 68-77
This study is an ethical reflection on the formulation and application of public policies regarding reproductive health in Brazil. The Integral Assistance Program for Women's Health (PAISM) can be considered advanced for a country in development. Universal access for family planning is foreseen in the Brazilian legislation, but the services do not offer contraceptive methods for the population in a regular and consistent manner. Abortion is restricted by law to two cases: risk to the woman's life and rape. This reality favors the practice of unsafe abortion, which is the third largest cause of maternal death in Brazil. Legal abortion is regulated by the State and the procedure is performed in public health centers. However, there is resistance on the part of professionals to attend these women. Prenatal care is a priority strategy for promoting the quality of life of these women and of future generations. Nonetheless, it is still difficult for these women to access the prenatal care services and to have the required number of consultations. Moreover, managers and health professionals need to be made aware of the importance of implementing the actions indicated by the public policies in the area of sexual and reproductive health, favoring respect for autonomy in a context of personal freedom.
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