Since 2009, Brazil became the first country in the world where more babies are born via C-section instead of through normal birth. Numbers from 2013 showed that 55,6% of births in the country were cesareans.
The international average is 30%, although the World Health Organization considers 10% to 15% to be the ideal rate of C-section births.
New data now show that for the first time since 2010, the number of cesarean sections in the public and private healthcare network has not grown in Brazil.
Data released earlier this month by the Brazilian Ministry of Health show that this procedure, which has been in an upward curve, dropped 1.5 percentage point in 2015.
Of the 3 million deliveries made in Brazil in the period, 55.5% were by C-section and 44.5% were normal births.
Data also show that, considering only deliveries performed in Brazil’s Unified Health Care System (SUS), the percentage of normal births remains higher-59.8% against 40.2% of C-section.
According to the ministry, last year preliminary data indicate a stabilization in the number of C-section, at around 55.5%.
The government announced new guidelines for care in normal birth, which will be used for consultation by health providers and pregnant women.
“From now on, every woman will have the right to define her birth plan, which will have information on the place where she will give birth, guidelines, and benefits of the normal birth for example,” reported the ministry.
According to the health ministry report, these guidelines are designed to ensure pregnant women are treated with respect by health providers and empower them to make more informed childbirth choices.
“This means childbirth will be dealt with less like a set of methods and more like a vital mother-and-baby moment,” it went on.
The ministry credited the stabilization in the number of C-sections in Brazil to such policies as the Rede Cegonha (Stork Network) mother-and-baby care program; investment in 15 birth centers; qualification of high-risk maternity hospitals; a larger presence of midwifery nurses at the delivery scene, and a closer role of the National Regulatory Agency for Private Health Insurance and Plans (ANS) at delivery method decision-making.
In 2016, the health ministry published a Clinical Protocol with C-Section Care Guidelines outlining the standards that should be adhered to by health services. It is designed to guide health workers and help them avoid unnecessary C-sections, since inappropriately recommended cesareans carry higher respiratory risks for newborns and higher risks of maternal and infant death.
500 Attacks an Hour
A total of 503 Brazilian women suffered some sort of physical aggression every hour in 2016, a survey conducted by DataFolha and commissioned by the Forum on Public Safety found.
The study, released March 8, included face-to-face interviews across 130 Brazilian municipalities. A total 4.4 million women – 9% of them above the age of 16 – say they were punched, kicked, pushed, or suffered some other form of violence.
Moral and verbal attacks, like swearing and humiliation, were reported by 22% of the female population. Last year, 29% of women experienced some sort of violence, physical or moral. Among black women, the rate reaches 32.5%, and 45% among young women (aged 16-24).
Four percent of women (1.9 million) fell victims to threats with guns or knives. Beating and strangling victimized 3%, or 1.4 million women, whereas 257 thousand, 1%, were shot.
Two of every three Brazilians – both men and women included – witnessed some sort of violence against women in 2016, ranging from direct physical attacks to harassment, threats, and humiliation – 73% among black women and 60% among white.
Most aggressors, according to women’s reports, are their own acquaintances (61%). Spouses, partners, and boyfriends account for 19% of the cases. Former partners total 16%.
The victims’ own house was the most often mentioned place where attacks took place (43%). Of women aged 35-44, 38% of the aggressions were perpetrated by spouses or boyfriends.
When asked how they reacted after the attack, 52% of the women said they did not do anything. Thirteen percent sought support from family members; 12% from friends, and 11% went to a special police station for women. As for young ones, aged 16-24, the rate of those who showed no reaction amounts to 59%.
A total of 40% of women were attacked last year. For women aged 16 to 24 years old, the index totals 70%, with 68% of whom having heard disrespectful remarks out on the streets. The percentage reaches 52 among women aged 25 to 34 years old. In this group, 47% were attacked on the streets, 19% in the work place, and 15% on public transport.
Senate Approves Same-sex Union
The Senate’s Constitution and Justice Commission (CJJ) approved a bill aimed at recognizing same-sex unions and allowing them to turn into marriage.
The vote was definitive and the bill will be submitted to the lower house for deliberation in case no appeal is filed on the move, in which case the matter would have be voted on by the full house.
Under Brazilian law, a family is “the stable union between a man and a woman in the form of a public, ongoing and long-lasting union, constituted with the purpose of building a family.”
The bill, known as PLS 612/2011 stipulates a change to “two people,” preserving the remainder of the text.
In 2011, Brazil’s Supreme Court unanimously voted to recognize same-sex civil union as a family. In practice, the decision means that the rules governing civil union between a man and a woman are to apply for gay couples as well.
In 2013, the National Justice Council approved a resolution which mandates that all notary’s offices across the country should acknowledge these unions and grant them marriage status after different interpretations on the matter arose.
Senator Roberto Requião, rapporteur in the case, mentioned the Supreme Court’s decision in his report, and said that the Legislative branch is responsible for making the law suit the understanding of the top court, in order to eliminate obstacles and provide legal security to same-sex couples. The bill was presented by Senator Marta Suplicy.
“It is the duty of the Legislative Power to fulfill its role and bring the clauses in the Civil Code in accordance with the distinguished understanding of the Supreme Court, as proposed in the bill brought forward by Senator Marta Suplicy, and contribute to the increase of legal security and ultimately the dissemination of social peace,” Requião’s report reads.