Fri, Jun 15, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Sterilization of Brazilian woman sparks outrage

AFP, RIO DE JANEIRO

Claims that a drug-addicted Brazilian woman was forcibly sterilized are sparking accusations of a nightmarish “dystopia” in a nation where a leading presidential candidate has stirred controversy with his own birth control proposals.

The facts of the case not under dispute are that Janaina Aparecida Quirino, an addict with numerous children, had her tubes tied after a ruling by a judge in Mococa.

However, according to a report in Folha de S.Paulo, the woman was homeless and the procedure was performed without her consent.

By the time the judge’s ruling came to appeal at a higher court, “the mutilation had already occurred,” constitutional law professor Oscar Vilhena Vieira said in the report.

“Janaina K. woke under the custody of people she didn’t know, named in a judicial case that she was not informed about,” Institute of Penal Guarantees said.

“It evoked Kafka’s The Trial,” it added, referring to the hallucinatory novel about a man prosecuted without even being told what he is accused of having done.

The judge, Djalma Moreira Gomes, pushed back after Vieira’s article came out last weekend, saying that Quirino, who had seven children with one more on the way, wanted to be sterilized.

“The family set-up was characterized by the parents’ drug dependencies ... physical violence against the children by the current partner and financial difficulties,” the judge said in a statement, also denying that Quirino was ever homeless.

Crucial details of the case, even the dates, remain unclear. The judge’s order was dated October last year, but the sterilization operation had to wait until the woman had given birth a last time.

Prosecutors said she agreed to the operation and some Brazilian media have published a redacted copy of what they say is a consent form signed back in 2015.

However, officials said that a psychologist’s report in which Quirino again gave the green light is under seal and cannot now be verified. In addition, the woman reportedly did not have a lawyer, which, if true, would raise doubts over the validity of anything she signed.

Whatever the truth, Quirino’s story is stirring angry debate. The leftist news site revistaforum.com.br said the incident illustrates the “dystopia of life” in Brazil.

“She was treated as an object, a thing,” the Brazilian Association of Lawyers for Democracy said.

However, not everyone is angry.

Janaina Paschoal, a prominent lawyer famous for her role in the 2016 impeachment of then-Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, said sterilization was Quirino’s best hope.

“Acknowledging the difficulties around the topic, I declare my support” for the judge, she tweeted. “If I were the judge, I would have decided as he decided. Someone has to look out for the children!”

The debate is unlikely to go away, given that a frontrunner the October presidential election, hard-right former army officer Jair Bolsonaro, has previously called for limiting births among the poor.

“Only birth control can save us from chaos,” the legislator said in 2008, according to Folha de S.Paulo.

Bolsonaro has long campaigned in Congress to loosen laws around sterilization, for example by removing the requirements for the person to be over 25 and to have consent of their spouse.

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