Abortion rights activists attend a demonstration for legalizing abortion in Latin America in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Shape of Brazil
A woman holds a sign reading "I am a mother and I support legal and safe abortion" during a demonstration to mark International Women's Day, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 8, 2022.

In Brazil, the criminalization of abortion in the vast majority of circumstances has resulted in the prosecution and punishment of Black and brown women from low-income communities.

In a 2022 TrialWatch report on reproductive rights in Brazil with partners at Columbia Law School and the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), we documented the significant challenges these women face in defending themselves in court, including stigma and bias from judges and prosecutors. This is part of TrialWatch’s broader work on discriminatory prosecutions of women and girls around the world, especially around reproductive rights, like in El Salvador where women were prosecuted for pregnancy loss, and Venezuela, teacher who spent three months in pretrial detention after she provided abortion medication to a girl who had been raped.

Human Rights Lawyer José Vargas Sobrinho Junior

The Clooney Foundation for Justice’s partner Columbia Law School monitored the trial of Brazilian lawyer and human rights defender José Vargas Sobrinho as part of TrialWatch. He was acquitted in July 2023.