The Centro Feminista de Estudos e Assessoria (CFEMEA, or “Center for Feminist Studies and Advisory Services”) was created in 1989 to monitor the implementation of women’s rights and gender equality as defined in the 1988 Brazilian federal constitution. The organization monitors legislation and tracks government budgets, educates lawmakers about issues impacting women, advocates for progressive polices, and serves as a bridge between Congress and women’s organizations.
In Brazil, abortion is criminalized except when performed to save the life of a woman, when the pregnancy is the result of rape, or when the fetus is developing without a brain. Despite these already limited exceptions, conservative groups and religious fundamentalists in Brazil are attempting to further restrict sexual and reproductive health and rights. Recently proposed legislation would recognize some rights of the unborn; another bill would create an ad-hoc commission in Congress to investigate pro-choice organizations and international groups that fund them.
CFEMEA is monitoring these bills and has spearheaded advocacy initiatives in collaboration with other women’s organizations to prevent anti-choice legislation from passing.
CFEMEA works with lawmakers to promote democracy and protect and advance women’s rights. The organization aims to address inequalities and discrimination based on gender, race, and ethnicity. CFEMEA’s leaders and staff are guided by feminist thought and affirm the principles of freedom, autonomy, solidarity, and respect for diversity.
Since 1994, IWHC support has strengthened CFEMEA’s work on sexual and reproductive rights and health. In this time, CFEMEA has successfully prevented anti-choice legislation from becoming law in Brazil, such as blocking an earlier attempt to pass a law that granted rights to the unborn (Estatuto do Nascituro). Since its inception, CFEMEA has emerged as a leading feminist organization in Brazil that can mobilize advocates across the country to protect women’s rights.