- Associated Press - Thursday, March 21, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - A group representing Brazilian doctors is urging federal lawmakers to change the country’s restrictive abortion law to allow for abortions through the first trimester.

Representatives of the Federal Council of Medicine say the high number of botched illegal abortions is behind the recommendation, the first of its type the group has made. The government has estimated that some 1 million abortions are practiced each year in Brazil, many under unhygienic conditions.

Brazil is the world’s largest Catholic country and abortion is illegal except in cases of rape, risk to the mother’s life or if the fetus is brainless.

The Council said Thursday a majority of its roughly 400,000 members voted in favor of the recommendation.

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