Nine-year-old’s abortion stirs Brazil debate

March 6, 2009
Stuart Grudgings in Rio de Janeiro writes:
The Roman Catholic Church’s strong opposition to an abortion carried out this week on a nine-year-old Brazilian girl suspected to have been raped by her stepfather has highlighted the uphill struggle that abortion reform advocates face in the Latin American country.

The reaction of the archbishop in northeastern Pernambuco state, who excommunicated the mother of the girl and the doctors, was criticized by Brazil’s health minister as “extreme.” Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has described abortion as a public issue rather than a moral one, also weighed in, saying “medicine is more correct than the Church.”

Debate in Brazil about the long taboo subject of abortion — which remains illegal except in cases of rape and when the mother’s life is in danger — has sprouted in recent years. The country’s Supreme Court is due to rule this year on whether the exceptions can extend to anencephalic pregnancies, when the fetus has no brain. But despite a rise in the number of legal abortions in recent years, opposition to reform remains stiff — principally from the Catholic Church, but also among a majority of Brazilians, polls show. Pope Benedict made opposition to abortion the cornerstone of his visit to the world’s most populous Catholic country two years ago.

Human Rights Watch voiced concern in a recent report that some states and cities were being pressured by the Church and other groups into making it harder for women to get reproductive health care and contraception. It also criticized a “recent resurgence of police raids of alleged clandestine abortion clinics and prosecutions of its clients and providers.” At least 200,000 clandestine abortions are performed in Brazil every year, officials estimate.


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I think it’s wrong that the Holy Roman Catholic Church has that much influence even on medical issues, the Church should support the girl and not push her down.

Posted by Leonard | Report as abusive

What are the medical consequences of performing an abortion on a nine year old? Research has shown that prior induced abortion has been significantly associated with subsequent preterm birth. In addition, preterm birth is a risk factor for developmental disabilities including, but not limited to, cerebral palsy and autism. Submitting this child to an abortion could mean dire consequences when as an adult she wants to conceive and carry a child to term. It is also important to know that abortion is a tool that helps the child abuser continue to sexually abuse. Ending a pregnancy by abortion helps to hide the crime and quiet the victim. With the evidence of abuse missing, the victim can once again be abused in secret. Too often abortion is seen and chosen as a quick fix for a social problem. The Catholic Church sees it for what it is and stands up for born and unborn human life.

Posted by Betsy | Report as abusive

what are the medical consequences of a nine year old girl giving birth to twins?? Abortion is not the only evil in the world – and the Church and some Catholics have become so obsessed with abortion they overlook – even seem to condone – other evils. This child – was raped continuously by her step father since the age of six – the thought of it is horrifying – but do we hear the Church speaking out to condemn the step father and the horror and evil of his acts?? no – their contribution to the appaling acts against this child is to excomunicate – hey – maybe they should start excommunicating all those priests who sexually abused children – bet they had no qualms about abortion when one of their victims got pregnant – the Church needs to remember that Jesus was about love and mercy and compassion – not about obsessing over one act of eveil – abortion – while ignoring other horrifying evil

Posted by Cecelia | Report as abusive

F–kwit @ 4:38 – the consequences of NOT performing the abortion were DEATH. She is physically incapable of giving birth to twins at age 9!

Posted by Lise | Report as abusive

“opposition to reform remains stiff — principally from the Catholic Church, but also among a majority of Brazilians”That pesky majority, eh? If only we could ignore them, how modern and democratic we would be then.

Posted by Recusant | Report as abusive

are you for real, why and how could you expect a church to support someone who killed and inoccent baby, a life, one of gods children, she will burn in hell for it. who does she think she is anyway that poor baby had no say in whether he could live or die she was trying to play god and decised that wich makes her a murderer.

Posted by Kasey | Report as abusive

and anyway she should have loved her babies and should have been willing to die for them to live thats what a parent does,, anything to protect there children.

Posted by laura | Report as abusive