AN ABORTION carried out to save the life of a nine-year-old Brazilian girl who conceived twins as a result of alleged abuse by her step-father has led to her mother, and the doctors involved, being excommunicated by the Catholic Church.
Among those who criticised the church’s action was Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, himself a Catholic. According to the BBC the President said:
The doctors did what had to be done: save the life of a girl of nine years old.
But a senior Vatican cleric has defended the excommunication. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re told Italian paper La Stampa that the twins “had the right to live” and that attacks on Brazil’s Catholic Church were unfair.
Brazil only permits abortions in cases of rape or health risks to the mother. Doctors said the girl’s case met both these conditions, but the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, above, said the law of God was above any human law.
He said the excommunication would apply to the child’s mother and the doctors, but not to the girl because of her age.
Cardinal Re, who heads the Roman Catholic Church’s Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, told La Stampa that the archbishop had been right to excommunicate the mother and doctors.
It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated. Life must always be protected, the attack on the Brazilian Church is unjustified.
The abortion was carried out last Wednesday.
The girl, who lives in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, was allegedly sexually assaulted over a number of years by her stepfather, possibly since she was six.
The fact that she was four months’ pregnant with twins was only discovered after she was taken to hospital in Pernambuco complaining of stomach pains.
Her stepfather was arrested last week, allegedly as he tried to escape to another region of the country.
He is also suspected of abusing the girl’s physically handicapped 14-year-old sister.
HAT TIP: Eric Cartmel