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09 March 2009

Christian Love?

By Diana Hsieh

By what stretch of the imagination is the anti-abortion movement supposed to be "pro-life"? Forcing a nine-year-old girl to carry twins to term after she was raped for years by her stepfather is morally repugnant and rationally indefensible. Yet that is what the Catholic Church demands with its excommunication of the doctor who performed the abortion:

The Archbishop of the Brazilian city of Recife has announced the excommunication of a doctor who performed an abortion on a nine year old girl, as well as the family members who made the decision to carry out the procedure. The girl, whose name has not been revealed by the Brazilian media, was found to be pregnant with twins recently. Her stepfather has confessed that he began molesting her at the age of three and that he is the father of the child. He is under arrest pending an investigation of his relationship with his stepdaughter, as well as her 14 year old sister.

Although doctors at the hospital where the girl was initially admitted, Imip, reportedly said that her life was not in danger, her mother reportedly transferred her to another hospital, Cisam, that was willing to do the abortion, which is not penalized under Brazilian law because the girl was raped.

José Cardoso Sobrinho, Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, confirmed that while the child would not be held accountable for the act, the doctor who carried out the abortion and anyone who assisted or gave their approval were excommunicated by the Church. "To be subject to this penalty is it is necessary to be of age. The Church is very benevolent, especially with minors," the Archbishop told the media. "Now the adults, those who approved, who carried out this abortion, are excommunicated."

Sobrinho brushed aside the notion that the legality of the abortion under Brazilian law was a sufficient excuse for those involved. "The law of God is above all human law," he said. "Therefore, when a human law, meaning a law promulgated by human legislators, is contrary to the law of God, this human law has no value." Abortion, he said, is "homicide against innocent life. We are talking about a silent holocaust, that kills a one million innocents in Brazil and fifty million in the world every year, a holocaust worse than the six million Jews, which we lament every year."
Abortion is very much morally defensible based on the facts of pregnancy, as Ari Armstrong and I argued in our policy paper Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life.

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