For the Catholic Church, and indeed, many anti-choice people, live has value at the moment of conception, and valueless the moment of birth. A senior Vatican cleric has defended the decision by the Catholic Church to excommunicate the mother and doctors of a nine-year-old rape victim who had to have a life-saving abortion in Brazil. In other words, the life of the fetus was far more important to them than the girl in question.
Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, the head of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, told reporters that, although the girl fell pregnant after being abused by her stepfather, her twins had “the right to live, and could not be eliminated.” He also stated “It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons. Life must always be protected.”
Showing off that the Catholic Church is more interested in preserving male superiority than actually helping the poor or preventing the need for abortions, the Catholic Church has not acted in any manner against the alleged abuser. The police believe that the girl was sexually assaulted for years by her stepfather, and that it was not until she was rushed to the hospital because of severe stomach pains that it became known that she was pregnant and required an emergency abortion. Odds on are that neither the girl nor the two fetuses would have survived the pregnancy.
The controversy represents a PR nightmare for the Vatican. The unnamed girl’s mother and doctors were excommunicated for agreeing to Wednesday’s emergency abortion yet the Church has not taken formal steps against the stepfather, who is in custody. Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, the conservative regional archbishop for Pernambuco where the girl was rushed to hospital, has said that the man would not be thrown out of the Church, because although he had allegedly committed “a heinous crime”, the Church took the view that “the abortion, the elimination of an innocent life, was more serious”.
Former President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva even got into this stating “As a Christian and a Catholic, I deeply regret that a bishop of the Catholic Church has such a conservative attitude. The doctors did what had to be done: save the life of a girl of nine years old. In this case, the medical profession was more right than the Church.”
The girl’s stepfather is also accused of abusing her handicapped 14-year-old sister, and could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
One of the doctors involved in the abortion, Rivaldo Albuquerque, has stated that he will continue to attend Mass despite what the archbishop orders.