It is not often that I say much against the Church, no matter how wrong I feel it may be. But the recent excommunication of members of the Catholic faith in Brazil for allowing a nine-year-old to undergo an abortion really is beyond understanding. The Church has turned a blind eye to an act that was not only illegal and criminal, but also morally and ethically abhorrent.
A nine-year-old is impregnated by her stepfather after years of abuse. It is later discovered that he also sexually assaulted her older, physically-handicapped sister. The mother and doctors who helped her with an abortion have been excommunicated while the stepfather is arrested. So, in the eyes of the law, the stepfather is a criminal. In the eyes of the Church, the mother and doctors are the reprehensible villains. How do you suppose that child will view the Church from now on?
Brazil only allows abortion in cases of rape and endangerment to the mother’s health and safety. It is obvious, even to the most dim-witted, that this child, barely into adolescence, was raped. It is also obvious that a child this young could not possibly cope with pregnancy and the subsequent labour and delivery.
Perhaps I am wrong to have supposed that the Vatican had allowed for abortion in such cases. Instead they release a statement saying that the twins, carried by the little girl, had the right to live. Does that mean the little girl herself had no right to live? They did not excommunicate the girl because of her age, implying she is not of an age for consent. Surely, this must also imply she is incapable of understanding what it is to be a mother, carry a pregnancy to term and be able to cope afterwards. Did the Church not consider this? Where is the dividing line for the Church to accept abortion? Brazil’s rules on abortion are by no means liberal.
Abortion is no new issue. But the ultraconservative stance that the Vatican takes against abortion does not protect human rights for victims of crime and needs to be reviewed.